By Andy Knox
Friday January 26, 2024
The K13 Memorial weekend started with the arrival of association members from Essex, Barrow-In-Furness and the Scottish branch during the afternoon.
Once all the base passes and accommodation were issued (the young submariners from Submarine Qualification (SMQ) assisted throughout the day), and the scran devoured, it was time to muster in Kennedy’s bar in the WO & SR’s Mess for liquid refreshments prior to the West of Scotland branch meeting.
The meeting commenced at 20:00 with a quick precis of the weekends events followed by an update on the current state of the Submarine Service from Cdre Paul Dunn OBE RN (Commodore Submarines).
Following the Cdre’s brief it was time for the raffle, a total of £330 was raised and my thanks go out to all those who contributed!
Up spirits was duly ordered and everyone received a tot from the newly acquired Association Rum Barrel (The King, God Bless Him).
The socialising and dit spinning continued until the ‘wee hours’ and it was fantastic to witness the young trainee submariners soaking up the atmosphere.
Call the hands was duly piped and a hearty breakfast was had by all, well there may have been a couple of stragglers! Transport was boarded at 10:00 from the Base to deliver everyone to the K13 Memorial in Elder Park, Govan.
The memorial was funded by Fairfield’s Shipbuilding in memory of those who perished on K13 and a small service is held here every year; the Submariners Association Bish, the Reverend. Dr. Stephen Dray led the Memorial Service which was attended by Commodore Submarines and around fifty serving and veteran submariners as well as Clydebank Sea Cadet unit and civilians.
The Memorial Service lasted around twenty minutes and although the morning was dry (unusual for the West Coast of Scotland!) it was bitterly cold.
However, our spirits were lifted as a young lady clearly worse for wear, bimbled past us still in the previous evenings attire, high heels in hand and oblivious to the gathering of young and old submariners, some of whom were highly amused.
The event was supported by two Royal Marine Bugler’s who were the consummate professional’s, as to be expected!
On completion of the Memorial Service we were all invited to the Fairfield’s Heritage Centre for refreshments, literally a hop, skip and jump across the road. Hot soup, sandwiches, tea, coffee and biscuits were gratefully received by all once we had thawed out.
This was the first time that we had been invited to the Heritage Centre and what a hidden gem it is, amazing artefacts, models and literature, including the biographies of those lost on K13.
I must thank the volunteer’s for their hospitality and warm welcome, long may it continue.
The evening was soon upon us and all mustered in the bar in the mess at 18:30 for welcoming drinks, followed by the Presidents Punch (not a physical beating by the West of Scotland President, Jim McMaster, but a potent cocktail of whatever was available at the local ALDI).
The Royal Marine Bugler’s announced the call to dinner and the ninety attendees made their way upstairs to the main function hall.
The Top Table were introduced by myself and the candle was duly lit for absent friends, starters were served and wine poured, a delightful four course dinner was enjoyed by all and the VIP (Cdre Dunn OBE RN) spoke of the events on that fateful day, one hundred and seven years ago on- board K13.
On completion of the Memorial dinner the candle for absent friends was removed and taken down to Kennedy’s bar were the dit spinning continued late into the evening.
The following morning breakfast was taken in the dining hall and a short church service was held in St Mungo’s on the base led once again by The Rev, Dr. Stephen Dray.
On completion transport arrived to take everyone to Faslane Cemetery for the Memorial Service (the RN personnel who perished on-board K13 are buried in the cemetery) prayers were said and hymns sung followed by a wreath laying at the Memorial.
A separate ceremony of wreath laying and prayers was held at Cdr Goodhart’s grave.
Cdr Goodhart was the Commanding Officer of K14, who was on-board K13 for the sea trials and initial dive and whose grave is also located within the cemetery.
The weekend’s events ended with a buffet lunch in the WO & SRs Mess prior to what for some would be the long journey home.
I would like to thank the following for making the event possible and more importantly successful:
The Submarine Family for their generous donation
The Base Executive Officer and Wardroom Mess President (Cdr Peter Noblett)
The WO & SR’s Mess President (WO1 Lee Morgan)
The Base Accommodation Team
CPO Murray Anderson for arranging transport
Essex, Scottish and Barrow-In-Furness Branches for their support
Fairfield’s Heritage Centre
WO1 Mark Harris and his Students at SMQ
RM Band (Scotland)
Rev, Dr. Stephen Dray
Chairman West of Scotland Branch, Vice Chairman of the Submariners Association
We will Remember them
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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