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Submarine Heritage Centre
Registered Address:
53 Red Oak Avenue
Cumbria, LA13 OLJ, UK
Tel: 01229 820993
Fax: 01229 772407
  HMS Olympus

The Oberon Class of submarines built for the Royal Navy between 1959 and 1964 were a class of 13 Diesel Electric Boats, the first of class Oberon, Pennant No. S09, being built at HM Dockyard Chatham in 1959. They were capable of high underwater speeds, had improved detection equipment over the Porpoise Class and were able to maintain continuous submerged patrols in any part of the world, armed with homing torpedoes.

Olympus launch
Before and abaft the bridge, glass reinforced plastic was used for the superstructure for the first time. The Oberon Class were acknowledged as the quietest submarines of their day and are considered the classic submarine of their era.

Vickers-Armstrongs at Barrow built a batch of three O-boats - HMS Orpheus S11, HMS Olympus S12 and HMS Osiris S13.

Olympus was laid down at Barrow on March 4th 1960. This was the year that saw HM The Queen launch Britain's first nuclear submarine Dreadnought. Olympus' sister vessel Orpheus and the famous passenger liner Oriana were completed later the same year which was rounded off by the laying down in December of the only RN Frigate to be built at Barrow, HMS Mohawk.

Olympus was launched by Mrs.R.H.Wright on June 14th 1961, one month after the BP tanker Malwa and a month before another BP tanker British Prestige.

HMS Olympus Facts...
Yard No. 1060
Laid down March 4th 1960
Launched June 14th 1961
Completed July 7th 1962
1610 tons std/2030 tons surfaced/ 2410 tons submerged displacement
Dimensions 295.25ft overall, 241ft pp x 26.5 x 18ft
Machinery 2 Admiralty Standard Range 1, 16VMS Diesels: 3680 hp; 2 Electric Motors; 6000shp; 2 shafts
Olympus - Gibraltar Inner Harbour

In 1962, Britain's second nuclear submarine Valiant, the third O-boat Osiris and the largest vessel ever built at Barrow - British Admiral - were all laid down. Mohawk was launched on April 5th and Olympus was completed on July 7th 1961 and commissioned into Royal Navy service.

After serving with the Royal Navy for 27 years, Olympus was placed on the Disposals List and subsequently sold to the Royal Canadian Navy

in 1989 for use as an alongside training boat for Canadian submariners. Canada had a flotilla of three O-boats - HMCS Ojibwa, HMCS Okanagan and HMCS Onondaga - all of which had been built at Chatham Dockyard between 1962 and 1966 and had entered service in 1967-68.

In 1998, the four VSEL-built ex Royal Navy Upholder Class conventional submarines which had been withdrawn for service in 1994 after the ending of the Cold War had rendered them surplus to UK requirements, were sold to the Canadian Navy. After refurbishment and reactivation at Barrow, HMS Unseen commissioned into the Canadian Navy as HMCS Victoria in October 2000 to be followed by HMCS Windsor (ex. Unicorn) in 2001. HMCS Corner Brook (ex. Ursula) and HMCS Chicoutimi (ex. Upholder) will follow on completion of reactivation.

In 2002, the Canadian Government disposals agency offered the Submarine Heritage Centre - a registered charity set up to create a submarine- themed visitor centre at Barrow,

HMS Olympus Facts...
3-bladed 7ft dia. Propeller, 400rpm
Eight 21inch torpedo tubes for homing torpedoes
Speed - 12 knots surfaced, 17 knots submerged
Diving Depth 800-900ft
Complement 69 (7 Officers, 62 Ratings)
Cost approx. £2,305,000
Sponsor: Mrs.R.H.Wright (wife of the then Flag Officer Submarines - North)
the exclusive opportunity to bid for Olympus which they propose to transport to Barrow at a cost of approximately £600,000. Suitably mounted on dry land adjacent to Buccleuch Dock, Olympus would form the focal point of interest for visitors to the proposed new Heritage Centre.
Tony Salter-Ellis for the Submarine Heritage Centre - Barrow
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  © 2002 Submarine Heritage Centre Limited  
The Submarine Heritage Centre is a Registered Charity No. 1088820