Silent Service marks Submariner Remembrance in London

The sacrifice of members of the Royal Navy Submarine Service has been marked during this year’s Submariner Memorial weekend.

Serving personnel from the Submarine Service, and veterans’ organisation the Submariners Association, sent representatives to Westminster Abbey and to the National Submarine War Memorial on Saturday, October 31, and Sunday, November 1.

On the Saturday, the Submariners Association’s Andy Jeffrey visited the Poppy Gardens at Westminster Abbey where he set out crosses on behalf of the Submarine Service.  Later there was a short service and wreath laying at the Abbey’s Combined Service Memorial, led by Canon Anthony Ball.

The next day activity moved to the Memorial Embankment where there was a Service of Remembrance.  Reverend Professor Stephen Dray officiated during the service which included two minutes silence, wreath laying and the reading of the roll call of submarines lost.  

Present at the National Submarine Memorial were Commodore Jim Perks CBE, Barry Downer, Iain MacKenzie, Trevor Thomas and a serving Submariner Junior Rate.

Commodore Jim Perks, Head of the Royal Navy Submarine Service, said: “Over 5000 Royal Navy submariners have perished serving their country since the
Submarine Service was formed 119 years ago. 

“These events are extremely important for those serving, our veterans, and their families, enabling us to give thanks and remember those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Protecting our Nations Interests.”

During previous years hundreds of serving and veteran Submariners have attended the event, but this year, due to COVID restrictions, attendance at the memorial
weekend has been strictly pared-down.

The ceremony was first instituted in 1923, following the unveiling of the National Submarine War Memorial in 1922, and is held on the Sunday before the national
Remembrance Day Parade to enable submariners to attend both events.

Situated on Victoria Embankment between Blackfriars Bridge and Waterloo Bridge, the memorial depicts a submarine crew, statues of Truth and Justice, 40 anchor-
shaped wreath hooks and lists of the submarines lost in both World Wars.

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.

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