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Items from The News, Navy News and Warship World are reproduced by kind permission of David Brown, Sarah Fletcher and Steve Bush respectively.  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.


Have you ordered your miniature of the Vernon Monument yet?  It is being sold in a variety of sizes, finishes and prices to raise funds for the planned sculpture at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to celebrate the Minewarfare & Diving heritage of HMS Vernon which previously stood on the site.  'Project Vernon' is officially supported by Portsmouth City Council, Gunwharf Quays, the MCDOA, AORNFCD, MWA, RNCDA and the TCA.  Click here for details.

25 Apr 14 - Funeral of Lt Cdr Kenneth Douglas Kempsell GM RN

 

I am extremely grateful to ex-CD1 John Friar for this account of the late MCDOA member Ken Kempsell's funeral yesterday in Scotland (see entry for 22 Apr 14):

 

"Rob,

 

It was a beautiful sunny day at Douglas Bank cemetery for the funeral of Ken Kempsell and there was a good turnout of relatives and friends.  The diving contingent is shown in this picture.

 

Left to right: Ex-CD1s Stu Grainger and Albert Chapman, ex-LS(D) Andy Lettuce,

 ex-CD1s Alf Slingsby BEM, Leo Wheeler and John Friar, MCDOA member

Alan Bayliss and ex-CD1 Kevin 'Ginge' Reynolds

 

Stu Grainger's wife Anne, Alf Slingsby's wife Yvonne and Alan Bayliss's wife Ella also attended.  I would have thought that a George Medal diver would have had someone from Northern Diving Group attending but maybe that's just me.

 

Ken was piped into the cemetery by his son Ian.

 

 

A humanist ceremony was carried out at the graveside and there was a few laughs at some of the stories of a young Ken.  After the casket was lowered, Ken's grandson James, who was in rig, stood and saluted his grandad,  Ken would have been very proud of him.  A poem was read by Ken's other son (sorry didn't get name) and Ken was laid to rest just down a slope from the war graves section. 

 

Everyone was invited by the family to join them for light refreshment at the Caledonia MoD base (formerly HMS Caledonia).  As everyone was leaving, Ian the piper played Amazing Grace followed by Flower of Scotland.  Ken's wife, Doreen, was really pleased at the diving turnout.

 

Regards,

 

John"

 

My sincere thanks to John and everyone else who represented the Branch as well as themselves at Ken's service.

 


24 Apr 14 - SDUs attend EOD incidents over Easter period

 

The Southend Echo website contains this article describing the disposal, presumably by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2), of several items of ordnance plus suspected aircraft machine guns on Shoebury East Beach in Essex on Easter Sunday (20 April).  This is close to where Cdr John Ouvry DSO RN and CPO Charles Baldwin DSM famously rendered safe a German magnetic mine and exposed its secrets in November 1939.

 

 

The Burnham-on-Sea.com website contains this article describing a call-out, presumably for members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1), to deal with a suspected item of ordnance on the beach at Brean in Somerset on Tuesday (22 April).

 

 


23 Apr 14

 

HMS Quorn flies white ensign at Middle East defence exhibition

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing the participation of HMS Quorn (MCM2 Crew 3), together with RFA Cardigan Bay, in last month's Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX) in Qatar.  The article features AB(MW) Connah “Bungy” Williams. 

 

Members of HMS Quorn's ship's company at DIMDEX 2014

(RN website photo) 

 


HMS Blyth plucks dinghy sailors from the sea

 

The Navy News website contains this article describing how HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew ?) rescued two dinghy sailors who had capsized off Ailsa Craig in the Irish Sea.  The ship was on passage to join Standing NATO MCM Group 2 (SNMCMG2) for a three-month deployment in the Mediterranean.

 

Capsized dinghy sailors rescued by HMS Blyth

(Navy News photo)

 


HDS Diving Museum update

 

 

MCDOA associate member Dr John Bevan, Chairman of the Historical Diving Society (HDS), has provided this update about the Diving Museum in No.2 Battery at Stokes Bay and the WWII bunker in Gosport that houses the Society's library and museum reserve collection:

 

"VISITORS

 

Despite suffering all four seasons over Easter (several times), we managed 93 visitors over the four days.  Thanks to Guides Jim Thomson, John Dadd, Dusty Miller, Martin Marks, Mike Dear and Ann Bevan.

 

One visitor (and HDS member) turned out to be the great grandson of James Mearns of Siebe Gorman & Co Ltd (Barry Porter).

 

DONATION


Thank you to N Dodds who donated a Siebe Gorman standard knife with sheath and belt.

 

EXHIBIT

 

The six-bolt standard diver is now fitted with an injector set for deep diving.  [By Webmaster: A similar rig was used by the late MCDOA member George Wookey MBE when he dived to 600 ft (183 m) from HMS Reclaim in Sørfjorden on 12 October 1956 and broke the world deep diving record.  See HMS Reclaim - A World Record Breaker in the website's 'Dit Box'.]

 

 

SIGN

 

The outside Gosport Borough Council sign has been cleaned up following a vandal attack.  We hope to install an illustrated sign soon.

 

 

BUNKER

 

Nigel Phillips had done a fantastic job on the wood floor in the WVS room.  Rumour has it that Strictly Come Dancing are thinking of holding an event there.  Watch this space for the installation of the new bookshelves, courtesy of Mike Fardell.

 

 

ROLLS

 

This week's competition is to work out what the Rolls was doing outside the Museum.  Answer will be revealed next week.

 

 

MUSEUM AT NIGHT - DIVERS AT WAR!

 

Come along for this spectacular event, 9-10pm on Saturday, 17 May and bring your friends!  Margaret Marks is producing a special film to project on the evening.  Special effects are planned, with appearances of the ghosts of John Deane, William Walker and Buster Crabb!!  Real Clearance Divers will risk defuzing a large bomb ...!

 

JohnB"

 

The HDS Museum is now open again at weekends following its winter closed period.  It relies on a handful of volunteer guides, at least two but ideally three of whom need to be on site when it is open for business at weekends during the summer.  If you live locally and can spare the odd few hours, please contact John Bevan via this email address or call him on 078 0278 5050.  You will then be given access to the online roster to fill in your own dates as and when you are available.  You don't have to be an HDS member to get involved in this or any other way.

 


22 Apr 14 - Arrangements for the funeral of Lt Cdr Kenneth Douglas Kempsell GM RN

 

Ex-CD1 John Friar has informed me that Ken Kempsell's funeral will take place this Thursday (24 April) at 0945 at Douglas Bank Cemetery, Pattiesmuir, Dunfermline, KY11 3ES near the former HMS Caledonia.  Johnny will be there with fellow ex-CD1 Albert Chapman and it seems that Kevin 'Ginge' Reynolds and Leon Wheeler may also put in an appearance.  I would appreciate it if someone would provide a brief account of the service for publication on the website.

 

I am appending tributes to Ken to the entry for 20 Apr 14 as I receive them.

 


21 Apr 14 - Soapy and his epic Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race

 

I have received this announcement from Richard 'Soapy' Watson, our intrepid Honorary Secretary:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

I am very disappointed to report that we had to retire from the race!  Not without a fight and it was definitely a decision that Mark Campbell and I thought long and hard about.

 

We really pushed hard along the course and were on for a sub-23 hour.  Conditions along the course were good and we averaged 5.5mph.  After a 10 min food stop at Reading (54 miles) we moved onto the Thames.  It must have been around 0300 and we were paddling along a very rural part of the Thames when, unfortunately, we turned over!  After a 200m swim in the cold Thames and then a scramble up a muddy bank we were able to sort the boat out and put on our emergency dry clothing!  This put an hour on our time!

 

We never really recovered from the dip and, as we were very likely going to miss our tidal window at Teddington, we reluctantly made the decision at Pentland Hook near Staines to retire.  We had been going for 19 hours 54 mins and travelled 93miles, so near to the end.

 

Sorry that I have let people down, but this is an epic event and I have great admiration for the people who complete it.  A big thank you to our support team: WO Brian Jacobs and wife Jan, my wife Suzanne and friend Tracey Malkin, Lt Cdr Hugh Maddison, Dan and Simon.  Not forgetting Mark Campbell my paddle partner who jumped into the seat at short notice!

 

Thank you to all that have sponsored the two worthy causes!

 

Regards,

 

Soapy"

 

So near and yet so far; only 32 miles from the finish line.  I am sure we all appreciate the Herculanean efforts of Soapy and Mark and wish them better fortune next time.  Well done guys and thank you.

 


20 Apr 14

 

Death of Lt Cdr Kenneth Douglas Kempsell GM RN

 

Ken Kempsell (on the left) in typical pose

at the MCDOA Annual Dinner in 2002

 

I have received the sad news from MCDOA member David Edwards that fellow member Ken Kempsell died peacefully on Thursday morning (17 April) in the presence of his family.  He was 83.

 

Ken was gazetted here for the award of the George Medal in November 1963 while 2 I/C of the then Rosyth-based Scotland & Northern Ireland Clearance Diving Team (SNICDT).  This was the citation:

 

"On 15th August 1963 an explosion occurred in a Torpedo Ready-Use Store killing two men and severely damaging the building.  The reinforced concrete roof was brought down upon the ready use stock of torpedoes and warheads, crushing them and activating at least ten batteries so that the whole was in an extremely dangerous condition.

