The Gosport Branch of the Submariners Association held their annual HMS Affray Memorial Service at the AFFRAY Memorial on Gosport Waterfront on Sunday 16th April. There were approximately 50 attendees including the Mayor of Gosport, Councillor Jamie Hutchison, Councillor Graham Burgess, and members of the Gosport and Portsmouth branches of the Submariners Association. The service was taken by the Reverend Stephen Ashley-Emery RN Chaplain from HMS Sultan.
Special guests were the daughter and family members of CPO Reginald Whitbread who was one of the 75 men who lost their lives on HMS Affray when she was lost on April 16th 1951.
HMS Affray, commanded by Lt. Blackburn DSC, sailed in the early evening of Sunday April 15th, 1951, from the HMS Dolphin submarine base to take part in exercise ‘Spring Train’ in the western approaches. She dived off the Isle of Wight later that evening to make a dived passage west.
Her crew was reduced from 61 to 50, to accommodate a class of 21 trainee Engineering Officers and instructors on a training course and a detachment of 4 SBS Marines who were to carry out an exercise during her transit west. This made her complement 75.
She was lost some time between midnight on the 16th of April and 08.00 in the morning when she failed to send a routine signal.
Extensive searches for her were carried out over the following two months but it wasn’t until the 14 June that she was located lying in the Hurd deep just 17 miles northwest of the island of Alderney by HMS Loch Insh on the 4th. June. She was later identified as HMS Affray by divers from HMS Reclaim.
She is now designated as a war grave.