Ocelot 60: A Day of Celebration

Event Date:
Start at 12:00 AM
May 7, 2022

This year HM Submarine Ocelot celebrates her 60th birthday. She was the last warship built at Chatham for the Royal Navy and was on duty as a ‘spy’ submarine during the Cold War until she was decommissioned in 1991. Ocelot now forms part of the Historic Ships Collection at The Historic Dockyard Chatham and is visited by thousands of people every year. Preparations began in March with a ‘Big Clean’, where a team of amazing volunteers have been polishing, buffing and generally getting her ready for the forthcoming celebrations. As you can imagine, it is a mammoth task to clean this 73 metre long vessel. 40 volunteers (approximately 10 per day) worked for around 5 hours each day, resulting in over 400 hours of cleaning.


On Saturday 7 May, as part of a wider programme of events celebrating the launch of HMS Ocelot, there will be a commemorative event bringing together former submariners and dockyard workers who contributed to the construction, refit and repair of O-Boats.

To mark the 60th anniversary of this iconic submarine, Historic Dockyard Chatham are offering free access for all former and currently serving Royal Navy Submariners and Ex-Dockyard workforce, along with their families. As part of the day, they will be able to explore HMS OCELOT and see first hand the start of an ongoing process to improve the immersive visitor experience created within the submarine, as well as the opportunity to explore the wider Historic Dockyard site and other Historic Ships.

At 3pm, visitors will be invited to assemble at the dockside for a short ceremony where a plaque will be unveiled to recognise the occasion. This ceremony will be led by the Chairman of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE DL, who was the Commanding Officer for HMS OCELOT from 1987 – 1990. All visitors to the Historic Dockyard Chatham will be welcome to take part in this ceremony to celebrate this important part of our Royal Naval heritage story.


Join the Dockyard on 7 May for a series of lectures focusing on the history of submarines.

The talks, accompanied by slides, will take place in the Commissioner’s House Ballroom and are free to attend with a Dockyard ticket. The bar will be open after each lecture. Booking is not required.

11.00 Chatham built submarine operations in the First World War (Mark Harris, Historian)

12.30 – HM Submarine Seal (Phil Webb and Roger McKenna, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust volunteers)

14.00 – Paddles to Peacekeepers: the development of the submarine (Tom Cornwell, Submariner / Historian)