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We regret that we must announce the passing of our former 1st Commission CO, Richard "Nutty" Sharpe OBE who served in Courageous as CO between 1974 and 1976 having previously served as 1st Lieutenant in 1971. He went on to edit Janes Fighting Ships. His death was announced by his son Tom Sharpe, Captain RN Retd, on 25th June 2024. A private family funeral will be held.


We offer our condolences to his family and all who knew him.





Please note that, effective immediately, our contact e mail address has changed to

Please note, although the HMS Courageous Association members all have a strong link to the submarine currently located in Devonport Naval Dockyard, Plymouth, Devon, we have no responsibility or authority with regard to the maintenance, upkeep or management of the boat as an exhibit. We are unable to organise or request visits and we are therefore unable to help with such requests.

All requests for visits to the boat should be directed to


The HMS Courageous Association has now been in existence since 2000 and continues to flourish. Members meet every two years for a full reunion weekend over three days and, generally, the members fill the Hallmark Mickleover Hotel, chosen for the reunion and which is now our regular venue of choice

The Association was founded in 2000 as the result of a wish of a former crew member to try and meet with some of the very good friends made during his time on the boat from 1974 to 1978. A search for former crew members willing to meet, perhaps in a pub and have a beer rather got out of hand and instead of the 5 or 6 former crewmates, it soon became apparent that there were so many more men who wanted to meet old friends and crew mates. The search continued over approximately twelve months and the numbers increased. A reunion was arranged and, at the inaugural reunion at the Britannia Hotel, New Street in Birmingham, in 2002, 146 men shared a weekend of memories while doing their best, and but for about half a barrel, succeeding, in drinking the hotel dry.

Pictures of HMS Courgeous at sea

So, The Association began and, despite economic downturns, the scattering of ex crew members around the globe, and other more pressing commitments, the reunions go on, now every other year, and our members, accompanied in many cases by their wives and partners, continue to enjoy meeting each other at our weekend long get togethers. The last, in Derby in 2023 attracted over 120 people. In 2025 we will again be meeting back at the

Mickeleover Court hotel, Derby, where our reunion will be hosted for the fifth consecutive time by the amazing staff of Hallmark Hotels so please visit our Reunions page regularly for details as they are made available.


It is particularly important if you are considering attendance at the next reunion in 2025 as places go quickly and although there is no real limit to the numbers attending, it is always best to book relatively early as we tend to book every room at the hotel and, if this is the case, we may need to consider accommodating some at a nearby sister hotel. On the Reunions page you will find full details of room choice, menu choices and cost of the various packages available. When details are published and places go on sale you will be able to book and pay for your place(s) in our Shop page. We really hope you will be able to join us and enjoy the company of those who served in our boat. 


At our 2020 reunion, The President, David Wixon, delivered grace before the reunion dinner and unveiled The Courageous Grace. It has now been adopted as the precursor to all our reunion dinners and many have asked for this to be made public: We are pleased to show it below for you.


God of atom, God of steel, God of spanners (in brackets wheel),

God who saves our long lived King, God who made our Submarine,

God who built the back end first manned by men with unquenchable thirst,

By then, God, feeling a wee bit vexed, thought he’d make the front end next.

From TSC, messdeck to mast, He came to make the galley last

To feed us all with HITS and BITS, with babies’ heads, gave us the *****(runs)

Which sounds like kidneys on a raft, GhandI’s revenge for the boys back aft.

Oh God who served up Spithead pheasant and harbour cotters not unpleasant.

Bless us with good food today that is not cooked the Navy way.



Representation of the memorial plaque on the Association Bench

Some time ago, at the suggestion of our late treasurer, Roger Pescodd, the HMS Courageous Association Committee purchased a memorial bench to be placed within the National Memorial Arboretum. The decision was taken to purchase the bench as a permanent memorial to those of our crew mates who have crossed the bar. The bench includes a plaque which contains the ship’s crest and the inscription shown in the image here, which we felt was apt for those such as Ray Hutchins who was lost at sea, and, of course, for our predecessors who were lost in the sinking of the aircraft carrier:

The bench is fairly easy to find and only a few minutes walk from the main entrance. We also found that the Arboretum as a whole is a great place to visit and walk round and proved a fitting memorial to the many services it commemorates, including of course the memorial to the Submarine Service. Should you wish to visit the arboretum and make use of the bench the address of the arboretum is Croxall Road, Alrewas, Staffordshire, DE13 7AR. The bench is located in the Royal Naval Wood and overlooks the Armed Forces Memorial. The bench reference number which, if given to staff, will enable them to direct you is B - 550. Please note that, although you do not always need to book to go into the grounds of The Arboretum they do recommend booking as there may be limited spaces available on busy days. If you are travelling by car you will almost certainly need to book a parking space as these can be limited at busy times. The arboretum's website can be found at and latest information regarding visits and booking can be found on their website.

