On This Day in 1954, No.3 Caisson broke free, allowing the river to flood into the dock. HM Submarine TALENT, in dry dock for repairs, was swept out of the dock and driven across the River Medway.
Thick fog, night-fall, and high tides hampered the search and rescue operations. TALENT was found the next day stranded high and dry on a mud bank. The accident claimed four lives and injured 33, some seriously. After this accident all caissons at Chatham that were on the river were chained down to prevent them lifting and they were inspected more regularly to ensure that they were full of water.
On Sunday 2nd January 1955, a memorial service was held in The Royal Dockyard Church to commemorate those that had lost their lives during the disaster.