Silent Service in London for Submariner Remembrance

Hundreds of serving Royal Navy Submariners and veterans of the Silent Service gathered in London for Submariner Remembrance events.

The annual services, which are held the week before the main national Remembrance commemorations, are to honour submariners of all generations who have given their lives for their country.  During the Second World War alone some 76 submarines were lost in action.

The Combined Services Memorial and the Submarine Service Poppy Field of Remembrance, both at Westminster Abbey, were a focus on Saturday with a service and wreath laying. 

On Sunday, Submariners attended the Middle Temple Gardens for the main Remembrance Service before marching to Victoria Embankment – between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridge – to the National Submarine War Memorial. 

Many have given their lives over the years and because of the nature of submarine operations their sacrifice has often gone unrecognised.

Rear Admiral John Weale CB OBE, Head of the UK Submarine Service

Rear Admiral John Weale CB OBE, Head of the UK Submarine Service, said: “This unique service is an important date in Submariners’ calendars.  Submarines and submariners have, and continue to, play a crucial part in the defence of our country. 

“Many have given their lives over the years and because of the nature of submarine operations their sacrifice has often gone unrecognised. 

“It is important that we continue to mark their bravery and dedication at occasions such as this.”

The Submariner Remembrance event was first held in 1923, following the unveiling of the National Submarine War Memorial. 

Held on the Sunday before the national Remembrance Day Parade to enable Submariners to attend both events, the service attended by serving Royal Navy Submariners, veterans from the Submariners Association and loved-ones.

Those attending to lay wreaths this year included: Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL, Patron of the Submariners Association; Rear Admiral Niall Kilgour CB, President of the Association; Rear Admiral John Weale CB OBE, Rear Admiral Submarines; Mrs Gillian Molyneux, representing Submarine widows; and Venessa Nicholls, Director General Nuclear. 

The service at Middle Temple Gardens was led by Reverend Paul Jupp, assisted by Reverend Dr Mark Davidson Royal Navy, Chaplain to HM Naval Base Clyde.  The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band were also in attendance. 

Known as the Silent Service, the Royal Navy Submarine Service’s motto is: “We Come Unseen”, highlighting the qualities of stealth, endurance and flexibility which affords them unparalleled freedom to operate worldwide. 

The Royal Navy’s first submarine, Holland 1, was launched in 1901 with subsequent vessels proving their worth time and again during both World Wars and operations around the globe.

Today the home of the UK Submarine Service is HM Naval Base Clyde in Argyll and Bute.  The Scottish Naval Base maintains and operates the navy’s Vanguard class, Astute class and Trafalgar class boats.