 

It was judged too dangerous to try and remove the torpedoes and warheads from the debris and, on 16th August, Lieutenant Kempsell led the team which placed sixteen demolition charges against the battery compartments of the torpedoes, some of which by this time were hissing and bubbling and were hot to the touch.  Great difficulty was experienced in gaining access to the battery compartments of many of the torpedoes and considerable ingenuity was necessary to get the demolition charges correctly spaced.

 

Lieutenant Kempsell did his work with great skill and courage and his efforts resulted in a most effective demolition operation."

 

Ken Kempsell (sitting third from left) at the 2003 MCDOA AGM

at Fleet Diving HQ on Horsea Island

 

Ken's later naval career comprised:

 

1967 Staff Officer at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
1968 XO of HMS Abdiel (Exercise minelayer and MCM command & support ship).
1969-70 CO of HMS Nurton (Ton class minehunter).
1970-71 HMS Cochrane, Rosyth.
1972-73 Exchange appointment with the Royal Australian Navy.
1974-75 Admiral Commanding Reserves as Staff Officer Tay Division RNR.
1976-78 CO of HMS Reclaim, the RN's deep diving trials ship.  I helped host Ken and his rambunctious XO, the late MCDOA member George Dance, at a riotous RPC on board HMS Wilton during the 1977 Silver Jubilee Review at Spithead.
1979 Flag Officer Scotland & Northern Ireland as Staff Officer Clyde Division RNR and Commanding Officer HMS Peterel (Bird class patrol vessel).
1980 CO of HMS Hodgeston (Ton class minesweeper).
1981-1986 Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland as the last Resident Naval Officer (RNO) Invergordon and Queen's Harbour Master (QHM) Cromarty.  He subsequently bought his official residence when the MoD put it on the market.

 

 

Ken Kempsell standing front and centre at the 2007 MCDOA Northern Dinner

in HMS Neptune at Faslane

 

In July 2008, Ken attended the passing-out parade of his trainee Air Engineering Technician (AET) grandson James at HMS Raleigh as described in this article on the Plymouth Herald website.  Ken's son Ian (James's father) was a Lt Cdr serving at HMS Raleigh at the time.

 

Ken Kempsell (sitting fourth from left) at the 2012 MCDOA Northern Dinner

in HMS Neptune at Faslane

 

A proudly forthright Scotsman with a twinkle in his eye, Ken was an active member of the MCDOA although he understandably chose to attend the Northern Dinner at Faslane in recent years rather than travel from Limekilns to Portsmouth for the main event.  I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our sincere condolences to his widow Doreen and his other family members, friends and former colleagues.  I will publish funeral arrangements as and when they become available.

 


From MCDOA member Chris Davies, newly moved to Australia:

 

"Rob,

 

Thanks for the most recent news from the UK, even if it is rather sad.  Obviously I am unable to make the funeral but please pass on my condolences if you attend on behalf of the Association.

 

Regards,

 

Chris Davies"

 


From MCDOA member Phil Ireland DSC:

 

"Rob,

 

Very saddened to hear of Ken's passing.  I enjoyed his company at quite a number of Northern dinners, more often than not alongside his drinking companion 'Uncle' Alan Bayliss.  And I echo Topsy's recollection of Ken's great repertoire of hugely entertaining dits.  A brave diver and real gentleman. 

 

Would you be so kind as to pass on my condolences to his family and many friends.

 

Best Regards,

 

Phil"

 


From MCDOA member John O'Driscoll MBE:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

So sad to read about the death of Ken Kempsell.  I last saw him in 1981 when I was in Invergordon as a Coastguard Inspector.  As ever he was full of life and obviously liked and respected by everyone who knew him.  He was referred to as the local Laird.

 

A very special man who brought a feeling of fun and good fellowship to everyone he met.  Evergreen memories.

 

Yours Aye,

 

John"

 


From MCDOA member Peter Waddington:

 

"Rob,

 

Sad news about Ken.  He will be greatly missed.

 

My only professional contacts with him were when I took over from him as First Lieutenant of HMS Abdiel and SMCDO to MCM1, and thereafter while I was in that appointment and he was one of the Squadron COs, in HMS NURTON.   I particularly remember the patience with which he turned over the detail of mine prepping and minelaying, of which I had had no prior experience, and his cheerful and friendly relationship with the Squadron Staff when in command of NURTON.  

 

Socially, he was a real "live wire" and always great pleasure to be with.  I think the first sentence of "Topsy" Turner's comments is particularly apt.  

 

My sincere condolences to Doreen, whom I have not met for many years, but whom I remember as the delightful other half of a charming couple.

 

Peter"

 


From MCDOA past-Vice Chairman Jon Riches:

 

"Rob,

 

I was so sorry to hear of Ken's death.  He was one of the stalwarts of the Branch and one for whom I had the utmost respect.

 

I first met Ken in 1967 when he was Ist Lt of HMS ABDIEL in Lochinvar.  I was then a very newly qualified MCDO and Ist Lt of BRONINGTON.  I ran into him frequently after that at various MCD functions.  The last time I saw him was with John Rayner when we called into Invergordon on our way to catch a flight at Inverness.  Always the gentleman and pleased to see you.

 

A sad loss but he had a good and eventful innings. A great character whom it was a privilege to know.

 

My condolences to Doreen and the family.

 

Jon"

 


From MCDOA ex-Honorary Secretary David 'Topsy' Turner in New Zealand:

 

"Rob,

 

Let me tell you - the George Medal recipients' bar in diver heaven is just about to get a whole lot noisier and far more entertaining!

 

I first met Ken when visiting Cromarty with HMS LEDBURY.  I was XO at the time and distinctly recall Ken regaling us all with his ripping yarns and legendary tales as his two West Highland Whities (I think) danced around his ankles.  His love for all things Scottish was very clear to me even then, and looking across the Cromarty Firth I could see why.

 

I then lost track of Ken until about 2000.  He popped up when I started to drive a mini bus to the MCDOA Annual Dinner in Portsmouth for those who were finding it hard to attend from north of the border.  On our inaugural journey south we had Ken, Uncle Alan (Bayliss), Harry (Parker) and WO(D) Andy Brunton.  We picked up Nigel Butterworth somewhere on the M6 on the way down.  The dinner was a roaring success and the Saturday morning drive back north came around all too soon.  I was the sensible one and turned in at a reasonable hour knowing I had to drive, but I recall Ken pushing through to the early wee hours.  He had an enormous constitution and didn't look any worse for wear the following morning.

 

We had decided to break up our journey north by staying at a hotel close to where Nigel lived (Burnley??) where there was a Roy Orbison tribute night in full flow.  Ken and I shared a room - we also shared the bottle of Teachers and soda he always seemed to have with him, so by the time we got around to singing 'Pretty Woman' we were ready for anything!  The journey back to Ken's home in Limekilns the following morning was unforgettable.  Ken never stopped talking and joking and plying me with stories and tales from the moment we left the hotel car park until we pulled up outside his house.  He may have stopped momentarily to draw breath and reverently utter a short prayer as we passed the border back into his beloved Scotland but that would be it!  Doreen was clearly delighted to have him home safely and after a cuppa tea and a bun whilst looking out across the River Forth from their lounge I was on my way home to Kinnesswood (Kinross).

 

A couple of years later I started the MCDOA (North) Dinner which meant that my driving days were over and Ken could get a taxi home - he would still be the last to leave the bar though - bless him.

 

A true gentleman, old-fashioned officer and an unforgettable character - 5 Bells received and understood Ken.

 

Yours Aye,

 

Topsy"

 


From MCDOA member Dougie MacDonald:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Very sorry to hear about Ken.  He and Hamish Loudon introduced me to the branch.  Ken was the Staff Officer at Tay when we went on a West Coast diving cruise (all you can eat crabs, lobbies, scollies, and mussels).  I shared a cabin with Ken and his son while Lt Cdr Ewan Fairburn RNR commanded the ship.  Happy times.  Luckily I left Clyde before he joined.  He then sent me round again when I berthed at Invergordon!!! 

 

The branch seemed to have a monopoly up North with Ken and Mike Bull!  A gentleman, I'll miss him.

 

My sympathy to his family.

 

D"

 

By Webmaster: After leaving the RN, Ken's fellow MCDOA member Mike Bull (an old family friend of mine) was GNXO Inverness at the same time as Ken was RNO Invergordon.  As Dougie intimates and I know from my time as SOO MCM3 in the mid-1980s (Dougie was SOO MCM1 during the same period), Mike and Ken Kempsell always ensured that visiting ships were given a warm welcome, helped no doubt by the fact that the city's Provost had been lifted from the Dunkirk beaches by the RN and remained eternally grateful thereafter.

 


From MCDOA member Dave Forsey:

 

"Rob,

 

Sad to hear of the passing of Ken.  We served together on the staff at BRNC Dartmouth and his enthusiastic encouragement played a great part in my decision to transfer to the newly-formed MCD branch.

 

Dave"

 


From MCDOA member Steve Gobey:

 

"Rob,

 

Sad news indeed.  Ken was the Diving Officer at Dartmouth when I was there as an Upper Yardy.  His influence played a significant part in my decision to pursue the MCDO route.

