I RECENTLY gave the sad news that the scrapping of the last submarine built by the Scotts’ Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Greenock was nearing completion in Australia.

The submarine was the Otama, one of several Oberon-class craft Scotts’ produced for the Royal Australian Navy.

Launched in 1975, the Otama was the last of its class to be decommissioned worldwide in December, 2000. Various schemes to preserve the submarine were proposed over subsequent years but all failed.

In this month in 1990, Councillor Alan Blair urged Inverclyde District Council to buy the decommissioned Scotts’-built submarine HMS Walrus, which belonged to the Porpoise class, to be the centrepiece of a maritime museum.

The Walrus, launched in 1959 and still in full working condition, was being disposed of by receivers of the debt-ridden company Seaforth Holdings on Humberside.

Councillor Blair’s appeal made front page news in the Telegraph but the following day readers learned if Inverclyde District Council expressed interest in purchasing the Walrus it could face competition from Egypt and Malaysia. The two countries did not want the Walrus as a tourist attraction but to return the submarine to active service.

The Telegraph gave its full support to bringing the Walrus back to where it was built, stating it would be a fitting tribute to the dedicated skill and craftsmanship of the Scotts’ workforce.

Returning the Walrus to Greenock would also be the vital spark to launch the ‘much-talked-about’ maritime museum.

The paper further stated that, as far as it understood, the district council would not face huge costs in obtaining the submarine and making it suitable for viewing by the public.

Greenock did not see the return of the Walrus and the submarine did not enter service with a foreign navy. It was broken up in Grimsby in 1991.

Scotts’ also built the Porpoise-class HMS Cachalot, launched in 1957 and sold for scrapping in 1979.

Today's Talk of the Towns picture caption:

The Southfield Avenue building that housed Port Glasgow’s St Stephen’s High School is pictured in 1974. Now demolished, it was originally the home of Port Glasgow High School.