Thursday, 6 October 2016


This is a full-size replica of the submarine Resurgam which was built n 1879 by J T Cochrane of Birkenhead and designed by the Reverend George Garrett (1852-1902).

Resurgam was one of the first submarines ever built.  Made of iron and wood she was 45 feet long and weighed 330 tons.  Powered by a closed cycle steam engine she had a crew of three. Trials in Birkenhead docks and at sea showed she did sail and submerge, if only briefly.  This was the first vessel to be successfully propelled mechanically underwater.

In 1880, on her way to Portsmouth for a display to the Royal Navy she sank in a storm 15 miles off Rhyll in N Wales and the wreck was only discovered in 1995.

The model was built in 1997 by AMARC trainees and refurbished in 2009.

Resurgam is Latin for 'I shall rise again' and it sometimes features on gravestones as shown in this one from our recent trip to Dunblane.


  1. I read a book by the daughter of a submarine crewman during WWII and it is harrowing at how primitive they were even then!

  2. I can't imagine being the first ones to get into that vessel and then submerge. I'd be pretty scared. I guess it really didn't rise again but was more like resurrected by the model! I'm thinking my headstone should read: "I shall rise again...and I'm coming after you!" Hehe!

  3. Fascinating! Did the crew die when Resurgam sank in 1880?

    1. After successful trials in the East Float at Wallasey, it was planned that Resurgam should make her way under her own power from Birkenhead to Portsmouth for a demonstration to the Royal Navy. However, during the voyage mechanical problems caused the crew to dock at Rhyl for repairs. Once completed, the crew set sail at night in a high wind, towed by the steam yacht Elphin, which Garrett had bought to act as a tender. The Elphin developed engine problems and the Resurgam's crew transferred to her to assist. Because the entry hatch on the Resurgam could not be fastened from outside, the submarine began to ship water and the tow-rope broke under the added weight, the Resurgam sinking in Liverpool Bay off Rhyl on 25 February 1880.

  4. Makes me think of Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea)...

  5. Those early models of submarines were dangerous and frightening. Maria Von Trapp said that her husband (the Baron) and every member of the crew that served on the submarine he was on in WWI died of lung cancer. They did smoke, but they were also exposed to a great deal of smoke in the submarine itself quite frequently.


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