Acquisition and Preservation
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On de-commissioning in September 1991, HMS OCELOT was prepared for disposal by the Royal Navy, her life as a Royal Navy submarine was over. Important equipment and materials were removed to refit other submarines that were still in service.
At this time, the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust was able to acquire HMS OCELOT into their collection, to celebrate the rich history of submarine construction by the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham.
Over the next 3 years HMS OCELOT was restored internally. Missing equipment was sourced through visits to other Naval bases, dockyards and shipbreakers.
Following her time in No2. Basin, HMS OCELOT was moved to this location, No.3 Dock. Support stands were positioned on the floor of the dock, then the caisson was opened allowing the River Medway to flood in. The submarine was manoeuvred into position above the supports, then the caisson was closed.
Normally ships are kept with water in the dock, just like HMS CAVALIER and HMS GANNET. This allows the water to support the shape of the hull, removing pressure and stress on the frame. However, a submarine does not need this support as it is constructed as a steel tube that can support itself.
Hear the memories of HMS OCELOT’s arrival at The Historic Dockyard Chatham by Richard Holdsworth MBE – former Director of Heritage, Public Engagement and Learning.
Click below to see aerial footage of how HMS OCELOT looks today…