This site is dedicated to the men and women who built submarines at Chatham and to the submariners who took them to sea.

The Royal Dockyard at Chatham was established in the 16th century during the reign of Elizabeth 1st.
The first recorded build being the Pinnace MARLYNE in 1579. Her name was changed to Merlin 1603. 407 craft from yachts to Battleships were built between 1579 and 1966. In 1670, the yard launched its first 100 gun ship, the PRINCE. The most famous ship of all, VICTORY was launched in 1765. 100 years after the battle that put VICTORY and its Admiral into the history books, saw the launch of the last Battleship to be built in the yard. This was the 16.350 ton AFRICA in 1905. The last surface ship built was the survey ship H.M.S. VIDAL in 1954 and the last submarine, the OKANAGAN in 1966.
Refitting of vessels of all types including nuclear submarines continued at the yard until its closure. The last Royal Navy ship to be refitted at Chatham was H.M.S. HERMIONE in 1983, her refit was completed at Devonport.
After more than 400 years, the Navy’s links with the Medway towns came to an end when the dockyard closed on 31 March 1984.

The first submarines at Chatham were A3 and A12. In mid April 1906 both of these boats went into No.6 dock. This provided the workforce the opportunity to view a submarine prior to the first Chatham boat being laid down.
The building of Submarines at Chatham, began in 1907 and continued for over 60 years. The first was the coastal submarine 'C17' and the last was the Oberon class, OKANAGAN which was completed in 1968.
Private yards have always built the most submarines but of the submarines built by Royal Dockyards, Chatham built the majority.
20 classes of submarine were built and 57 were completed. Chatham was the third largest yard in the UK to build submarines.
All 57 boats were built at No.7 Slipway. This was a completely covered slip enabling construction to proceed regardless of weather conditions. Depending on size, they were built two or more at a time.
The cast iron structure of No.7 Slipway dates back to 1853 and the cranes used during construction dated from 1901 and were used until replaced in the mid 1960s.
Visitors to the Historic Dockyard , can see No.7 slipway and also, in the Wooden Walls exhibition, they will see the marking-out floor where templates were constructed for use during the building of the boats.

On Saturday 12th May 2012 Chatham Historic Dockyard held a SUBMARINERS' DAY to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the launch of HM Submarine OCELOT the last warship built for the Royal Navy at Chatham, marking the end of over 400 years of shipbuilding in the Royal Dockyard

Use the menu above to view a Submarine by class or name.

Acknowledgements :
Many thanks to John Chambers and all at Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust for the use of their research facilities and to the Chatham Dockyard Historical Society for their help and especially to Peter Dawson for allowing the use of material from the magazine 'CHIPS' to be reproduced on this site.

Special thanks to Darren Brown from Melbourne Australia who has supplied me with invaluable information on the C and E Class boats.
Also, Gordon Smith with his excellent website Naval for putting me in touch with Don Kindell of Ohio, who allowed me access to his Data Base on casualty lists.
In September 2010 I was contacted by Chris Hankin who had discovered a hand written book labelled 'Log of E2'. This provides a first class account of E2's patrols and life on board during 1915/16. My thanks to Chris for granting permission to display the logs on this website.

Chatham Badge
Dockyard Gallery

Building of a Submarine

During month of April
25 April 1918
25 April 1918
09 April 1940
17 April 1942
22 April 1943

During month of April