Today, HMS Alliance is a museum, in which visitors can explore the fascinating interior of a Second World War submarine. In 2014, after years of disuse and disrepair, the vessel was restored to its former glory with a £7 million renovation. In 1981 it had become a museum, but it had not been maintained. Now, once again open to the public, the new exhibit can be found in Gosport, South Hampshire, in England.
Before HMS Alliance found her final resting place, however, she saw action in the largest and deadliest war in human history. Construction on the submarine was completed in 1947, and that same year she took her first experimental cruise, staying underwater for 30 days.
The vessel is referred to as an A-class, an Amphion-class or an Acheron class submarine, and is today the only one of its kind remaining. This specific class of vessel was built to be deployed in the Pacific Ocean, so long range and high surface speeds were a priority, along with the comfort of the crew. Previously, British submarines had been operating in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, where the distances covered and the time at sea were considerable less. However, the Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water in the world, and the designers of HMS Alliance took this into account.
Over the years, the submarine has undergone various changes and upgrades. The hull has been streamlined, new wireless transmitting aerials have been added and the vessel’s fin has been replaced with a better model. These alternations and improvements allowed HMS Alliance to become faster underwater, as well as more silent in its movement.
However, the submarine has not been without accident. In 1968 she ran aground off the Isle of Wight, and just three years later, while near Portland, a fatal battery explosion took place on the vessel. She saw considerably less active use as the years dragged on; by 1981 the ship had been decommissioned and turned into a museum.
Today, the award-winning exhibit attracts visitors from around the globe and is a popular venue for weddings, parties and other events. If you’re interested in this specific submarine, or you’re just looking for a great day out, a trip to HMS Alliance might be just the thing.