On April 16, 1951 HMS Affray departed on a routine exercise, but just one day after sailing it became apparent something had gone terribly wrong. A search began, as did a mystery which remains hotly debated. Oliver Thébault investigates.

HMS Affray leaving port. In 1951 the submarine went missing with all hands.

HMS Affray was an A-class submarine commissioned in November 1945. In many respects the class represented the pinnacle of wartime submarine development – not just in Britain, but across the world. She and her sisters were fitted with ten torpedo tubes, a flared bow, refrigeration and air conditioning. They were built with welded hulls that offered greater strength and streamlining, plus the adoption of German-style construction processes allowed the boats to be built in just eight months – twice as fast as the earlier T-class submarines.

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