Royal Navy museum submarine HMS Courageous opened again

Former head of the Royal Navy Admiral Sir Jonathon Band cut the ribbon to reopen a nuclear-powered museum submarine during a ceremony held June 7 at Plymouth Naval Base.

The face-lifted Cold War submarine HMS Courageous thereby became a newly-announced part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s (NMRN) heritage collection.

As Head of the Trustees of the NMRN, Admiral Band announced to guests at Devonport Naval Base that a new memorandum of understanding between the Devonport Naval Heritage Collection (of which the decommissioned submarine is part) and the Portsmouth-based NMRN had been signed.

This, and the relationship between Plymouth City Council Museums and the Devonport Naval Base Heritage Centre, gave the collection new potential.

Admiral Band said: “I am now able to announce a much closer link between the Devonport Heritage Collection, including Courageous, and the National Museum In Portsmouth. This has been developed to ensure that such an important collection can be properly exploited and developed and better opened to a wider local, national and international audience with access to new streams of funding and professional support.

“The signing of the memorandum of understanding will help ensure the Devonport Naval Base heritage continues to find its rightful place on the agenda and continues to play an increasingly important part in all that Plymouth can offer.’’

Courageous has been open 14 years and attracted 300,000 visitors having been transformed by volunteers from a retired shell to a fascinating museum and tribute to Royal Navy submariners.

The main driving force behind this unusual attraction is former Courageous serving sailor Michael Pitkeathly. His achievement was marked by a new submarine museum building next to Courageous being named after him and unveiled as the submarine was opened.