HMS Torbay visit to Sheffield childrens hospital Phil Arthur and Michael Dixon visit Fern Bradbury
THEY’RE used to spending their days 10,000 leagues under the sea – but crew members from a submarine made a visit to dry land to cheer up poorly youngsters in Sheffield.
The crew of HMS Torbay, one of the UK’s five nuclear-powered attack submarines, toured wards at Sheffield Children’s Hospital in full naval uniform, sharing tales about life under the ocean and giving out gifts.
Youngsters also eagerly took up the chance to try on the submariners’ hats.
Lieutenant Sean Hammond, navigator of the submarine, said they had been ‘really looking forward’ to the trip to Sheffield.
“HMS Torbay has some strong links with the city, with many sailors from Sheffield having served on the submarines,” Lt Hammond said.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity for us to visit the hospital and try and bring some smiles to children’s faces by telling them stories and sharing gifts.”
Commissioned in 1985, the submarine is now in its 25th year of service, and is currently undergoing a maintenance period in its base port at Devonport, Plymouth, to prepare for future operations.
It is expected to return to the sea next summer.
The submarine is fitted with a highly sensitive sonar system, which enables it to pick up vessels more than 50 miles away.
HMS Torbay is staffed by a crew of 130 personnel with 18 officers. It is more than 85 metres long and has a top speed of 32 knots.
The sub’s computer system is powerful enough to run 3,000 games consoles.
Torbay is scheduled to be taken out of service in 2015 and will be replaced by one of the Navy’s new ‘Astute class’ submarines.
The serving submariners from HMS Torbay were joined on the visit by members of Sheffield’s Submariners Association, made up of ex-submariners from across the city.