Submariners to be remembered with Lee-on-the-Solent seafront memorial

MEMORIAL HMS Affray. Inset, the crew pictured in the engine room
MEMORIAL HMS Affray. Inset, the crew pictured in the engine room
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SUBMARINERS killed in the sinking of HMS Affray will be remembered under plans for a new memorial on a popular seafront.

Plans have been submitted to Gosport Borough Council for the memorial to be installed on The Esplanade, Millennium Walkway between Gosport Ferry Terminal and Haslar Marina.

MEMORIAL Some of the crew of HMS Affray pictured in the engine room

MEMORIAL Some of the crew of HMS Affray pictured in the engine room

HMS Affray left HMS Dolphin, Gosport’s submarine shore establishment, on April 16, 1951 and submerged about 30 miles south of the Isle of Wight.

But the submarine did not resurface when it was due to.

A search and rescue operation was launched, which involved 26 ships and submarines and every aircraft available at the time, but the submarine was not found for two months.

It was later located 7.5 miles north west of Alderney in the Channel Islands.

Martin Allen is the secretary of the HMS Affray Submarine Memorial Trust, which is behind the bid.

His father Herbert served aboard the submarine but was transferred before she sank.

He said: ‘Many of the Affray’s crew lived locally either in Gosport or Portsmouth.

‘The surviving widows and their children have always wanted the recognition of a dedicated memorial to their loved ones.

‘Other peacetime submarine accidents have their own unique memorial in the UK, but not the Affray.

‘This omission will at last be put right.

‘As many of the widows and their children who are able to will attend the unveiling ceremony.’

A total of 75 sailors were killed in the sinking of HMS Affray.

Initial investigations revealed the submarine’s snort mast – a snorkel which allows a submarine to take air from the surface while submerged – had broken.

The plan has received the backing of Lee-on-the-Solent ward councillor Graham Burgess.

Cllr Burgess, who is a member of the HMS Affray Memorial Fund, said: ‘I met with the architect and suggested a spot on the sea wall which overlooked where she last sailed from.

‘I give my full backing to the memorial.’

The plan will go before Gosport planners at a date to be confirmed.