Photographic Archive

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum Photograph Collection begins with drawings and sketches of the very first submersibles - the weird and wacky inventions of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and concludes with the most modern British submarines - those of the Astute-class.

Van Drebbel        HMS Thunderbolt  alongside with her Jolly Roger flying       HMS Astute

 Although there are a few gaps in the collection we hold photographs of nearly all Royal Navy submarines. These range from official photographs to those taken by individuals during their time at sea - both at work and play.

Holland 1         Holland 1 crew         HMS B6 crew members on their partly submerged bridge

We also hold a large number of crew photographs showing submariners from the Royal Navy's first submarine, Holland 1, to images from the First and Second World Wars through to modern day crews. Some show the atrocious living conditions that submariners endured, but many show the more light hearted events which were part of everyday life such as 'Crossing the Line' ceremonies and ‘Hands to Bathe’.


 HMS Seawolf Seamens Mess showing crew relaxing       HMS E14 - Hands to Bathe        HMS Oswald - Crossing the Line Ceremony 1937

The Archive contains complete construction and underwater fittings photographs of various submarines and images of torpedoes, mines, guns and missiles of submarines over the last 100 years.

The Submarine Service has been awarded 14 Victoria Crosses, and the museum holds a wonderful set of drawings depicting each of those men honoured along with photographs of them during their careers.

A large collection of photographs of submarine badges and Jolly Rogers’ is held.


HMS Alliance badge (Crest)          HMS Safari crew members with their Jolly Roger


       HMS Sickle Jolly Roger


As well as photographs the Archive contains Postcards, Negatives, Glass Plate Negatives and Lantern Slides.

The RN Submarine Museum is committed to an ongoing photograph preservation policy. All photographs are housed in archival quality acid-free sleeves, within archival quality albums. Scanning and cataloguing of the collection is ongoing.

The photographic pages tell of what we have in the Collection but what we are seeking is to have 'a face to every name'. We have many images of the machines but now we are striving to collect photographs of the men who made the Submarine Service so special.

If you have any submarine related photographs, especially of individual submariners, please get in touch This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . This is a chance to be a permanent part of the Submarine Service photographic history!