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HMS Trenchant

HMS Trenchant

HMS Trenchant, a powerful hunter-killer submarine with an illustrious ancestor. HMS Trenchant, the fifth of the seven Trafalgar-class submarines built at Barrow, was launched on 3 November 1986 in front of a special guest – war hero Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Hezlet, who commanded the wartime Trenchant with notable success. The admiral would have been struck by the huge advances made between his boat and the current Trenchant, not the least in her propulsion.

All Royal Navy submarines are nuclear-powered, giving them virtually unlimited range and the ability to stay submerged for as long as the crew's food supply holds out.

Although she has been around for more than two decades, Trenchant is an impressively powerful war machine.

She was given a major refit and overhaul in the first half of the last decade, during which time her nuclear reactor was refuelled, at which time she was also fitted with state-of-the-art Sonar 2076, which is being built into the new Astute-class boats which will replace Trenchant and her sisters


Paul Nimmons

HMS Talent, HMS Trafalgar
Military experience

Commander Paul Nimmons joined the Royal Navy in 1983 as an Artificer Apprentice. During training he served in HMS Intrepid and on completion served two assignments in HMS Courageous. Promoted to the Officer Corp in 1992, he served in HMS Brazen during training and then went on to read for a degree at RNEC Manadon. This was followed, in 1995, by Fleet training in HMS Cardiff and a rewarding short assignment to HMS Raleigh in 1996 as an Artificer new entry Divisional Officer

Returning to the Submarine Service in 1997 for nuclear training at the Royal Naval College Greenwich, he subsequently joined HMS Triumph as an Assistant Marine Engineer Officer in 1998.

In 2002 Nimmons was fortunate to be selected to read for a MSc at University College London and subsequently served in Fleet Operations and the Nuclear Propulsion Integrated Project Team.

In 2006 he was assigned to HMS Trafalgar, prior to attending MEO Desig course, in preparation for taking HMS Talent out of Long Overhaul Period (Refuel) as the Deputy Marine Engineer Officer. Taking over as the MEO in 2008, he remained with Talent until joining FOST as a sea trainer in 2010.

In 2012 Nimmons took up the post of Marine Engineering (Submarines) Branch Manager. Promoted to Commander, he was subsequently assigned as Senior Officer Submarines Refitting on 17 September 2013.

Married with two young daughters at home and two older sons and a daughter in the outside world he lives a quiet life in Hampshire. Outside of work and family he enjoys running and supporting his local school as a Governor.




Naval Service in Plymouth Freedom of the City parade
Naval Service in Plymouth Freedom of the City parade
23 September 2013

The Royal Navy was cheered through the city centre on...

 Trenchant completes record-breaking mission
Trenchant completes record-breaking mission
23 May 2013

HMS Trenchant returned home to Devonport yesterday – 11 months...

HMS Monmouth Meets HMS Trenchant
Royal Navy submarine home after 11-month patrol
20 May 2013

The Royal Navy submarine HMS Trenchant is due to return...

HMS Trenchant in Diego Garcia
HMS Trenchant passes nine-month milestone on patrol in Indian Ocean
26 March 2013

The crew of hunter-killer submarine HMS Trenchant have passed the...





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  • The First Trenchant

    The first of the three HMS Trenchant on the Royal Navy’s books was the Modified R-class destroyer launched by JS White at Cowes on 23 December 1916, the leading ship of a small class of 11 known as the ‘Trenchant type’. Displacing 1,220 tons fully loaded, Trenchant was capable of 35 knots and served in World War 1 with the 15th Destroyer Flotilla. She was sold in November 1928 to be broken up at Faslane.

  • The Second Trenchant

    The second Trenchant was a T-class submarine launched at Chatham Dockyard on 24 March 1943, and by September had been assigned to the 4th Submarine Squadron based in Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), under the command of Lt Cdr Arthur Hezlet. Among her early duties were the landing of special forces in Sumatra and laying a minefield in the Malacca Strait, though she upped her game on 23 September 1944 when she spotted German submarine U-859 running on the surface off Penang and sank her with a salvo of three torpedoes.

  • A Brilliant Attack

    Her finest hour came on 8 June 1945 when, operating out of Fremantle alongside HMS Stygian, she sank the 13,000-ton Japanese cruiser Ashigara in an action later described as one of the most brilliant attacks of the war; five of her eight torpedoes struck the Japanese ship, which was carrying an estimated 1,600 Japanese troops and their kit. It was reported that Cdr Hezlet decided to let more than 30 of the ship's crew look through the periscope at the sinking cruiser, but the stricken foe spotted her periscope and opened fire with an anti-aircraft gun. Cdr Hezlet took control of the periscope again (after a lengthy wait in the queue) and upon doing so sighted the escort destroyer approaching high speed. Trenchant withdrew and evaded the destroyer.

  • After the War

    After the war Trenchant operated out of Rosyth and Malta, but was sold in July 1963 and arrived in Faslane later that month to be broken up for scrap.

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