Friends support HMS OCELOT in Chatham Historic Dockyard

Towards the end of last year, the Friends received a request from Chatham Historic Dockyard for support of a long-term project for HMS OCELOT.

HM Submarine OCELOT has been in the care of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust for over 20 years and she remains one of the most popular attractions as part of their wider Heritage site. As many of our members probably already know, they currently deliver the experience of going onboard a submarine through a guided tour that lasts approximately 30 minutes. This gives a flavour of life onboard as well as the opportunity to experience the space itself, as the RNSM does through HMS ALLIANCE.

Chatham are planning, however, to make improvements to the visitor experience onboard HMS OCELOT to start interpreting the story of the vessel and, importantly, life onboard in a more meaningful and engaging way. This will be a multi-year project that will see the Trust make a number of interventions to improve the experience, but they also plan to use their OCELOT 60 celebrations, planned for May this year,as the opportunity to start the process.

The support required is split between maintenance (which the Trust is largely funding itself) and enhancement. It was quickly decided that any Friends support funding should be restricted to enhancement and acquisition rather than maintenance. This reflects policy towards the NMRN/RNSM. The focus was therefore limited to improving Interpretation of Mess Areas (including development of replica equipment where original equipment is no longer available):

   ·        Replacement of bunks

   ·        Improvements to flooring

   ·        Improvements to lighting and gauges

   ·        Replacement of equipment

   ·        Introduction of soundscape

This reduced the donation amount requested of The Friends to £11.5K.

The Friends Committee therefore unanimously approved and set aside a donation of £5750, half of the total amount, to be sent to The Historic Dockyard Trust Chatham for use in OCELOT as requested. The Committee decided to make a first ever approach to the newly established Submarine Family for approval of a Heritage Donation of £5750 from their funds to comprise the other half of the donation as a heritage item. This would test the newly-written documentation and supporting procedures for accessing The Submarine Family going forward.

The Friends’ bid was successful, approved at the first meeting of the Submarine Family Board. The procedures were simple and easy to follow and the Grants department of the RNRMC was supportive and helpful during our first use of the Grant Request process. Through this route, the Friends have passed a total of £11.5K to the Historic Dockyard Chatham to use as detailed above to enhance the visitor experience to HMS OCELOT for years to come.

One thought on “Friends support HMS OCELOT in Chatham Historic Dockyard

  1. We went to the 60th anniversary for Ocelot on Saturday, we arrived at 11.00 it was very quiet so we went to the boat first and joined a few ex submariners for a tour of the boat, this was a great experience the tour was run by I believe volunteers. We decided to go to the mess deck restaurant for a quick lunch still ever so quiet restaurant was almost empty, my wife went in as we had our dog with us I stayed outside, she came back and said they only have cake no sandwiches, I never went in but we decided to go without. Unfortunately we had to leave before we could see the other exhibits due to a family problem so we missed the plaque being unveiled.
    what we saw was good I hope more people did turn up later.

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