 

Sally and I later took over the Australian Exchange job from Doreen and Ken.  He had got the post changed from a Lt Cdr to a Lt as he could see that the RAN Diving Branch really needed a more junior exchange officer who could be better employed and be more hands on.  Thanks to his foresight, in my two and a bit wonderful years there I experienced diving and EOD training, diving tender driving (ex-inshore minesweepers) and CO of CDT1!

 

STAN's Navy [NATO's MCM Group STANAVFORCHAN - Standing Naval Force Channel] made a visit to Invergordon when I was SOO in 81/82 and Ken made sure we were well looked after.  I remember him saying, "Tell everyone it's a rig-run."  How right he was!  It was also good to have a friendly contact at Inver G when I was later FOSNI SMCDO.

 

I last saw Ken at a Northern Dinner some years ago.  I remember him being very pleased with himself as he had just bought a shiny new Jag!

 

I will always have great respect and fond memories of Ken.  Please pass Sally's and my sincere condolences to Doreen and family.

 

Steve"

 


From MCDOA member Geoff Goodwin:

 

"Very sorry to hear Ken Kempsell has died.  He represented the finest professional traditions of the MCD branch.

 

Please pass on my sympathy to family and friends.

 

G"

 


From MCDOA member Bob Hawkins MBE in Singapore:

 

"Dear Rob,

 

So very sad to hear of the death of Ken Kempsell GM, who became a friend through our mutual connection with the Northern Dinner.  Also, I was fortunate to be able to call him a professional colleague in that he was QHM and RNO Invergordon in 1985 when he commissioned SNICDT to locate and dispose of a sunken Sunderland aircraft lying in the way of a planned mooring for an offshore installation being placed in Cromarty Firth for maintenance.  

 

I was lucky enough to follow in his footsteps as 2 I/C SNICDT (becoming SNICDU during my time on the team) and I detailed myself off for this particular U/W Dems task.  It was an honour and a privilege to work for and alongside this luminary member of our Branch, albeit on one, brief occasion.  

 

On a social note the highlight of my time as the Chairman of the Northern Dinner was to get Ken and my father-in-law Jock Masson (GM awarded for IEDD work in Palestine 1947) together as special guests in February 2005.

 

My sincerest condolences to his family.  

 

RIP Ken GM.

 

Yours Aye,

 

Bob"

 


From MCDOA member Bob Lusty:

 

"Thank you Rob,

 

Ken was great company and we had a very uplifting session at his last MCDOA dinner in Portsmouth.

 

Bob Lusty"

 


From Cdr Pat Barron RNR (ex-Clyde and Tay Divisions RNR):

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Sorry to hear such sad news.  Any idea of funeral arrangements? 

 

Your potted biography did not mention that Ken was Staff Officer to two Scottish RNR Divisions: Tay (just before Reclaim) and Clyde (just after Reclaim).

 

Regards,

 

Pat"

 

By Webmaster: I have now added these details of Ken's naval career.

 


From MCDOA past-Chairman David Sandiford:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

I had the pleasure to serve under Ken in both HMS NURTON and HMS RECLAIM and have fond memories of a good man to work for.  In particular I remember his fine handling of RECLAIM in tight berths and strong winds.  He was a good teacher and there were few dull moments.

 

I remember a visit he and his fellow travellers in a bar-hopping speed boat paid to HMS CHIDDINGFOLD when we were anchored in Loch Fyne one summer weekend - 1985 I think.  Good days for all!!

 

Please pass my condolences to his family.

 

Kind Regards,

 

David"

 


SNMCMG1 Prepares for Baltic Deployment

 

The NATO website contains this article announcing the assembly of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) at Kiel in Germany in preparation for its next deployment in the Baltic.  SNMCMG1 units will comprise the Norwegian support vessel HNoMS Valkyrien as flagship, the Dutch minehunter HNLMS Makkum, the Belgian minehunter BNS Bellis, the Norwegian minesweeper HNoMS Otra and the Estonian minehunter ENS Admiral Cowan (ex-HMS Sandown).  The Baltic deployment will include participation in the Latvian-sponsored Partnership for Peace (PfP) Operation OPEN SPIRIT which will involve clearance of historic ordnance from the First and Second World Wars.

 

SNMCMG1 assembling in Kiel

(NATO photo)

 

The article also includes the assumption of Command of SNMCMG1 by Cdr Eirik Otterbu RNoN during a brief meeting with Vice Adm Peter Hudson, Commander NATO Allied Maritime Command, at Northwood Headquarters.  Members will recall that Vice Adm Hudson, a staunch friend of the RN MCM community, was the principal guest at our Annual Dinner last November.

 

Cdr Eirik Otterbu RNoN with Vice Adm Peter Hudson CBE

at NATO Maritime Command HQ, Northwood

(NATO photo)

 


19 Apr 14 - Soapy and Mark's 125 mile 24 hour paddle

 

The MCDOA's intrepid Honorary Secretary, Richard 'Soapy' Watson, started the 125 mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race with his paddling partner Mark Campbell this morning.  Fellow MCDOA member Alan Padwick OBE, who conveniently lives on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Devizes, has supplied these early reports:

 

Received at 0931:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Fresh from the start line half an hour ago.  Here is our team ready to go:

 

     

Left: Alan Padwick flanked by Soapy Watson and Mark Campbell

Right: Mark and Soapy flanked by their support team

 

There will be more pictures when they pass my garden in an hour from now.

 

Yours,

 

Alan"

 


Received at 1047:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Here is my second instalment as Soapy and Mark passed my garden.  They are still looking pretty cheerful at this stage (although they have only been going for five minutes!).

 

     

 

 

       

 

The weather is certainly a lot better than last year when early paddlers had to break the ice.

 

Good luck to the team.

 

Yours,

 

Alan"

 

Soapy and Mark are raising money for Parkinsons UK and Project Vernon, the campaign to erect a monument at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to celebrate the minewarfare & diving heritage of HMS Vernon which previously stood on the site.  Their waypoint times and geographic position (Crew 304) can be checked here and here respectively and you can still support them in their endeavour here:

 

 Soapy and Mark's sponsorship page on Virgin Money Giving.  If temporarily unavailable, try the direct donations page here.

 


18 Apr 14 - Death of Dr Tom Hennessy

 

I am grateful to MCDOA associate member Surg Cdre Jim Sykes for this notification:

 

"Rob,

 

See today's DT death notices with regard to the death of Tom Hennessy.  As well as developing the BSAC tables, he worked with Tom Shields on the trimix trials and other MCM diving schedules.  He also worked on very deep saturation experimental decompression.

 

He was a stalwart of RNPL scientists.

 

Regards,

 

Jim"

 

This is the death notice concerned: 

 

HENNESSY. - THOMAS RICHARD PhD, mathematical scientist and author of 1988 BSAC Diving Tables, died at the Heart Hospital, London on Palm Sunday 13th April 2014, aged 73.  Having been ill for 30 years, he underwent his third and final heart operation with great courage but it was not to be.

 

He leaves behind a wife Deborah, two daughters Marina and Claire, two sons-in-law Matthew Palmer and Robert Sharp and five beautiful grandchildren Anna, Jemima, Edward, Tallulah and Clementine.

 

Funeral at 11:15 a.m. on Friday 9th May in the St Richard's Chapel, Surrey & Sussex Crematorium, Crawley, RH10 3NQ.  Family flowers only, no black to be worn.  Donations, if desired, to the British Heart Foundation c/o Ballard & Shortall, Funeral Directors, 1 Wellington Street, Horsham, RH12 1DD. 

 

A Memorial Service to be announced at a later date.

 

Tom Hennessy collaborated with the late Dr Val Hempleman (see second entry for 30 Oct 06 in News Archive 16) for much of his work aimed at increasing possible diving depths while preventing the onset of decompression sickness.  Like many others, I acted as a guinea pig for the 90 metre trimix wet trials he conducted at RNPL's DTU (Deep Triais Unit) at Alverstoke in 1979.

 

I am sure all members of the diving community at large, and RN divers in particular, will join me in extending our sincere condolences to Dr Tom's family, friends and former colleagues.

 


17 Apr 14 - SDU1 deals with grenade in Dorset

 

The Daily Mirror contains this article and the BBC News website this article describing Monday's disposal, presumably by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1), of a hand grenade found on the beach at Charmouth in Dorset.  Incredibly, a tourist handed the grenade in at the busy Heritage Centre!

 

 

     

 


16 Apr 14

 

Royal Navy begins testing ‘remote controlled minehunter’

 

I am grateful to Richard Hargreaves, the News Editor of Navy News, for drawing my attention to this article describing trials being conducted by the Portsmouth-based Maritime Autonomous System Trials Team (MASTT).  The trials involve testing a remote-controlled  ARCMIS, designed by Atlas Elektronik UK of Winfrith and built by ICE Marine of Farborough.  The vessel is called 'Hazard' (named after the seventh HMS Hazard?) and is the 'mother ship' for an assortment of hi-tech remote-controlled and robot submersibles.  Modified versions of the same systems are being investigated as part of the future Mine Countermeasures and Hydrographic Capability programme (formerly the MHPC project).

 

The article features MWO Lt Cdr Jacqueline 'Jack' McWilliams RN (OIC of MASTT) and CPO(MW) Colin Dumbleton.  Jack was previously XO of the Defence Diving School (DDS) on Horsea Island. 

