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Israel’s First Submarine Leaves English Base Fully Armed for Combat

December 3, 1959
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israel’s first submarine, the 800-ton “Tanin,” left the British Naval Base in Portsmouth harbor on its 16-day cruise to Israel. The submarine, manned by a full complement of 56 officers and men, was fully armed with thirteen 2,000-pound torpedoes and “ready for combat.”

The day of departure started at 7:30 a. m. when the Tanin’s crew took up stations aboard the vessel while frogmen carefully inspected the hull in what an Israel staff officer called “a customary precautionary measure.”

One hour later, the crew of the sister submarine, the “Rahav,” paraded through the British base carrying Israel’s navy flag and drew up on the pier facing the camouflaged submarine. As the colors were raised on the deck, Seaman Yehouda Haim, a 23-year-old Yemenite cook, intoned in the ship’s galley an informal blessing for the ship’s voyage.

Commander Yosef Dror, captain of the Tanin, arrived on the pier, accompanied by the commanding officer of the British naval base. After inspecting the Rahav crew and a British guard of honor, Commander Dror was piped aboard. Col. Yuval Neeman, the Israel military attache, and Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Sofer, the naval attache, assisted at the ceremony.

Another crew under the command of a lieutenant from Kibbutz Ein Harod, is being trained in England for the final takeover of Rahav, the second submarine purchased from the British. The crew of the Rahav, like the crew of the Tanin, is a true cross-section of Israel’s population. They include Jews from North Africa, Persia, Poland, native-born Israelis, and South Africans. All of them are volunteers.

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