Recently David Goldfinch, myself and another modelling friend Martin Reid were given the opportunity to go on a tour on the HMAS Rankin, Collins Class submarine.
The week previously David handed me a Showcase Models 1/350 scale HMAS Collins and I got to work that night making the HMAS Rankin. A week later it was all done and the wait for the call up began.
Monday morning the call came and we were slotted in for a 3pm tour. On arrival at the disclosed location we were ushered into the security building and had to fill out some paperwork, hand over our licences and given security passes. We were then met by a crew member and taken to the wharf where we got to see the Rankin up close for the first time. I was totally impressed.
We were given permission to board and stepped on the walkway and onto the hull where we were met by an Officer and given some H & S rules. Next we climbed down the forward hatch and directed to the Officers Wardroom where we met two more Officers, and had a chat while we waited for Commander Doug Theobald to meet us. After a while the Commander came in and greeted us and we had a great chat about the submarine and life onboard. It was a very informative and we learn t a few things. I then presented the Commander with the model which he loved and now sits permanently in the officer’s wardroom onboard the sub. The Commander in turn presented me with a lovely plaque with the submarines badge which made me a very happy guy.
When were finished with the talk we were then assigned a seaman and the tour began. The first thing was to hand over our mobile phones after which we proceeded to be shown through the sub. The tour itself was very comprehensive and we got to see almost the entire submarine except for some highly classified areas. They even let us have a go at using the periscope, which I found to be very cool. Every nook and cranny has something interesting and the bunks are slotted in everywhere. They even have bunks situated underneath the hanging torpedoes; I wouldn’t be that keen on sleeping there as you have this great whopping torpedo hanging just a few feet above your head. The three huge 12 cylinder diesel generators that power the ship are really impressive to see up close. I was amazed to see the galley especially as this tiny area manages to feed a crew of around 60 personnel. Being inside of the sub is not for anyone that suffers from claustrophobia as there is not much room to get around. Some of the areas are really tight and you have to keep watching yourself that you don’t bump into anything important.
Once the tour was finished we picked up our phones, said our goodbyes and disembarked. We were then escorted back to the security area. The time we spent onboard was around an hour and a half but only seemed like 20 minutes had passed. This was an exceptionally awesome experience, and if you are ever given the chance for a tour on one of these subs, take it – you won’t be disappointed. Furthermore I would like to say that the Commander and crew are a great bunch of guys and girls. They were more than happy to answer all our silly questions and made us feel most welcome. It’s great that our shores are protected by these professional dedicated personnel.
By Ian Keizers