 

RN Trials Vessel 'Hazard' at speed in the Solent

 

Ocean Modules Intervention V8 M500 ROV being readied for deployment 

 

Kongsberg Maritime REMUS 100 AUV being recovered

 

Royal Navy images by LA(Phot) Nicky Wilson of FRPU East.  Navy News will publish a comprehensive article in its May issue.

 

Post script: On 17 April, the Portsmouth News published this article covering the same story.

 


Recent EOD Incidents

 

The ITV website contains this article, including video, describing yesterday's disposal by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of what looks suspiciously like an ASW Mortar Mk 10 (Limbo) projectile on the beach at St Thomas Head near Kewstoke on the Somerset coast. 

 

 

The article and videos feature PO(D) Mark 'Jan' Cocking.

 

 


The Western Morning News website contains this article and the Exeter Express & Echo website this article describing the collection, presumably by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1), of a hand grenade from outside Exeter city centre offices.

 

 


The Isle of Wight County Press website contains this article describing the disposal, presumably by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2), of ten Second World War shells found in dredged gravel at an aggregates yard at Medina Wharf on the Isle of Wight.

 


Three Men in a Boat

 

Readers may or may not be interested in learning that the MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio of Barlow, Holloway and Hoole returned to the water yesterday on board Barlow's yacht 'Dougout' and enjoyed a marvellous sail in ideal conditions from Thornham Marina in Chichester Harbour to the boat's summer berth at HMS Excellent's marina on Whale Island.  The trio was accompanied by their occasional deckhand, recently retired Captain Dean Molyneaux OBE RN. 

 

Hoole, Barlow and Holloway enjoying the sun and sea breeze off Eastney

 

Molyneaux and Holloway chatting while proceeding up Portsmouth Harbour

 

Safely arrived at Whale Island

 


HDS Diving Museum update

 

 

MCDOA associate member Dr John Bevan, Chairman of the Historical Diving Society (HDS), has provided this update about the Diving Museum in No.2 Battery at Stokes Bay and the WWII bunker in Gosport that houses the Society's library and museum reserve collection:

 

"We were honoured with a visit by [MCDOA member] Lt Cdr David Bartlett RN Retd on Saturday who presented us with a copy of the certificate "to the Ministry of Culture, Arab Republic of Egypt, by the Royal Navy to mark the successful completion of the work undertaken by the joint Royal Navy and Egyptian Navy Team in the recovery of the Philae Monuments between October 1976 and April 1978.  The monuments included the remains of the Temple of Augustus Caesar which was submerged by the building of the two dams at Aswan."

 

John Bevan, Dorothy Bartlett, David Bartlett

 and former FCPO(D) John Dadd BEM

 

The HDS Museum is now open again at weekends following its winter closed period.  It relies on a handful of volunteer guides, at least two but ideally three of whom need to be on site when it is open for business at weekends during the summer.  If you live locally and can spare the odd few hours, please contact John Bevan via this email address or call him on 078 0278 5050.  You will then be given access to the online roster to fill in your own dates as and when you are available.  You don't have to be an HDS member to get involved in this or any other way. 

 


15 Apr 14

 

Judo

 

MCDOA member Mark Shaw has temporarily given up his dry bag for a Judo uniform.  The former OIC of Fleet Diving Unit 2 (FDU2) and Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) has been released by the Royal Navy for seven months to train full time in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games this summer in Glasgow.  He is currently training in Walsall at the British Judo Centre of Excellence, a bespoke Judo training facility where the nation's best fighters are based.

 

He is hopeful of gaining the heavyweight position for Wales when team selections are made at the end of April and will be sending regular updates about his progress over the next few months.

 

Lt Cdr Mark Shaw RN

 

I am confident all members will join me in wishing Mark every success in his forthcoming contests.

 


Canoeing

 

Readers are reminded that the MCDOA's intrepid Honorary Secretary, Richard 'Soapy' Watson, will be participating in the 125 mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race with Mark Campbell this weekend.  They are raising money for Parkinsons UK and Project Vernon, the campaign to erect a monument at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to celebrate the minewarfare & diving heritage of HMS Vernon which previously stood on the site.

 

Soapy and Mark training at Dreweatts Lock, Marsh Benham last month

 

You can sponsor Soapy and Mark in their endeavour here:

 

Soapy and Mark's sponsorship page on Virgin Money Giving 

 


Kayaking

 

Soapy has also passed me this request received via the Conference of Naval Associations (CONA) which the MCDOA has just joined:

 

"Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Could any of your members assist please?

 

Richard Hunt is a Royal Navy veteran amputee who is attempting to kayak around the entire coast of the UK in aid of BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association) a distance of some 2300 miles.  Would any CONA Members be able to help out by providing an offer of overnight accommodation to Richard and his support team during ‘The Great Paddle Round’ attempt.  They also require volunteer drivers for the support team, for a ten day period, commencing this Thursday roughly between Bridport and Looe.

 

If you can help, please contact Richard via:

 

07872921880 or this email address

 

 or contact Nick via:

 

07849 834860  or this email address.

 

Richard Hunt and his kayak

 

For further information, please click on this link:

 

The Great Paddle Round

 

Thank you,

 

Andy

 

Andy Christie

CONA Secretary

RNA HQ Room 209

Semaphore Tower

PP70 HM Naval Base

Portsmouth PO1 3LT

02392 720782 9380 20782"

 


14 Apr 14 - MCDOA members run in the London Marathon

 

Congratulations to MCDOA members Ben Stait (2 hrs 59 mins), Paul McDermott (3 hrs 29 mins) and his daughter Katie (3 Hrs 59 mins), and Al Nekrews and his wife Em (3 hrs 45 mins for both) on completing the London Marathon yesterday.

 

Results for all runners can be found at:

 

London Marathon 2014 Results

 


From MCDOA member Al Nekrews QGM:

 

"Rob,

 

Many thanks for sponsoring Emma and me in support of the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's Association (BLESMA).  We both completed the London Marathon in 3hrs 45mins and celebrated with a few cold beers in the sun!  We are well on the way to raising £2,000 for BLESMA and would like to thank everyone for their support.

 

Al and Em Nekrews in BLESMA shirts

 

I was really pleased with our time until I saw your message that Ben Stait finished the marathon in sub 3hrs!  BZ!  

 

Kind regards,

 

Al"

 

I am also grateful to Mark Terry for this photo of MCDOA member Paul McDermott running with panache in the London Marathon:

 

Paul McDermott wearing the red and green hoops 

 


13 Apr 14 - RN Minewarfare & Diving Heritage: Diving Training in Vernon Creek in 1952

 

I am grateful to WO(D) Dan Archer for drawing my attention to this You Tube video which shows divers undergoing training in 1952 in Vernon Creek at HMS Vernon, now the residential, shopping and marina development in Portsmouth known as Gunwharf Quays:

 

Pathé News: Taxi Divers (1952)

 

 

Note the presence of HMS Deepwater on Maintenance Jetty, visible on the right of the freeze frame image.  She was the former German torpedo trials ship and seaplane carrier Walter Holtzapfel, a war-prize used as the Royal Navy's deep diving tender from March 1946 until replaced by HMS Reclaim in June 1948 (see HMS Reclaim - A World Record-Breaker in the website's Dit Box).  Thereafter, she served as HMS Vernon's floating diving school until scrapped in 1960. 

 

HMS Deepwater as the RN's deep diving tender

 

The two vessels on Marlborough Pier, one of which is visible on the left of the freeze frame image, are Second World War Miner class coastal minelayers used by HMS Vernon for trials and training until replaced with HMS Nightingale and HMS Vesuvius (ex-HMS Skylark, ex-HMS Vernon) in 1955 (see entry for 4 Oct 08 in News Archive 24).

 


12 Apr 14

 

Three Men in a Boat

 

The MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio of Barlow, Holloway and Hoole took advantage of yesterday's spring sunshine to refloat Barlow's yacht 'Dougout', scrub her hull and upperworks and re-rig her sails.  Our next task is to sail her from Thornham Marina to her summer berth at Whale Island ready for the new season.

 

Barlow and Holloway with the new improved 'Dougout'

 


MCDOA President participates in landmark ceremony

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing the participation of MCDOA President, Cdre Paddy McAlpine OBE ADC, newly installed as Commodore Portsmouth Flotilla (COMPORFLOT - webpage not yet updated), in a ceremony formally affiliating the City of Portsmouth with the 41 ships comprising the Portsmouth Flotilla.

 

 Vice Admiral David Steel (Second Sea Lord) and the

leader of Portsmouth City Council signing a special

scroll with Paddy McAlpine standing third right

(RN website photo)

 


RAN CDT3 Service in Vietnam

 

I have received this message from ex-Royal Australian Navy CD Tony Ey:

 

"G’day Rob,

 

I contacted you several months ago about a book I’ve published on RAN CDT3’s service in Vietnam called ‘Can Do Easy’ [see entry for 16 Jul 13 in News Archive 43].  I thought some of your members may be interested.  It is in fact about Jake Linton’s team.

