Prince William officially opens new £34m training facility at Argyll and Bute submarine service

Prince William visited the Home of the UK Submarine Service in Argyll and Bute today (June 29) to meet with service personnel and to officially open a multi-million-pound training facility.

Prince William,  who is Commodore-in-Chief Submarines, spent the afternoon at HM Naval Base Clyde, Scotland’s largest military establishment, beginning with an update on operations delivered by members of the Submarine Flotilla (Photo: Pepe Hogan).
Prince William, who is Commodore-in-Chief Submarines, spent the afternoon at HM Naval Base Clyde, Scotland’s largest military establishment, beginning with an update on operations delivered by members of the Submarine Flotilla (Photo: Pepe Hogan).

The Duke of Cambridge, who is Commodore-in-Chief Submarines, spent the afternoon at HM Naval Base Clyde, Scotland’s largest military establishment, beginning with an update on operations delivered by members of the Submarine Flotilla.

While at the site, His Royal Highness officially opened the new £34M Submarine Escape, Rescue, Abandonment and Survival (SMERAS) facility.

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Prince William also signed the guest book on the same page as his Grandfather, Prince Philip, did in 1961, and his father, Prince Charles, signed in 1972.

Prince William officially opens the new £34M training facility at the home of the UK Submarine Service in Argyll and Bute (Photo: Pepe Hogan).

Captain Iain Breckenridge OBE, in charge of submarine training with the navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training organisation, said: “We were delighted to host our Commodore-in-Chief to open this fantastic and world-leading submarine escape training facility.

“His Royal Highness toured the entire building, met training staff and students, and enjoyed some hands-on operation of the escape towers and wave generator.”

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Known as “Thetis” building, after wartime submarine HMS Thetis which sank in Liverpool Bay in 1939, the facility is used to train Royal Navy Submariners in how to safely escape from a stricken submarine.

The state-of-the-art building features a realistic simulator capable of mimicking a variety of weather conditions and sea states.

The unit gives students the opportunity to practise abandoning a submarine and escaping to life rafts while wind, rain and even thunder and lightning rage around them.

Submariners can also practise Escape from Depth methods in a realistic training environment, simulating the expected conditions on board a submarine in distress.

Commodore Jim Perks OBE, Head of the Royal Navy Submarine Service, said: “This visit has been an excellent and important opportunity to update the Submarine Service’s Commodore-in-Chief on recent operations. It has also provided us with an opportunity to highlight the ongoing work on the Clyde to make the Naval Base the Royal Navy’s Submarine Centre of Specialisation.

Serving Submariners were also able to speak with The Prince outside of HM Naval Base Clyde’s Neptune Building Supermess at the site’s Submariners’ Memorial Garden.

The Prince heard from personnel about life in the Submarine Service, and about ongoing initiatives aimed at helping to improve mental health of members of the armed forces.

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