Museums are wonderful places to explore. In these institutions, we can learn about other cultures and other times. Usually, they are made of brick and mortar, and the public can view everything from paintings to historical documents or sculptures, and much more.
Now, the HMS Alliance, a submarine from World War II, has been turned into a remarkable museum open for public viewing in Gosport, South Hampshire, England.
This sub was once one of the most crucial vessels in the British Royal Navy. It first set out in 1945, the final year of World War II, intended for service in the Far Eastern campaign.
The Alliance is one of 14 class “A” submarines used by the Royal Navy. It went on to serve for an astounding 28 years, on missions all over the world. It is the sole surviving British World War II submarine and is considered the “jewel” of the collection at the Navy’s Museum.
Because the sub was designed with Pacific Ocean voyages in mind, specific considerations had to be taken into account. It was made to handle long distances and high speeds while on the surface, something most British subs (which were made for battles in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean) did not have to contend with.
But over the years, as the demands on the Royal Navy changed to accommodate geopolitical situations like the Cold War, the HMS Alliance was modified so it could navigate in almost any body of water.
After its service, the sub sat unused until 1981, when it was decommissioned and first became a museum. But it wasn’t until 2014 when the Navy would pour £7,000,000 into an extensive renovation project to make it the huge attraction it is today.
Currently, visitors from around the world can spend 40 minutes touring the Alliance which stands as a memorial to the 5,300 submariners who lost their lives during the war.
Visitors get a first-hand view of what life was like for those men, from the control room to crew quarters, and the location of the torpedoes. Folks can even peek through the periscope and see Portsmouth Harbour.
The sub did not lead an entirely charmed existence during its service, even after World War II. In the early 1970s, it endured a battery explosion on board. Before that, in 1968, it ran aground near the Isle of Wight.
But today, it leads a calm existence, serving as host to grand parties and even weddings.
A visual tour of the HMS Alliance can be found at the link below. Further information about it, such as how to book tickets, can be found on the Museum’s website.
Touring the submarine is a truly unique and remarkable experience, and it can remind us of the sacrifices made by thousands of men – sailors, submariners, and soldiers alike – during that horrific global conflict.