 

 

 

It is now available in both paperback and Kindle:

 

 Amazon: 'Can Do Easy' by Tony Ey

 

 Cheers,

 

 Tony Ey"

 

MCDOA member Cdr Jake Linton BEM RAN was a founding member of the RAN Clearance Diver branch and is the Patron of the RAN CD Association (RANCDA).  His story, including his exchange service with the RN and USN, can be found in 'A Clearance Diving Experience' in the website's 'Dit Box'.

 

Tony Ey, author and founder of the RANCDA website, is one of three brothers who were all Clearance Divers in the RAN.  Sadly, his brother Dave died in 2007 but I hosted his other brother, Mick, when he visited the UK the following year (see entry for 11 Jun 08 in News Archive 22).  Tony tells me that his son is now a serving CD and he doubts his family's record will ever be beaten.  

 


11 Apr 14

 

MCD Promotions

 

I have received this message from MCDOA member Dave Hunkin OBE:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

A small grumble if I may as I feel we may be letting our younger brethren down:

 

Last night I was enjoying a beer in Singapore with John Giddens when Al Nekrews phoned to tell me that Ollie Alexander and Neil Marriott had been selected for promotion to Cdr - fantastic I thought!   And yet, I don't see it on the website today when I got back to the UK so clearly you have not been told.

 

C'mon chaps, we must all do better in supporting our young blades who continue the fight on the front line on our behalf.   Huge congratulations to both especially Neil who was inexplicably asked to revert to Lt Cdr despite having just been an operational MCM Sqn Cdr in the Gulf and also to Ollie, the first non-PWO SO1 for quite some time.  Both are huge achievements, both are deserving of our heartfelt congratulations.  

 

Sorry to be grumpy old bugger of Suffolk but these two have done particulalry well as I'm sure you will agree,

 

Best wishes,

 

Dave Hunkin"

 

MCDOA member Neil Marriott has informed me that fellow MCDOA members Tim Davey and Si Kelly were also on today's signal.  MCDOA member John Craig has also pointed out that the selections include at least three former/current MCMV COs: Sandown Class - Tony Crabb; Hunt Class - Charles Maynard and Eleanor Stack.

 

Hearty congratulations to all concerned.

 


HMS Brocklesby homecoming

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article (including video of an interview with MCDOA member Greg Powell) and the Royal Navy website this article describing this morning's homecoming of HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 1 commanded until last week by MCDOA member Ben Vickery) following her three-month deployment in the Mediterranean with Standing NATO MCM Group 2 (SNMCMG2).

 

HMS Brocklesby steaming up harbour

(RN website photo)

 

The articles feature Ben, who handed over Command to Lt Cdr John Cromie in Gibraltar on the way home, as well as fellow MCDOA member Greg Powell (XO), PO(MW) James 'Soapy' Watson and AB(D) Ben Gaskell.

 

Greg Powell on the bridge wing

(RN website photo)

 

I am sure that all members of our community wish Ben and his former ship's company an enjoyable leave. 

 


10 Apr 14

 

HMS Brocklesby returning to Portsmouth

 

According to QHM Portsmouth's shipping movements, HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 1 formerly commanded by MCDOA member Ben Vickery) is due to pass Outer Spit Buoy inbound for Portsmouth at around 0900 tomorrow (Friday) morning following her three-month deployment in the Mediterranean with Standing NATO MCM Group 2 (SNMCMG2).

 


A message from Al and Em Nekrews

 

Al and Em Nekrews

 

The following message is from MCDOA member Al Nekrews, awarded the QGM last year for his services as a High Threat IEDD operator in Afghanistan (see entry for 13 Jun 13 in News Archive 42), and his wife Em:

 

"As many of you know, we have taken part in various events over the last few years to raise money for the British Limbless Ex-Sevice Men's Association (BLESMA).   This is a charity very close to our hearts and this year we are both running in the London Marathon to help this amazing cause.  We would be very grateful if you could donate to our page to help our wounded warriors.

 

Many thanks in advance of your generosity.

 

Al & Em"

 

Sponsor Al and Em in their demanding challenge for an excellent cause here on Virgin Money Giving:

 

Al & Em Nekrews's fundraising page

 


9 Apr 14 - MCDOA Curry Run in London

 

MCDOA member Andy 'Sharkey' Ward is organising another gathering for fellow members in London on Thursday 26 June.  The standard format is a few pints of fine ale in a local hostelry followed by dinner at one of London's finest Indian restaurants.  If interested, email Andy via this address.

 


8 Apr 14 - Divers at War on 17 May

 

Attention is drawn to this event at the Historical Diving Society's (HDS) museum at Stokes Bay:

 

This year, for the first time, the HDS Diving Museum is participating in the Museums at Night project.  Just after sundown on 17th May we will open our doors to celebrate the achievements of our wartime diving heroes.

 

 

Film is going to play a big part in the event.  Inside the museum the atmosphere will be infused with a ghostly haze and the chambers of the Victorian battery will be lit by candlelight and torches (all safe electric ones!).

 

 Adding to the drama, some of our volunteers will be dressed in wartime kit and, weather permitting, we will be projecting film on the outside of the museum during the evening.   It is sure to be a night to remember.

 

 WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE! (2100 on 17 May). 

 


5 Apr 14 - Date for the diary

 

This year's MCDOA Operational Updates, AGM and Dinner will take place on Friday 21 November.  Our President, Cdre Paddy McAlpine OBE ADC, has secured Rear Admiral Clive Johnstone CBE (ACNS POL) as the guest speaker for our annual dinner.

 

Rear Admiral Clive Johnstone CBE

(Royal Navy photo)

 

Paddy McAlpine succeeded Cdre the Hon Michael Cochrane OBE as Commodore Portsmouth Flotilla (COMPORFLOT) last month as described in this article on the Royal Navy website. 

 


4 Apr 14 - HMS Brocklesby at Gibraltar

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 1 commanded by MCDOA member Ben Vickery) was spotted entering Gibraltar yesterday.  Presumably, she is on her way home to Portsmouth for Easter leave.

 

HMS Brocklesby entering Gibraltar

(Image courtesy of local photographer Daniel Ferro)

 


2 Apr 14 -  HMS Brocklesby in Exercise NIRIIS 2014

 

 

The Navy News website contains this article describing the participation of HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 1 commanded by MCDOA member Ben Vickery) in Exercise NIRIIS 2014 off Crete.  She is currently deployed in the Mediterranean with Standing NATO MCM Group 2 (SNMCMG2) which also comprises FGS Rhein, ITS Chioggia and FGS Weilheim.  The MCM force operated with HNS Europa (ex-HMS Bicester) and the frigates HNS Kanaris and ITS Aliseo among other units.

 

  

Left: HMS Brocklesby during Exercise NIRIIS 2014

Right: HNS Europa during Exercise NIRIIS 2014

 

The article also features HMS Brocklesby's Ops Officer Tim Allen and PO(MW) James 'Soapy' Watson.

 

Unusual photo showing HMS Brocklesby inboard of HNS Europa

 

HMS Brocklesby is leaving SNMCMG2 soon to return to Portsmouth.  Her place will be taken by Faslane-based HMS Blyth.

 


1 Apr 14 - News of HMS Cattistock

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing the recent activities of HMS Cattistock (MCM 2 Crew 4).  The article features MCDOA member Matt Teare, Cattistock's Executive Officer.

 

The Royal Navy website also contains this article announcing that the ship is in Poole for four days this week to strengthen her affiliation with the nearby town of Cattistock and support the launch of the Bournemouth Air Festival.

 


31 Mar 14 - RN Minewarfare Heritage: D-Day minesweeper veteran receives medals 64 years late

 

As we approach the 70th anniversary of D-Day, this article from the Mail Online website is particularly apposite.  It describes the presentaion of six Second World War campaign medals to 91-year-old George Edwin Williams, who served as a CPO on board a minesweeper during the Normandy landings, 64 years after they were 'lost in the post'.

 

The medals were presented by Capt Warren Bairstow CSC RAN, naval adviser to the Australian High Commission, at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, Suffolk:

 

 

See Operation Neptune: The Minesweeping Operation 5-6 June 1944 by David Verghese in the website's Dit Box for the story of the minesweeping operations that enabled the Normandy landings on D-Day.

 


30 Mar 14 - Job Offer

 

MCDOA member Kim Godfrey has asked me to publicise a London-based vacancy for a Contingency Planning Consultant who has had experience in dealing with emergency response organisations (e.g. an IED/CMD Operator such as an MCDO or CD1).  The job was formerly held by another MCDOA member.  Relevant details can be downloaded here:

 

RPS Energy Crisis Management Consultant (PDF)

 

If interested, please contact Kim via this email address.

 


29 Mar 14 - HMS Brocklesby sends Mother's Day message

 

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article and the Royal Navy website this article describing a special Mother's Day message from the ship's company of HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 1) commanded by MCDOA member Ben Vickery.  Ben's ship left Portsmouth on 29 January for a deployment with Standing NATO MCM Group 2 (SNMCMG2) in the Mediterranean.

 

RN website photo

 

Post script: On 30 March, the Capital FM website published this article covering the same story.

 


28 Mar 14 - Tim Ash becomes Captain of HMS Warrior (1860)

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article describing Wednesday's installation of recently retired MWO Tim Ash as the Captain of the historic warship HMS Warrior (1860) in Portsmouth.

