NOSTALGIA: Veteran sub tiptoes to breaker's yard

I expect many of you passed the John Pounds' scrapyard at Tipner when entering the city via the M275 and, on glancing to your right, saw two submarines awaiting their fate.

Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 9:00 pm
Abandoned and awaiting their fate, here we see the former HM Submarines Tiptoe, left, and Artemis in Pounds yard, Portsmouth. Picture: Roger Allen Collection

This would have been in the early 1970s, not in later years when you could see other submarines in the same location.

The two I am referring to were the T-class HMS Tiptoe and the Amphion-class HMS Artemis.

But it’s Tiptoe which concerns us in this article as former shipbreaker Roger Allen, who lives on Hayling Island, has loaned me a photograph of the two submarines with Tiptoe on the left.

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HMS Tiptoe approaching Portsmouth Harbour for the final time with Judy Wright dancing on her deck.

He also allowed me to photograph the boat’s crest which he salvaged when breaking the submarine.

HMS Tiptoe was an all-welded vessel commissioned into service on June 12, 1944.

Although she did not see any action in European waters she did, in the final months of the Second World War, against Japan where she was involved in the sinking of several ships.

In 1950 she was used in the film Morning Departure starring John Mills.

HMS Tiptoes solid bronze crest with a ballerina cast into it.

Because of her name she became associated with the ballet dancer Moira Shearer who was married to the journalist and former naval officer Ludovic Kennedy.

She presented to the submarine a pair of size three-and-a-half satin ballet shoes she wore in the 1948 film The Red Shoes. These are now on display at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

Tiptoe’s final commission was in 1967 when six ballet dancers from the Royal Ballet attended the departure ceremony. At the time she was the oldest submarine in service.

Tiptoe was decommissioned in 1969 and on arrival at Spithead 13-year-old ballet dancer Judy Wright danced on her deck.

A manipulated photo, possibly taken at the low level platform of the Town station, Portsmouth, of the exhibition train laid on for the Portsea Island Co-Op. Picture: Barry Cox Collection.

Was Judy a local girl and is she still in the area does anyone know?

Tiptoe was sold for scrap in 1971 and broken up at Pounds in 1975.

•Being hauled by a LBSCR K-class locomotive, perhaps in the mid-1930s, we see an exhibition train laid on by the Portsea Island Mutual Co-operative Society – PIMCO as it was fondly known.

The three-coach train travelled the south of the county being laid up in a goods yard or at a spare platform, somewhere for shoppers to see what they were missing.

HMS Tiptoe approaching Portsmouth Harbour for the final time with Judy Wright dancing on her deck.

There was always the dividend to earn as well, the Portsmouth Co-op being one of the highest. In the mid 1960s it was 1s 8d (about 8p) in the pound so it was well worth remembering your divi number, as it was called.

HMS Tiptoes solid bronze crest with a ballerina cast into it.
A manipulated photo, possibly taken at the low level platform of the Town station, Portsmouth, of the exhibition train laid on for the Portsea Island Co-Op. Picture: Barry Cox Collection.