Submariners gather in London for Annual Remembrance Service

Topic: PeopleRemembrance Storyline: Submarine Service

SERVING AND VETERAN Royal Navy Submariners travelled to London at the weekend to remember those submariners who have gone on “eternal patrol”.

Hundreds of members of the Silent Service attended events at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, and at Middle Temple Gardens on Sunday, to pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

This year marks the centenary of the first ever Submariners Memorial Service held in 1923 following the establishment of the National Submarine War Memorial in 1922. Ever since, the Submariners’ Remembrance has been held the week before the nation’s main Remembrance commemorations to allow Submariners to attend both.

Events are held over two days with serving submariners and veterans gathering for the Dedication of the Poppy Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Saturday.

The main event is the Remembrance Parade the following day and is attended by members of the Submariners’ Association, serving and veteran submariners and Commodore (Cdre) Paul Dunn, Commodore of the Submarine Service.

Cdre Dunn is the Commanding Officer of the Submarine Flotilla, based at HMNB Clyde. The Naval Base is the home of the UK Submarine Service and as well as the four Vanguard-class and five Astute-class Royal Navy submarines currently based there, it will be the homeport for the new Dreadnought Class of submarine, expected to be in service in the early 2030s.

“Once again the annual Submarine Remembrance Service brought together all generations of The Submarine Family.” Said Cdre Dunn.

“From our youngest 17-year-old submarine trainee to a war veteran now aged 100, the weekend celebrated those submariners who continue to deliver our enduring mission whilst remembering those who have gone before us.”

Following the Parade at Middle Temple Gardens, a Service was led by the Reverend Steven Dray, the Submarine Association Chaplain, with prayers read by the Reverend Mark Street, Chaplain for the Submarine Flotilla. During the ceremony there was a two-minute silence, wreath laying, and the reading of the roll call of submarines lost.

One of the youngest members of the Silent Service, Engineering Technician Rhys Tiffany (aged 17) laid a wreath on behalf of HMS Sultan, the Navy’s training establishment in Gosport for all engineers – above and below the waves.

“I have always taken a great interest in the act of Remembrance; it is important we recognise the sacrifices made by those gone before us. As someone who is just starting my military career, they are a huge inspiration,” said Rhys.

“It is a massive honour to represent HMS Sultan and the Submarine Service in laying a wreath. It is something I didn’t expected to do, and I am immensely proud.”

At the start of World War 1, the Royal Navy had 57 operational submarines which expanded to 137 vessels by the time the war ended in 1918, with another 78 under construction. During the war, 54 of its submarines were sunk, and over 1,300 Royal Navy submariners were killed.

Once again the annual Submarine Remembrance Service brought together all generations of The Submarine Family.

Cdre Dunn