Midget submarine takes the high road to Scotland

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• 37 ton submarine embarks on 500 mile journey
• It will take centre stage at Scottish Submarine Heritage Centre

Cold War midget submarine HMS Stickleback is on its way to a new home following its loan from The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) in Portsmouth to the Scottish Submarine Trust.

The tricky manoeuvre to load the 37 ton Stickleback submarine took most of the day before it embarked on a 500 mile journey to Helensburgh. It will take centre stage at the Scottish Submarine Heritage Centre, a new visitor attraction on Scotland’s west coast.

Stickleback entered service in 1953. With a four-man crew, this diesel electric submarine was very similar to those that operated from Scotland during the Second World War.
On hand to guide operations was NMRN’s Head of Collections. Bob Mealings. who explained: ““We are really excited about this fascinating submarine going on permanent display in Helensburgh. The partnership with the new Submarine Trust means that NMRN will for the first time be able to display a major item from its collections in a part of Scotland with important historical links to the Royal Navy.”

Brian Keating, Chairman of The Scottish Submarine Trust welcomed the submarine’s arrival: “"We are delighted that after 3 years of work by volunteers here in Helensburgh, we have secured this X craft to present to the public as part of our new submarine centre in Scotland." He added "As the main exhibit at the centre we hope Helensburgh will be 'Stickleback's' home for the next 100 years.”

The West of Scotland has a long association with the Royal Navy Submarine Service. During the Second World War this area was the centre for midget submarine operations. The Faslane nuclear submarine base, established in the 1960s, is very close to Helensburgh; many RN personnel have over the decades lived in the town. The Scottish Submarine Trust project has therefore been enthusiastically supported by the Faslane Naval Base from the outset.

It has taken the new trust three years of hard work to find a suitable display building, raise the necessary funding and develop their approach to interpretation and conservation.