Memorial Service April 2024 HM Submarine Affray

On a fine clear morning 70+ members of the Gosport and Portsmouth Submariners Associations and descendants of Affray personnel gathered at the Affray memorial on Gosport seafront to remember the 75 servicemen lost with the Affray on the 16th April 1951.

In attendance were the President of the Gosport Submarine Association; Capt. Chris Groves and wife Clare, the Chairman of Gosport SA; Steve Thorpe, the Chairman of Portsmouth SA; Paul Jevons, His Worship the Mayor of Gosport; Councillor Martin Pepper and Mayoress; Mrs Suzanne Pepper and the Chaplain of HMS Collingwood; Rev Mark Noakes. The standards of the Gosport and Portsmouth SAs were flown. The Parade Marshall was the Vice Chairman of Gosport SA; Pony Moore.

The story of the Affray was read by the Parade Marshall and prayers led by the Chaplain of Collingwood. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Gosport SA by Capt. Groves and ‘We Remember Submariners’ by Steve Thorpe. Family wreaths were led by Mrs Jill Lavens whose father was lost in the disaster.

Post service the Vice Chairman invited everyone to the Gosport Masonic Hall for a buffet and drinks reception which was well received.

HM Submarine Affray Memorial Service
HM Submarine Affray Memorial Service April 2024

The Loss of HM Submarine Affray

HMS Affray was participating on Exercise Training Spring and had a reduced crew of 50 (down from her normal 61) as she was carrying a party of 4 Special Boat Service Royal Marines, an Engineer Commander (naval instructor) and his class of 7 Lieutenant and 13 Sub-Lieutenant Engineers on officer training.

A total of 75 men.

She departed HMS Dolphin (Gosport) on the 16th of April 1951.

The last sighting of Affray was from the destroyer HMS Contest that evening. At 21.00 Affray signalled her position as being 30 miles south of the Isle of Wight and indicated that she was about to dive.

The Affray failed to make her daily report by 10.00 the following morning.

Over the next two months a multi-national task force failed to find her or any indication of where she was.

On the evening of 12th June 1951, HMS Lock Insh registered a sonar contact at the edge of Hurds Deep. An observation diving bell and underwater camera from HMS Reclaim confirmed the Affray had been found; 17 miles NW of Alderney and 37 miles from where she was known to have dived. She lay at a depth of 280 ft.

She and her crew are, to this day, under the protection of the Military Remains Act 1986.

May they rest in eternal peace.

 

Article by Ian ‘Pony’ Moore

ABOUT US

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.

Join the Submariners Association Today

Are you a serving or former UK Submariner then this is your Association.

Join today for free and see member only content.

The Submariners Association is recognised by the MOD and has both Veteran and Serving Submariners on its board.