Headstone of Mervyn Johnston lost aboard HMS Truculent

On a poignant weekend marking the 74th annual anniversary of the tragic loss of HMS Truculent on January 12, 1950, the solemnity of remembrance echoed in Gosport. Frank Hayes, a dedicated Standard Bearer for the Gosport Branch of the Submariners Association, embarked on a heartfelt initiative.

Honouring the Memory of PO Stoker Mechanic Mervyn Johnston

Frank took it upon himself to organise a small, yet profoundly meaningful service in memory of PO Stoker Mechanic Mervyn Johnston, one sixty four submariners and dockyard personnel who lost their lives in the fateful accident involving HMS Truculent. This poignant gesture was not just a remembrance of history but a personal tribute to a fellow submariner.

A Touching Scene at Anne’s Hill Cemetery, Gosport

Joined by fellow veteran Soapy Watson and friend Ian Chase, Frank orchestrated a touching ceremony at Anne’s Hill Cemetery in Gosport. The trio, united in their respect for the fallen, diligently tidied up Mervyn’s grave, a symbolic act reflecting the eternal bond that submariners share.

The atmosphere became hushed as they piped the still, the haunting notes resonating with the gravity of the occasion. A solemn two-minute silence followed, a collective moment of reflection on the sacrifices made. The Lord’s Prayer, spoken with reverence, added a spiritual dimension to this intimate gathering.

Gratitude from the Gosport Branch

The Gosport Branch of the Submariners Association expressed heartfelt gratitude to Frank Hayes, Soapy Watson, and Ian Chase. Their concerted effort to conduct this small, yet deeply meaningful service in memory of Mervyn, exemplifies the camaraderie and commitment that defines submariners.

In these moments of remembrance, it becomes evident that the legacy of those who served on HMS Truculent lives on through the dedication of individuals like Frank, Soapy, and Ian. Their actions serve as a testament to the enduring spirit of honour and remembrance within the submariner community.

Honouring the memory of PO Stoker Mechanic Mervyn Johnston lost aboard HMS Truculent

RAF Coastal Command

Sadly on that day in 1950 and whilst participating in the rescue operation, five members of a Lancaster from RAF coastal command were also lost.


The Submariners Association is an association of serving and veteran submariners which seeks to maintain the special bonds of friendship, loyalty and comradeship, together with a pride in the Submarine Service, formed during service in HM Submarines.

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