Britain’s oldest submarine, HMS Trenchant, sails home for the last time

0

Britain’s oldest submarine has last sailed into her home after a 35-year career in which she completed a record-breaking 11-month check, and her captain was fired for a lockdown-busting BBQ.

HMS Trenchant hoisted its pennant – a centuries-old tradition – when she arrived in Plymouth Sound, due to be retired later this year.

Several of her crew went upstairs to cover the enclosure, while Tugs Faithful and Adept sprayed a water salute over the submarine in recognition of her long and valued service with the Royal Navy.

HMS Trenchant is a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine launched in 1986 by war hero Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Hezlet – he was the commander of the original HMS Trenchant submarine during World War II.

Together with the Astute class, HMS Trenchant forms the Royal Navy’s submarine force.

During her 35-year patrol, there were many highlights of her service, two of which were her ice patrols.

In 2016, the boat smashed through the ice and surfaced on the surface of the Arctic Ocean, nearly a decade since a British boat had performed this maneuver, regenerating the submarine’s submarine capacity.

In 2018, in the harsh environment of the North Pole, HMS Trenchant broke through the ice during an exercise with the US Navy – literally sitting on top of the world.

The submarine also completed a record-breaking 11-month patrol during which she sailed 38,800 nm, visiting six different ports.

These were: Fujairah, UAE; British Indian Ocean Territory – Diego Garcia; the Kingdom of Bahrain; Aqaba, Jordan; Souda Bay, Crete; and Gibraltar.

Britain's oldest submarine last sailed into her home after a 35-year career in which she completed a record-breaking 11-month check, and her captain was fired for a lockdown-busting BBQ

Britain’s oldest submarine last sailed into her home after a 35-year career in which she completed a record-breaking 11-month check, and her captain was fired for a lockdown-busting BBQ

Tugs Faithful and Adept sprayed a water salute over the submarine in recognition of her long and valued service with the Royal Navy

Tugs Faithful and Adept sprayed a water salute over the submarine in recognition of her long and valued service with the Royal Navy

Tugs Faithful and Adept sprayed a water salute over the submarine in recognition of her long and valued service with the Royal Navy

HMS Trenchant is a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine launched in 1986 by war hero Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Hezlet - he was the commander of the original HMS Trenchant submarine during WWII

HMS Trenchant is a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine launched in 1986 by war hero Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Hezlet - he was the commander of the original HMS Trenchant submarine during WWII

HMS Trenchant is a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine launched in 1986 by war hero Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Hezlet – he was the commander of the original HMS Trenchant submarine during WWII

Several of her crew went upstairs to cover the enclosure when the submarine arrived at Plymouth Sound on Thursday afternoon

Several of her crew went upstairs to cover the enclosure when the submarine arrived at Plymouth Sound on Thursday afternoon

Several of her crew went upstairs to cover the enclosure when the submarine arrived at Plymouth Sound on Thursday afternoon

During her 35-year patrol, there were many highlights of her service, two of which were her ice patrols.

During her 35-year patrol, there were many highlights of her service, two of which were her ice patrols.

During her 35-year patrol, there were many highlights of her service, two of which were her ice patrols.

In 2016, the boat smashed through the ice and emerged on the surface of the Arctic Ocean, nearly a decade since a British boat had performed this maneuver, regenerating the submarine's submarine capability.

In 2016, the boat smashed through the ice and emerged on the surface of the Arctic Ocean, nearly a decade since a British boat had performed this maneuver, regenerating the submarine's submarine capability.

In 2016, the boat smashed through the ice and emerged on the surface of the Arctic Ocean, nearly a decade since a British boat had performed this maneuver, regenerating the submarine’s submarine capability.

