IT WAS a reminder of a bygone era when two restored periscopes were returned to their rightful home aboard a Second World War-era submarine.
The occasion saw cranes carefully lower both 40ft attack and search periscopes back into HMS Alliance, which launched in 1945, at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.
The boat is the subject of a £7m restoration project, which will see the once-rusting wreck fully open to the public next spring.
As reported, a team of specialists at Babcock International Group in Faslane, Scotland, removed the periscopes in October last year.
They had cleaned up the bronze attack periscope and fixed the elevation wire in the bigger general use scope.
Visitors to the boat will soon be able to look across Portsmouth Harbour from inside the boat, which served in the cold war.
Bob Mealings, curator at the museum, said it was a landmark day for the restoration project.
He said: ‘They’ve been on board the submarine since its inception as a preserved historic ship.
‘But in all that time before they were never actually functional.
‘They’ve now got all optical integrity so people will be able to look through them and sweep them round for a view of Portsmouth Harbour.
‘It’s very rare to see a periscope like this in all its glory.’
Alliance had a distinguished 28-year career during the Cold War until she was retired in 1973.
Although two months ahead of schedule, timing on the project remains tight with work still going on inside the boat.
And the museum had to wait for the mast and periscope specialists at Babcock to have a free container to move the periscopes, as work on active submarines takes precedence.
JJ Molloy is a former submariner and leading weapons engineer at HMS Dolphin, and is now site operations manager at the museum.
He said it was a rare chance to see such an operation in Gosport.
He said: ‘When the submarine squadron was here right up to the 1990s this sort of job was done on a regular basis.
‘You’ll probably never see this operation happen again, not in our lifetimes, there’s no reason to boats to come here to have their masts removed.’