A KEEN gardener and model maker has launched a new submarine – called HMS Courgette.
Eric Rayment, 65, could think of nothing better than making a homage to Gosport’s HMS Alliance when he discovered the 14lb vegetable growing in his garden.
He spotted the whopping 1.5ft long and 5in around zucchini hiding in the undergrowth in his vegetable patch at his home in Southcroft Road, Gosport.
It took him just two hours to make the courgette homage to HMS Alliance, a Second World War era submarine.
Eric told The News: ‘I put it on the table and it sat there perfectly happily on its own upright and I said to my wife – that looks like a submarine.
‘The actual shape of it is more like a nuclear one, but because I’m into submarines it just came into my head.
‘To put it altogether and paint it and get it ready took me about two hours.
‘HMS Courgette is a vegetable class submarine.
‘Her patrol success as detailed on the Jolly Roger flag shows three attack carrots, 11 merchant peas and one anti-submarine tomato.’
Experienced model-maker Eric didn’t splash out on his boat, making the conning tower from pipework under his kitchen sink, and the periscope and flag pole from a dowel rod.
The torpedo tubes are made from caps in a plumbing kit.
Staff at the museum were amazed when he took it in to show them yesterday.
He said: ‘The museum were absolutely bowled over by it – I did it more as a sort of joke.
‘When I took it in Bob Mealings the curator came in to look at it, they were all over the moon with it.’
He is now on the look-out for his next challenge, dismissing another courgette class as he wants to do something new.
‘If I see something else that looks like a submarine then I’m going to turn it into one,’ he said.
But he isn’t about to test out, adding: ‘It would probably sink like a stone, which is ideal for a submarine.’
Eric is one of five volunteer conservationists working on the Alliance project.
Curator Bob said: ‘It’s brilliant, it was just a lot of fun.
‘Curiously enough courgettes seem to resemble submarine’s hulls.
‘The volunteer programme has been brilliant.’