 

Tim Ash taking over the helm of HMS Warrior (1860) from Cdr Ken Jones

(Portsmouth News photo by Ian Hargreaves)

 

During his early naval career, Tim served in HMS Bicester and commanded the River Class Fleet Minesweepers (MSFs) HMS Spey and HMS Orwell during an interlude in the RNR.  He was the Executive Officer of Portsmouth Naval Base & Wardroom Mess President of HMS Nelson before leaving the Royal Navy in February this year.  I am sure all members of our community will join me in congratulating him and  wishing him the best of luck in his prominent new role.

 


27 Mar 14 - Dave Bence excels in Abu Dhabi Triathlon

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article describing the participation of MCDOA member Dave Bence in the Abu Dhabi Triathlon.  He came fifth in his age group.

 

Dave Bence with GB Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee MBE who also took

part in the race with his brother, GB Olympic bronze medalist Jonny Brownlee

(Portsmouth News photo)

 

Dave is currently based in Bahrain as CAPTUKMCM and Deputy Commander, Commander Task Force 52 (CTF 52).  I am sure all members join me in offering him our congratulations on his impressive achievement.

 

Post script: On 31 March, the Royal Navy website published this article covering the same story.

 


26 Mar 14

 

Award for MCDOA member's ship

 

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article describing the presentation of the Surface Flotilla Frigate Effectiveness Trophy to HMS Lancaster commanded by MCDOA member Peter Laughton MBE.

 

HMS Lancaster receiving her trophy with Peter Laughton pictured second left

(RN website photo by LA(Phot) Maxine Davies)

 

As reported in the entry for 20 Jan 14 in News Archive 45, the Surface Flotilla MCM Effectiveness Trophy was awarded to MCM2 Crew 6, commanded by MCDOA member Simon Pressdee, for its work while manning HMS Atherstone for a seven-and-a-half month deployment to the Gulf followed by HMS Ledbury in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and the Baltic.

 

Congratulations to all concerned.

 


Long Service & Good Conduct Medal award

 

Congratulations to LS(D) Andrew Groves on being gazetted for the award of the LS & GC.  The relevant page of the Supplement to the London Gazette can be viewed here.

 

Earlier this month, Andrew was presented with the Superintendent of Diving's newly instituted Safety Excellence Trophy (see entry for 12 Mar 14.

 


25 Mar 14 - Gentlemen Who Lunch

 

41 years to the month since they first met as wardroom 'livers-in' while serving at HMS Vernon, the MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio of Barlow, Holloway and Hoole resumed their regular weekly gatherings by lunching at The Blue Bell in Emsworth today.  They were accompanied by Hoole's next door neighbour Lez.

 

Holloway, Howard, Hoole and Barlow after a meal in their favourite local

 

Barlow's yacht 'Dougout' will soon be back in the water following her winter maintenance period and the trio will once more become 'Three Men in a Boat'.  Watch this space.

 


24 Mar 14

 

Job for military diving SME

 

A reputable recruiting organisation is seeking a military diving SME (Subject Matter Expert) with knowledge of physiological and human factors assessment of submarine and diving systems to work on a sub-contract basis for a defence research programme.  The work would be about half-time from this April to March 2015.

 

If you are interested and require further details, please email me via my webmaster address and I will advise accordingly.  The deadline for CV submissions is 4 April 2014 and Project Vernon could gain from any introductions I make.

 


News from Team Soapy

 

I have received this update from our intrepid Honorary Secretary, Richard 'Soapy' Watson, who will be participating in the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race with Mark Campbell over the Easter weekend:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Just to let you know that Mark and I completed the Newbury Canoe Club's Waterside C Race on Sunday as part our training for the BIG EVENT, now only 23 days away! 

 

 

The race was from Pewsey to Newbury, consisting of 23 miles of canal and 35 portages.  We did very well and came 8th out of 26 in our VETERAN (over 40) category.  Our average speed was 5.9 mph and our overall time was 4 hours 5 mins.  A very big thank you to CPO (Diver) Willie Sharp MBE who supported us on Sunday and kept us hydrated.

 

 

We would really appreciate any support during the day.  I will post my estimated arrival at each portage over the race so people living local can cheers us on."

 

Soapy and Mark will be competing in the Devizes to Westminster Race to raise money for Project Vernon, the campaign to erect a monument at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to celebrate the minewarfare & diving heritage of HMS Vernon which previously stood on the site, and Parkinsons UK.  You can sponsor them in their challenging venture here:

 

Soapy and Mark's sponsorship page on Virgin Money Giving 

 


23 Mar 14

 

News of HMS Brocklesby

 

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing the recent activities of HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 1 commanded by MCDOA member Ben Vickery) which left Portsmouth on 29 January for a deployment with Standing NATO MCM Group 2 (SNMCMG2) in the Mediterranean.

 


SDU1 deals with grenade on Gwithian beach

 

The BBC News website contains this article describing Friday's disposal by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of a grenade discovered on the beach at Gwithian in Cornwall.

 


22 Mar 14 - Northern Diving Group's Underwater Cycle Challenge for Sport Relief

 

The team completed its epic week-long underwater cycling challenge yesterday afternoon after pedaling 1,001 miles, breaking a world record and raising £7,396 for Sport Relief.  Mission accomplished.  Well done guys.

 

 

 

Oliver Shepherd has compiled a video of the week's events which can be seen on You Tube here.  You can still demonstrate your appreciation for the team's efforts via its Sport Relief page here.

 

Post script: On 27 March, the Royal Navy website published this article describing how the divers involved in the challenge were visited by HRH Prince Michael of Kent on 19 March.

 

 


21 Mar 14

 

Latest Operational Honours and Awards

 

Hearty congratulations to LS(D) John Pearson on being gazetted for the award of the Queen's Commendation for Bravery (QCB):

 

"For volunteering, in an act of sheer bravery to dive 60 metres in order to recover the body of an Aircrewman who was killed in a mid air collision [between two RAF Tornados] over the Moray Firth on 3rd July 2012."

 

In June 2006, John was a member of a Defence Diving School (DDS) team that completed a charity bike ride from John O'Groats to Land's End (see entry for 20 Jun 06 in News Archive 14). 

 

Joe Hanfrey, John Carroll, John Pearson, Derek Kelly and Ian Fleming

in June 2006

 

In September 2007, he achieved the first 60 metre manned dive in Clearance Divers' Life Support Equipment (CDLSE) at the Deep Trials Unit (DTU) in Alverstoke (see entry for 19 Sep 07 in News Archive 19).

 

 John Pearson at DTU in September 2007

 

Congratulations are also due to WO2 ET(ME) Christopher Mullan QGM on being appointed an MBE for raising the state of minehunters deployed in the Gulf "to an unprecedented level" and to CPO ET(ME) David Alan Kennedy on being awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS) for providing engineering support to minehunters both in the UK and in the waters of the Gulf.

 

The full list of Operational Honours and Awards released today by the Ministry of Defence can be found here.

 


Capt Andy Elvin RN invested as OBE

 

Congratulations to MCDOA member Andy Elvin on being invested as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

 

 

In his last job, Andy was based in Bahrain as Deputy Commander, Commander Task Force 52 (CTF 52).

 

Andy briefing IMCMEX 13 participants on board USS Ponce

in the Gulf in May last year

(US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary Keen)

 


Lt Duncan 'Jim' Hawkins RNR presented with QVRM

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing last Tuesday's presentation at Buckingham Palace of the Queen's Voluntary Reserves Medal (QRVM) to Jim Hawkins.  Jim was a member of the Minewarfare Branch during his 22 years in the RN and has since spent 15 years in the RNR as the senior training officer for the Wales URNU (University Royal Naval Unit).

 

Jim with his QVRM at Buckingham Palace

(RN website photo)

 

Jim is an active member of the Minewarfare Association (MWA).  He not only attended last year's Southern Area Christmas Dinner in Fareham (see entry for 30 Nov 13 in News Archive 44) but also helped organise this month's annual reunion in Cardiff (see entry for 10 Mar 14).

 

Jim Hawkins (second right) at the MWA Southern Area

Christmas thrash in Fareham last year 

 

I am sure all members of our community will join me in congratulating him on his well-deserved award.

 


RNZN Divers dispose of Second World War mines

 

The stuff.co.nz website contains this article, including video, describing the disposal by RNZN clearance divers of mines laid during the Second World War in the Hauraki Gulf off Aukland.

 


20 Mar 14

 

Northern Diving Group's Underwater Cycle Challenge for Sport Relief

 

1,000km (625 miles) smashed in the early hours of this morning and still 45 hours to go until they stop pedaling at 2000 on Friday!

 

 

It has been raining heavily this morning but the team is still smiling:

 

 

So far, the team has raised 78% (excluding Gift Aid) of its fundraising target of £5,000 and you can still donate online via its Sport Relief page here.

 


SDU1 deals with Second World War mine on Pembrokeshire beach

 

The South Wales Evening Post website contains this article describing Tuesday's (18 March) disposal by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of a Second World War British Mk 14 moored mine discovered by a nine-year-old girl on the beach at Bullslaughter Bay in Pembrokeshire.

