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Farron uses parliamentary debate to call for fresh inquiry into HMS Affray tragedy

January 24, 2012 2:19 PM

FT in LDNSouth Lakes MP, Tim Farron, has used an adjournment debate in Westminster Hall to call on the Government to open a fresh inquiry into the sinking of the Naval Submarine, HMS Affray on 16 April 1951 just north of Alderney in the Channel Islands, which killed 75 men.

Tim became involved with the calls for a fresh inquiry following conversations with constituent June Tower, whose husband John Treleaven died onboard the HMS Affray when it sank.

Concerns have been raised several times over the past 61 years that the initial closed inquiry into the sinking was "hushed and rushed" by the admirals and that when it was published after the 30 year rule in 1981 it appeared that the inquiry did not acknowledge that a combination of the poor condition that the submarine and a highly inexperienced crew that were not well enough prepared could have led to the problems that arose on that fateful day.

In addition to a fresh inquiry into the tragedy, Tim also used the debate to ask Defence Minister, Nick Harvey MP, for an apology from the Royal Navy and Her Majesty's government for the mistakes made in sending out an unfit submarine with an inexperienced crew as well as for monies remaining in the Affray Fund to maintain the bronze plaque on Alderney that will be unveiled in April of this year as a proud tribute to the 75 men who lost their lives on the Affray.

In the debate the minister stated that if the sinking of the HMS Affray was the fault of an inexperienced crew combined with a faulty submarine then he was indeed sorry.

Commenting after the debate Tim said: "The sinking of the HMS Affray was an appalling disaster, yet what makes the story even more tragic is that it was avoidable. Had the admiralty acknowledged the submarine's faults they surely should have prevented it from going on exercise with such an inexperienced crew.

"The unveiling of the memorial plaque in Alderney is an important tribute to the men who lost their lives as well as their friends and families. However there are still those who, like June Tower, have waited for over 60 years and still have not been given full and proper answers about why their relatives died and it is time the Government and the Navy enabled these people to gain some closure over this tragedy."