People ask us how we became submariners or, more to the point, how did submariners come about. Well, we can now tell you the secret of where submariners came from.

Finally, the truth is shared!

In the beginning was the word, and the word was God and all else was darkness and void and without form. So, God created the heavens and the earth. He created the sun and the moon and the stars, so that their light might pierce the darkness. And the earth, God divided between the land and the sea, and these He filled with many assorted creatures.

And from the slime, in a land called Lympstone, God made dark, salty creatures that inhabited the seashore. He called them Marines or “Booties”, He dressed them accordingly, in bright colours so that their betters may more easily find them in the holes and burrows that they'd scoured out of the ground. And God said, "Whilst at their appointed labours they will devour worms, maggots, C and K rations and all creatures that creep or crawl".

The flighty creatures of the air, He called “Airy Fairies”, and these He clothed in uniforms which were ruffled, perfumed, and pretty. He gave them great floating cities with flat roofs in which to live, where they gathered and formed huge multitudes. They carried out heathen rites and ceremonies by day and by night upon the roof amidst thunderous noise. They were given God's blue sky and their existence was on the backs of others.

And the surface creatures of the sea, God called “Skimmers”, who supported the “Airy Fairies” and with a twinkle in His eye and a sense of humour only He could have, He gave them all junk food and NAAFI shops, polluted with sweeties and much sticky fizzy water to drink. God gave them big grey "Targets" to go to sea in. He gave them many splendid uniforms to wear. And He gave them all the world's exotic and wonderful places to visit. He gave them pen and paper so that they could write home every week, and He gave them rope yarn, Sunday at sea and a laundry so they could clean and polish their splendid uniforms. (When you are God it is very easy to get carried away with your own great and wondrous benevolence).

And on the seventh day, as you know, God rested from his labours.

And on the eighth day at 0755, just before Colours, God looked down upon the earth and He was not a happy man. God knew He had not quite achieved perfection, so He thought about his labours, and in His infinite wisdom, He created a divine creature, His masterpiece, and this He called a Submariner. A child of heaven.

And these Submariners, whom God created in His own image, and to whom He gave his most cherished gift, great intelligence, were to be of the deep, and to them He gave more of his greatest gifts. He gave them black steel messengers of death called the “A”, “O&P”, “V&C”, “S”, “T”, “New A” and Bomber Classes in which to roam the depths of his oceans, and He gave them His arrows and slingshots, the Mark 8 torpedo of burnished brass and blue, and the Tigerfish of green, Sub Harpoon, Spearfish and Tomahawk, and the Polaris and Trident to wage war against the forces of Satan and all evil.  

He heaped great knowledge and understanding upon them, in order that they may more easily win their greatest challenge, to pass their Part III, “Dolphins” Qualification Test, and be skilled in the great works God had charged them with. He gave them roll neck sweaters of the purest white in which to adorn themselves.


The finest of these men, God called "Fleet Boat Submariners" for they made all happen beyond the understanding of other men. He gave His Submariners hotels in which to live when they were exhausted and weary from doing God's will. He gave them fortitude to consume vast quantities of beer and booze, to sustain them in their arduous tasks, performed in His name. He gave them great food, submarine pay and occasionally, subsistence so that they might entertain the Ladies of the "Imps", "Commodore", “Brown Bear” and the "Union Strasse" on Saturday nights and impress the heck out of the creatures He called "Skimmers"  "Airy Fairies" and "Booties".

And at the end of the eighth day, God again looked down upon the earth and saw all was good in His realm. But God was not happy because, in the course of His mighty labours He had forgotten one thing. He had not kept a pair of "Dolphins"  or a white roll neck sweater for Himself. But He thought about it and considered it and finally He consoled himself, in the certain knowledge that - - -

 "Not Just Anybody Can Be a Submariner!"

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