HMS Affray

  Bingalau 10:37 20 Apr 2012

I've just got back from attending a ceremony dedicating a memorial to HMS Affray. It took place in Alderney on Monday and Tuesday the 17th and 18th of the month. This boat is/was the last submarine to be lost at sea by the Royal Navy. Whilst admiring that safety fact, I am appalled at the way the Affray was lost. There seems to have been a cover up by the Admiralty going on ever since. All sorts of facts and some unfounded rumours can be found by reading Wickipedia of course. But after mixing with the relatives and a group of submariners. I am as convinced as they are, that this boat should be recovered and the bodies given a decent burial. If they can bring up the Mary Rose then they can do the same with this boat.

I have a considerable interest in HMS Affray because I was supposed to go on the fatal trip. But my friend in the next bed to me said he would like to swap and, as I wanted to go up to Liverpool to get engaged to my then girlfriend, we arranged it with our CO and ever since I have felt as guilty as hell over it.

As an aside to this "What a beautiful island Alderney is" and the flight over there in a corned beef tin on wings is an adventure in itself. We all had a great time, must go again.

  interzone55 11:53 20 Apr 2012

My favourite flights are on the puddle jumpers between the Channel Islands.

As regards the original point here, I can't imagine the guilt you must have felt at the time, and forever since, so meeting up with relatives of the deceased must have been deeply emotional.

  john bunyan 11:55 20 Apr 2012


Yes, it is a mystery as to how far away she was from the predicted location. The buzz in the S/M world is that the snort stop valves were either faulty or wrongly labelled.

Few realise there were 4 Royal Marines on board - I am sorry they were lost, but do not feel guilty you were not one of them; it was the luck of the draw. Many lessons were learned which contributed to improved safety in boats. The whole crew are sorely missed. Did you fly from Southampton? If yes I would have bought you a wet before departure!

  birdface 12:24 20 Apr 2012

Had to have a look see as I could not remember that particular accident when it was lost at see.

I was only 10 at the time so we would not have had a TV in the house or maybe I was to young to understand.

  birdface 12:25 20 Apr 2012

Sea.Of course.

  Bingalau 12:37 20 Apr 2012

john bunyan. Yes we stayed overnight in the Lenny Henry hotel at the airport. Peter Rawll was on the same flight, but it was that long since we had met that we didn't recognise each other. But we were re-acquainted at the same hotel. By the way they are also erecting a memorial to HMS Affray in Portsmouth next year.

I was certainly lucky that year. As well as that I also got engaged to my wife and we had 57 happy years together so that wouldn't have happened at all.

I asked about relatives of the man who swapped with me but so far haven't found anyone. I seem to remember that he was also engaged to be married.

  Woolwell 12:54 20 Apr 2012

There may be a good reason why Affray has not been salvaged. The Hurd Deep was used as a munitions dump until 1974. Earlier radioactive waste was dumped there too.

  flycatcher1 19:35 20 Apr 2012

Bingalau Your survival was due to Fate and nothing else and I am very pleased that it was on your side.

A friend of mine replaced a sick Nav.Radar in a Low Level Vulcan Flight. Something went wrong and they piled into a hill in Scotland.

I saw the chap who had reported sick clearing my friend's locker. He was as white as the proverbial sheet - not surprised - it was the second time that it had happened to him. Fate indeed.

We were always unhappy if our normal crew was not complete.

  morddwyd 20:47 20 Apr 2012

I remember the Affray.

That was one occasion when the much overused phrase "the whole nation mourned" was true for once.

It was too close to the end of the war, and virtually every family had someone serving in the forces as a result of National Service..

For some reason the Affray affected the public much more than Truculent, which was sunk about a year earlier, perhaps because Truculent was struck on the surface, and people simply subconsciously registered it as a collision.

The film Morning Departure was still doing the rounds at that time, and many local cinemas delayed showing it for some months, others screened it and took a collection.

That was before my time in Coastal Command, but I remember that if ever a "Subniss" signal came in (and we did get a few, fortunately all false alarms) it was all stops out to get every available thing that could be dragged into the air up to join the search.

  john bunyan 20:59 20 Apr 2012


As a matter of interest my father was in Bomber Command from 1940 - 43 (kia) and my mother was a WAAF driver in Coastal Command for the same period - she often drove ACM Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté before he went abroad. A bit before even your time!

  kjwoodhal106 17:07 23 Apr 2012

My Father was lost with the Affray, how long were you on board prior to the loss? Do you recognise any of the crew photographs. We travelled out from Southampton also.

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