The Royal Navy has announced that its seventh and final Astute-class submarine HMS Agincourt will be affiliated with the city of Torbay whose residents farewelled the namesake Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Torbay as it bowed out of service a year ago.
HMS Agincourt will be affiliated with the Devon borough throughout her 30-year life, replacing HMS Torbay which retired after 32 years of service.
Since the T-boat’s demise, civic and political leaders on the English Riviera have lobbied firstly for a replacement for the veteran fleet submarine and secondly for that boat to be bound with Torbay.
The lobbying has paid off. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson agrees that “Torbay has a special relationship with our submarine service and it is a real honor to be able to announce HMS Agincourt will continue this tradition.
“Agincourt will be Britain’s most advanced submarine ever, the jewel in the Royal Navy’s fleet – and there is no better place for her to be twinned with than Torbay.”
Torbay has been associated with the RN since the late 17th Century and, since 1940, with the Silent Service as two submarines have been named HMS Torbay.
Mayor Gordon Oliver said there had been a “quietly-mounted” campaign to maintain the borough’s links with submarines – as many people had “the Royal Navy in Torbay at its heart.”
He continued: “This will be the start of a very long relationship with a new nuclear submarine but in particular with its commanding officer and crew in due course. I welcome the opportunity to support the senior service again and look forward to the process of construction, launch and naming of a no-doubt-famous vessel built to protect us and defend us. It will be much needed.”
Whitehall committed £1.5bn to Agincourt earlier this year, with work now underway on the boat at BAE’s yard in Barrow. She is expected to enter service from her base at Faslane around 2024.