IT HAS taken decades to create a memorial to sailors lost when the submarine HMS Affray sank.
But it took just over an hour for expert stonemasons to install a 2.2-tonne stone at The Esplanade, Millennium Walkway in Gosport.
The placement of the stone, which arrived yesterday from Guernsey and rests on an equally heavy base, overlooks trot one and two of HMS Dolphin in Gosport.
She sailed from the submarine establishment on April 16 1951, and had submerged 30 miles south of the Isle of Wight.
When she failed to report a huge search was launched.
She was later found sunk 7.5 miles off the coast of Alderney in the Channel Islands with all 75 crew killed.
The crew are named on a 150kg bronze plaque on the front of the memorial stone.
Martin Allen is the secretary of the HMS Affray Submarine Memorial Trust.
He said: ‘It has taken 62 years to get a dedicated memorial to the Affray crew installed in the UK and it complements the memorial that the Affray Trust unveiled in Alderney, Channel Islands last year.
‘Consequently, the start and end of her last voyage has at last been acknowledged.
‘The recent cold weather delayed the start of the work, as it is not possible to pour the concrete for the foundations in freezing conditions.
‘Both the borough and Hampshire County Council were of considerable help in getting the planning consent.’
The stone is similar to the one put up in Alderney last year, which Lance Vaudin, from Vaudin Stonemasons, also worked on.
He said: ‘It’s nice to work on something like this – rather than your run of the mill type of stuff – it makes it more interesting.’