In 2018, in the harsh environment of the North Pole, HMS Trenchant broke through the ice during an exercise with the US Navy - literally sitting on top of the world

In 2018, in the harsh environment of the North Pole, HMS Trenchant broke through the ice during an exercise with the US Navy - literally sitting on top of the world

In 2018, in the harsh environment of the North Pole, HMS Trenchant broke through the ice during an exercise with the US Navy – literally sitting on top of the world

The main features of HMS Trenchant

Length: 85.4 m (280 ft)

Beam: 9.8 m (32 ft)

Speed: more than 30 knots (56 km / h), submerged

Range: unlimited

Armament: 5 × 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes with storage space for up to 30 weapons

The submarine has not been without controversy either, after it was revealed last April that Commander John Lewis was fired for organizing a barbecue for his crew amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Commander Lewis was relieved of command of HMS Trenchant and assigned other duties after being placed under “administrative investigation” over concerns about his judgment.

The submarine captain was investigated by the Royal Navy after being filmed hosting a ‘rave-themed barbecue’ at Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth after two months at sea.

At the time, it was reported that he had been sent home on leave and faced discharge after a so-called “ brief conversation ” with his superiors.

They were reportedly unhappy that he had rejected their orders in front of the junior crew.

Lewis had been ordered to scrap the homecoming celebration because it was considered ‘inappropriate’ while Britain was shut down in the fight against the coronavirus.

A shocking clip of the incident was captured in the first week of April, when the submarine returned to its base in the Devonport naval shipyard after a patrol of several weeks.

Despite effectively isolating themselves underwater, the 150 crew members were told to do the same at home for another two weeks.

Commander Lewis is said to have arranged the barbecue and disco as a moral boost for the departure ashore.

Commander Lewis has been relieved of commandos from HMS Trenchant and assigned other duties after a Royal Navy investigation into the meeting (photo: the barbecue)

Commander Lewis has been relieved of commandos from HMS Trenchant and assigned other duties after a Royal Navy investigation into the meeting (photo: the barbecue)

Commander Lewis has been relieved of commandos from HMS Trenchant and assigned other duties after a Royal Navy investigation into the meeting (photo: the barbecue)

“The commanding officer decided it would help cheer up his men after a long time at sea,” an insider told MailOnline.

It was his way of getting them to let off steam after weeks at sea where they had already isolated themselves. They were told on their return to isolate themselves for another two weeks.

Unfortunately, some senior executives saw this as an error of judgment as most of the UK was closed and not allowed to hold barbecues. It wasn’t seen as the right choice to throw a BBQ.

“Senior officers have a vague image of a commander opposing an order in the presence of young members of the crew.”

The bosses were reportedly particularly shocked that he allowed the crew to film the event and post it on social media, where it was picked up by an insurance comparison website.

Many of the crew can watch in bewilderment with their hands in their pockets as the disco plays the music.

Two decades earlier, the submarine was also involved in a tragedy when it seized the nets of the Antares fishing vessel in Scotland’s Bute Sound, resulting in the death of four crew.

HMS Trenchant: Britain’s oldest submarine that has scoured the world for over 35 years

HMS Trenchant is a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarine launched in 1986 by war hero Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Hezlet – he was the commander of the original HMS Trenchant submarine during World War II.

She has scoured the world during her 35 years of service, during which there have been a number of highlights.

However, there were times in the 1990s when it ran into difficulties, including one time it held the nets of the Antares fishing vessel in Scotland’s Bute Sound, resulting in the deaths of four crew.

Then, in 1997, it beached off the west coast of Australia and came to rest on a sloping stretch of sea bed. However, she was able to free herself and divers inspecting the incident reported no significant damage.

Ten years later, it made history by becoming the first Royal Navy ship to fire the new Block IV Tomahawk cruise missile during a live trial by fire in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of the United States.

It then underwent a two-year refit and upgrade program before a rededication service welcomed the boat back into active service in 2011.

Two years later, Trenchant completed a record-breaking 11-month patrol during which she sailed 38,800 nautical miles, visiting six different ports. These were: Fujairah, UAE; British Indian Ocean Territory – Diego Garcia; the Kingdom of Bahrain; Aqaba, Jordan; Souda Bay, Crete; and Gibraltar.

This was followed by a maintenance period, during which its weapons and sensors were upgraded, before being returned to service in 2016, when it smashed through the ice and surfaced on the surface of the Arctic Ocean.

Then in 2018, in the harsh environment of the North Pole, HMS Trenchant broke through the ice during an exercise with the US Navy – literally sitting on top of the world.