Last Wednesday, a number of Coombe Dean Students had the opportunity to receive a fascinating glimpse into the operational world of the ‘Silent Service’.
HMS Courageous is a 285ft (87m) long, 4300 ton, Churchill class, decommissioned nuclear submarine. Retired from service in 1992, she is now a museum ship the only exhibit of its kind in the UK, based at Devonport Dockyard.
The last of the Valiant Class submarines, built by Vickers (Shipbuilding) Limited at Barrow-in-Furness. Her keel was laid down on the 15th of May 1968 and she was launched on the 7th of March 1970 as S50 (SSN06). At a ceremony held at Vickers, she was commissioned into the Royal Navy Submarine Flotilla on the 16th of October 1971.
Courageous was a formidable underwater weapon. Her time submerged was limited only by the food that could be carried and the endurance of the crew. Her nuclear reactor was a virtually limitless power supply driving both the propulsion and the life support systems on board. Making fresh water and even oxygen from the sea water around her, she could remain beneath the surface for months at a time. Her sonar allowed Courageous to listen quietly for the sounds made by other ships and submarines and her weapons meant that she carried a real sting with which she could both defend and attack. The small nuclear reactor (about the size of a household dustbin) provided heat to produce steam for the turbines which drove the propeller as well as for the turbo generators which produced enough electricity to supply a small town.
The guided tour enabled students access to the control room, torpedo compartment, wardrooms and accommodation spaces. There was also an opportunity to ask lots of questions.
All of the students were extremely polite, well behaved and a credit to the school.
Due to a high level of expressions of interest, I have made arrangements to repeat the visit in October. If your child would like to take the opportunity to attend, please ask them to speak to me in Inclusion.