 

 


18 Mar 14 - HMS Quorn’s sailors restore military graves in Bahrain

 

The Navy News website contains this article describing how sailors from HMS Quorn (MCM2 Crew 3) have tidied up 23 graves in the military section of Bahrain’s New Christian Cemetery where personnel from all three Services who were based in the kingdom in the 1960s and early 1970s, are laid to rest.

 

Navy News photo

 

Post script: On 27 March 2014, the Royal Navy website published this article covering the same story.

 


17 Mar 14 - Northern Diving Group's Underwater Cycle Challenge for Sport Relief

 

 

The Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) is aiming to break the Guinness World Record for underwater cycling.  It is planning to cycle on a fixed spinning bike underwater for a week, raising some cash for Sport Relief and breaking a Guinness World Record in the process.

 

Endorsements have been received from the Prime Minister and Olympic gold medal cyclist Sir Chris Hoy.  See the video of this conversation involving David Cameron and LS(D) Simon Lund at No.10 here.  Also see Downing Street Latest: Sport Relief: Simon from the Royal Navy’s Northern Diving Group

 

 

 Regular updates are being published on the team's Face Book page here

 

     

 

The world record of 163km was broken late today with John 'YoYo' Ravenhall in the saddle.

 

 

 

The team is well on the way to achieving its fundraising target of £5,000 and you can donate online via its Sport Relief page here.

 


16 Mar 14 - SDU1 deals with 'bomb' near Dartmouth

 

The Torquay Herald Express website contains this article, including video, describing last week's disposal by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of ordnance found at Strete Gate Beach near Slapton in South Devon.

 

 


15 Mar 14 - Soapy and Mark's 125 mile 24-hour paddle 18-21 Apr 2014

 

Soapy Watson, our intrepid Honorary Secretary, has entered the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race.  This year he will be accompanied by Mark Campbell who kindly stepped in after Soapy's previous partner broke his arm.  Their aim is not only to complete the course within 24 hours but also to raise money for Project Vernon, the campaign to erect a monument at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to celebrate the minewarfare & diving heritage of HMS Vernon which previously stood on the site, and Parkinsons UK.

 

 

This race, which takes place over the Easter weekend, is a 125 mile marathon navigating the Kennet & Avon Canal and tributaries of the Thames before following the main river to finish opposite the Houses of Parliament just downstream from Westminster Bridge.  There are 77 portages along the way.

 

Soapy and Mark training at Dreweatts Lock, Marsh Benham earlier this month

 

You can sponsor Soapy and Mark in their challenging venture here:

 

Soapy and Mark's sponsorship page on Virgin Money Giving

 


From MCDOA member Dave Hunkin OBE:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Great to see Soapy and Mark competing in this years DW.  Regarded as the Everest of marathon kayaking, it is easy to underestimate from the comfort of your arm chair - it's a hell of a challenge.

 

The very best of luck to you both.  Hope the fundraising goes well.  Keep eating, keep drinking and if at any stage you feel like you're paddling up stream, worth checking your nav!!!   

 

Good luck boys.

 

Dave Hunkin"

 


14 Mar 14

 

An invitation to the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officers' Club annual lunch

 

I have received this kind invitation for all MCDOA members from Robin Bennett, Honorary Secretary of the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officers' Club (REBDOC) with which the MCDOA enjoys an affiliation:

 

"Rob,

 

This year’s REBDOC lunch is at the Defence Capability Centre, Defence Academy, Shrivenham on Saturday 26 April and it would be great to see some of our MCDOA colleagues again.

 

Calling Notice & Booking Form for REBDOC Annual Lunch

 

You can ignore the item about the AGM, so the timings are 1230 for 1300 with carriages at 1700.   Major Ben Hawkins RE is giving a guided tour of the Ammo Hall in the afternoon and we hope to have an operational update from our serving colleagues.

 

Owing to catering requirements I need all bids in by Mon 24th March.  

 

Many thanks for your support.

 

Regards,

 

Robin

 

Robin Bennett

Hon Secretary

Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officers Club"

 


HDS Diving Museum update

 

 

MCDOA associate member Dr John Bevan, Chairman of the Historical Diving Society (HDS), has provided this update about the Diving Museum in No.2 Battery at Stokes Bay and the WWII bunker in Gosport that houses the Society's library and museum reserve collection:

 

"MUSEUM

 

Mummy DCC (with beautiful make-over thanks to John Dadd and Jim Thomson) is proud to announce the arrival of baby DCC:

 

 

 

     

 

BUNKER

 

The wheelbarrow marathon was plagued with incidents down at the Bunker last weekend. 

 

MCDOA member John Bevan, ex-CD Mike O'Meara, ex-CD Jim 'Tommo' Thomson,

former FCPO(D) John Dadd BEM and HDS Museum Officer Kevin Casey

 

Dadd suffered a wheel coming off as he rounded School Corner which led to the event being temporarily halted for safety reasons.  Dadd was shocked but uninjured and bravely chose to continue.  The Emergency Repair Team were swiftly on the job and managed to rebuild the front wheel assembly. 

 

Following an uneventful restart, two wheelbarrows (Dadd and Bevan) had to come into the pits for tyre pressure adjustments.  Thomson and Casey worked feverishly but O'Meara took full advantage and streaked into the lead. Dadd caught up but Bevan suffered the indignity of being lapped by O'Meara.  "The sun was in my eyes," Bevan said to the excited reporters from CNN.

 

About a ton of soil that had been dug up from around the Bunker the previous weekend was transferred into the school grounds during the race.

 

"Nigel would be proud," an official said.

 

JohnB"

 

The HDS Museum relies on a handful of volunteer guides, at least two but ideally three of whom need to be on site when it is open for business at weekends during the summer.  If you live locally and can spare the odd few hours, please contact John Bevan via this email address or call him on 078 0278 5050.  You will then be given access to the online roster to fill in your own dates as and when you are available.  You don't have to be an HDS member to get involved in this or any other way.  A lot of work needs doing during the winter close season. 

 


13 Mar 13

 

MCDOA silk ties now available

 

 

By popular demand, MCDOA Honorary Secretary Richard 'Soapy' Watson has acquired a stock of 35 MCDOA silk ties in lieu of the standard polyester version.  If you would like one, send a cheque for £30 (including post & packing) made payable to "MCDOA" to:

 

Lt Cdr R D Watson RN

Honorary Secretary MCDOA

Fleet Diving HQ

Bridge Building

Horsea Island

West Bund Lane

Cosham

Hants

PO6 4TT

 

First come, first served.

 


12 Mar 14 - LS(D) Andrew Groves of HMS Middleton is first recipent of prestigious trophy

 

I am grateful to MCDOA Honorary Secretary Richard 'Soapy' Watson for this announcement:

 

Superintendent of Diving makes inaugural Award of his Diving Safety Excellence Trophy

 

LS(D) Groves receiving an engraved fountain pen from Cdr Chris Baldwin

(The trophy remains on display at Fleet Diving HQ on Horsea Island) 

 

Commander Chris Baldwin, the Ministry of Defence Superintendent of Diving (SofD) has recently made the inaugural award of the annual SofD Diving Safety Excellence Award 2013 to a Royal Navy Diver.  Leading Seaman (Diver) Andrew Groves, Leading Diver onboard HMS MIDDLETON (MCM2 Crew 4) is the first recipient of the Award which recognises excellence in the field of diving safety.  LD Groves was cited as having made an exceptional effort to ensure that the diving safety management system onboard his ship was in excellent condition.  This included the maintenance of all the diving equipment, control of documentation, team competency and diving currency, and sustainability of diving operational capability.  As an LD for one of the four deployed MCMVs in the Gulf, this was no mean feat.  The Ship achieved the highest Diving Safety Management System Audit score in 2013.  While LD Groves was at pains to stress that this was of course a team effort, Diving Standards Officer (Navy), Lieutenant Commander ‘Soapy’ Watson was in no doubt that it was LD Groves’ extraordinary individual effort, around which this team success was based.

 

The aim of the Award is to raise diving safety awareness and standards among the MOD diving community and to reward the efforts of individuals in ensuring that this hazardous duty is conducted as safely as the MOD diving environment allows.  Part of the Defence Environment and Safety Authority’s Defence Maritime Regulator domain, SofD has a team of 12 inspectors responsible for monitoring diving safety standards in military, commercial and recreational (Adventurous Training and Cadet Forces) fields.  During this monitoring task, Diving Inspectors are authorised to issue Diving Safety Commendations on behalf of SofD, to individuals they see as having made an ‘excellent’ effort to keep themselves and their colleagues safe through their determination to improve diving safety.   

 

There is no specific task that individuals have to do to warrant a commendation; the decision rests solely with the Diving Standards Team Inspectors, who have acquired a considerable amount of experience in diving safety assurance. In fact, it is entirely possible for a non-Diver to earn a commendation, if they have been responsible for a demonstrable contribution to diving safety.  

 

When an individual is commended for their ‘excellent contribution to diving safety’, they are given a certificate and the commendation is recorded in their Diving Logs (if they are a Diver) and a note is sent to their CO or line manager requesting that the award is recorded in their OJAR/SJAR/PADR.  They are also informed that their names will go forward for consideration as the person who has made the greatest contribution to MOD diving safety over the whole year.  A small panel comprising of the three Diving Standards Officers (Navy, Army and Adventurous Training), advises SofD on which of the already commended individuals is most deserving of the overall Diving Safety Award.  The Award is formally presented to the winner by SofD and along with a small token for their effort, their name is engraved on the Superintendent of Diving’s Diving Safety Award Trophy.  The Trophy is kept on display in the Fleet Diving HQ at Horsea Island.  

