By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas
The memorial stone was unveiled on April 16, 2013 – 62 years after the submarine sank with the loss of 75 lives – on the site just off the Millennium Promenade near Gosport bus station and the benches were added in 2018.
They s were purchased by The Submariners Association, The SBS Association, and Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, and the Gosport branch of the Submariners Association took on the responsibility of maintaining them.
Four years on and the benches needed refurbishment with The Gosport Shed providing the expertise and GS Builders of Gosport removing and replacing the renewed benches free of charge.
Memorial is ‘important to Gosport’
Gosport Branch Secretary Rob Gordon told The Globe that the memorial is: “Important to Gosport because HMS Affray sailed from Gosport on her last voyage.”
She sank sometime in the morning of April 16, “and we still don’t know what caused the submarine to sink.
“The benches were installed for people to sit and look at the memorial.”
He added that the Gosport branch would be making a donation to The Gosport Shed to thank them for, “a wonderful job”.
HMS Affray – last RN sub lost at sea
The Amphion-class submarine was one of 16 of her class and was the last Royal Navy submarine to be lost at sea.
Having sailed from Gosport for a training exercise on April 15, she dived as she made her passage west but sank with all hands between midnight and 8am on April 16.
In addition to her 50 crew, she was carrying four Special Boat Squadron marines and 21 trainee engineering officers and instructors.
It took two months to find her – 7.5 miles north west of Alderney in the Channel Islands
Mr Gordon said that every year – on the Sunday closest to April 16 – there is a service at the Gosport’s HMA Affray memorial.
And there is also a memorial on Alderney.
Photograph (top): The refurbished benches at the HMS Affray memorial on Gosport Waterfront. Gosport branch of the Submariners Association, reproduced with permission.