 

Commander Baldwin explained why he wanted to establish the Award:

 

“The MOD Diving Community has a diverse and broad population and the vast majority of those involved are dedicated to maintaining good diving safety standards.  After all, diving is a particularly hazardous activity, in which individuals are at risk simply through the nature of the environment in which it is conducted. In monitoring these standards, I am sometimes required to place censures on areas where we find serious shortcomings or breaches of diving safety regulations.  But I felt that it was important also to recognise individuals who had gone that extra mile to improve safety and so with help from the RN Trophy Store, and sponsorship from DIVEX, who have kindly agreed to pay for the engraving work each year, I can now make that recognition happen.  My hope is that this will, in albeit a small way, serve to encourage good practice and improve the MOD’s diving safety culture.”

 

Hearty congratulations to Andrew on his ground-breaking achievement.

 


11 Mar 14 - Gulf minehunters in major exercise

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article and the Navy News website this article describing the participation of HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 1 commanded by MCDO Ashley Spencer), HMS Atherstone (MCM2 Crew2 ) and HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 4), plus their command ship RFA Cardigan Bay and escorting frigate HMS Somerset, in a major mine countermeasures exercise in the Gulf with US Navy forces.  The article features PO(MW) David 'Muddy' Waters of HMS Shoreham.

 

HMS Ramsey and HMS Atherstone leaving Bahrain – as seen from HMS Shoreham

(RN website photo)

 

USS Devastator alongside RFA Cardigan Bay

(US Navy photo by MC1(NAC) Shannon E. Renfroe)

 


10 Mar 14 - MWA Annual Reunion

 

Members of the Minewarfare Association (MWA), many accompanied by their wives, gathered in Cardiff at the weekend for a highly enjoyable AGM and Annual Reunion.  MCDOA dual-members present included Yours Truly (Rob Hoole), Jonathan Lee and George Turnbull.  Following informal drinks in the hotel and a foray into the city on the Friday night, several attendees mustered for the AGM on the Saturday morning after enjoying a hearty breakfast.

 

     

 

The often hilarious meeting was conducted by MWA President Dixie Dean assisted by Honorary Secretary Peter 'Taff' Reader and Honorary Treasurer Pete Whitehead.

 

     

 

Several other members arrived for the dinner on Saturday night and birthday gifts were presented where appropriate.

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

After dinner, a 190mm miniature of the planned Vernon Monument was raffled and the lucky winner was Ray Standley.  Over £300 was raised for this worthy cause aimed at erecting a statue at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to celebrate the minewarfare and diving heritage of HMS Vernon which formerly stood on the site.

 

 

A separate raffle raised a similar amount.

 

 

 

We owe Jim Hawkins and Gary Abnett a huge vote of thanks for organising such a successful event.  The next reunion will be held in the Midlands in March 2015.

 


7 Mar 14 - Friends and colleagues bid farewell to Chris Davies

 

Friends and colleagues mustered in HMS Nelson's wardroom last night to bid farewell to MCDOA member Chris Davies who is leaving the RN after 31 years and emigrating to Australia. 

 

 

MCDOA members present included Chairman Chris Baldwin, Vice Chairman Yours Truly (Rob Hoole - Chris's CO in HMS Berkeley in 1988/9), Hon Sec Richard 'Soapy' Watson, Don Crosbie, Bill Kerr, Mark Durkin, Martin Mackey, Simon Pressdee and Mark Savage OBE. It was also good to see WO(D) Dan Archer, who has been working with Chris in MCM and Diving Equipment Capability for the past couple of years, and Richard Govan OBE (Chris's CO in HMS Brocklesby in the mid-1980s).

 

     

Left: Yours Truly with Chris Davies in the wardroom of HMS Berkeley in 1989

Right: Chris Davies with Yours Truly in the wardroom of HMS Nelson last night

 

Tributes were paid to Chris by his boss of the past two years and he was presented with a decanter and glasses engraved with his former ships and units.  Chris then said a few words, concentrating on the quality of the people with whom he has served, before most of those gathered departed for a curry run in Gunwharf Quays, the former site of HMS Vernon.

 

We wish Chris every success in his new life down under.

 


6 Mar 14 - More EOD incidents

 

The John O'Groat Journal website contains this article:

 

Royal Navy declares wartime bombs found off Wick safe

 

The Bridport News website contains this article which features PO(D) Tex Marshall of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1):

 

UPDATED: Bomb squad called to Charmouth beach

 


5 Mar 14 - Recent EOD incidents

 

The Kent online website contains these well-illustrated articles.  The second article features PO(D) Nobby Clark of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2).  Some of the readers' comments are, to say the least, interesting.

 

Eighteen World War Two bombs have been found by two brothers from Walmer at Sandwich Bay

 

Royal Navy experts carry out controlled explosion after war-time shells washed up on Minster Leas on Sheppey

 

The Plymouth Herald website contains this article:

 

VIDEO: Watch explosion as Plymouth bomb disposal experts blow up WWII device on beach

 


2 Mar 14 - HDS Diving Museum update

 

 

MCDOA associate member Dr John Bevan, Chairman of the Historical Diving Society (HDS), has provided this update about the Diving Museum in No.2 Battery at Stokes Bay and the WWII bunker in Gosport that houses the Society's library and museum reserve collection:

 

"BUNKER

 

The front door is now repainted.  Passing neighbours have been throwing compliments on the good work being done.

 

Nigel Phillips's team has been hard at work refurbishing the oak flooring in the Womens' Voluntary Services Room (WVS) and the corridor.  Once it's been waxed, the room will be ready to receive the book cases.  Pictured are Nigel and Mike O'Meara whilst Tommo was working in the corridor. 

 

 

 

 

Ex-CD Jim 'Tommo' Thomson has been a real expert with the axe, despite having been injured by a flying log:

 

 

Over the weekend of 21/22 February, Nigel's team dutifully carried out their Community Service sentences doing hard labour outside:

 

     

Left: Ray Mabbs (retired) seen pondering how a spade works

Right: Barry Jackson (retired) showing him how

 

Former FCPO(D) John Dadd BEM digs in

 

     

Left: Ex-CD Mike O'Meara (retired) digging himself into a hole (again),

supervised by Mike Fardell and Nigel

Right: Spoil heap awaiting transfer to school grounds

 

Thanks also to Nigel's brother, John, and partner Shirley who eluded the photo-opportunities.  Very encouraging and congratulatory words were offered by neighbours and onlookers.  Rosemary (opposite) was given the Grand Tour.  Well done team!  A back-breaking task completed.

 

Nigel's team has now completed 99% of the more physical refurb operations at the Bunker.  Thanks to Tommo and Peter Jackson who came and helped out last Friday. We await a reasonable break in the weather to transfer the soil from the front into the school grounds.  Possibly this coming weekend. 

 

New ventilator neatly installed in Library window recess

 

Nigel has decided that the air in the Bunker will now circulate according to his new protocol:

 

 

Any attempt by the air not to circulate as directed should be reported immediately.  So far, it's behaving and relative humidity throughout the Bunker is holding steady in the low 70%s. 

 

MUSEUM

 

We provided another successful session for the Standard Underwater Medicine Course from the Institute of Naval Medicine at the beginning of the month.  26 RN and RM doctors were shown around by John Dadd, Tommo and myself.  The group was one of the most enthusiastic to date.

 

Thanks to QinetiQ and Gavin Anthony for the latest donation to the collection.  This is a LOSE, a British covert oxygen rebreather.

 

Lightweight Oxygen Swimming Equipment (LOSE)

 

Here are a few more items standing in the queue for exhibiting this year, courtesy of QinetiQ and Gavin Anthony - and there's more to come!

 

      

Left: Siebe Gorman smoke mask

Right: GSD Bandmask

 

 

O2 Rebreather 

 

COUNTDOWN TO MUSEUM OPENING

 

Just five weekends to go before reopening the Diving Museum for Season No. 4!

 

SPOOKY EVENT

 

On Saturday, 17 May, the Diving Museum will come alive with spooky re-enactments of WW2 divers rendering mines safe.  Apparitions of famous divers will emerge from haunted chambers; John Deane, the Gosport diver who invented the diving helmet; William Walker who saved Winchester Cathedral; Buster Crabb the frogman who disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

 

JohnB"

 

The HDS Museum relies on a handful of volunteer guides, at least two but ideally three of whom need to be on site when it is open for business at weekends during the summer.  If you live locally and can spare the odd few hours, please contact John Bevan via this email address or call him on 078 0278 5050.  You will then be given access to the online roster to fill in your own dates as and when you are available.  You don't have to be an HDS member to get involved in this or any other way.  A lot of work needs doing during the winter close season. 

 


1 Mar 14 - MCDOA website breaks another barrier

 

The MCDOA website has increased its following.  During February, it was accessed by 44,112 distinct host servers, the first time this statistic has exceeded 43,000.  The number of people accessing the site is likely to be even higher as many servers (e.g. MoD, US military, etc.) are shared by several users.

 


 

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