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.


30 Sep 15 - Death of former CPO(CD1) Michael 'Shiner' Brassington (aka Count Michael of Nacton)

 

I was saddened to receive this email today from Shiner's daughter Cheryl:

 

"Good Morning,

 

It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that Shiner passed away this morning.  He was peaceful at the end and never lost that wonderful cheeky sense of humour,

 

Cheryl"

 

As Shiner had been ill in hospital for over a week with a serious infection and multiple other ailments, this news was not entirely unexpected.

 

 

Shiner was a cantakerous character with a heart of gold and a wicked sense of humour.  He edited and illustrated the RN Diving magazine for many years, bought a title that gave him standing access to the Houses of Parliament, drove a vintage Rolls Royce complete with personalised number plate, wrote scathing letters to politicians and authorities he felt weren't up to the mark, fabricated replicas of antique guns and brought his camper van to Horsea for the summer barbecues.  I was honoured to be among a small group to whom he routinely sent his eccentric anecdotes, musings, cartoons and photos and I have over 500 of his emails on file.  I will trawl through them for material to produce an illustrated account of his colourful life and career in due course.

 

 

Shiner lived with his wife Coralie in Felixstowe and I will publish funeral details when they become available.

 


From ex-CD Peter Gallant:

 

"I have just heard of the passing of Shiner.  We served together in the late 1960s at DEODS in Kent.

 

An unusual job we did together was at Orford Ness in Suffolk.  It had been a bombing range and was being turned over to the public.  It was being cleared by former German POWs who stayed on after the war and were employed by the REs doing bomb clearance.  They came across an unknown bomb.  Shiner and I x-rayed the item and it turned out to be a bomb from WW1 that was dropped by hand from planes over the German trenches.

 

RIP Shiner,

 

Peter Gallant

(Jalon, Spain)"

 


From MCDOA past-Vice Chairman Jon Riches:

 

"Rob,

 

Very sad to hear of death of Shiner as he was instrumental in me joining the MCD Branch.  

 

I was a young (!) 23 year old Midshipman in the carrier HMS Eagle 1963-4 and Shiner was the CD1 2i/c of the Diving Team.  The i/c was Frank Spragg!

 

Thanks to Shiner, I qualified as a Ships' Diver then he suggested I apply for CD Course which I duly did, only to find on joining HMS Vernon for the course that the title had been changed to MCD!  He exercised us Ships' Divers at every opportunity and even had us jumping off the flight deck whilst alongside at Singapore Dockyard. I can't say I enjoyed that!

 

I have always thought highly of Shiner though have not seen him for years.  My heartfelt condolences to his family on their sad loss.

 

Jon Riches"

 


From MCDOA former Honorary Secretary Richard 'Soapy' Watson:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

May I send my sincere condolences to Shiner's family.  I spent many barbecues at Horsea listening to his interesting dits on how the branch used to be like.  He also contributed towards a couple of raffles with prizes which in turn raised money towards Project Vernon.

 

He will be sadly missed.

 

Best Regards,

 

Soapy" 

 


29 Sep 15 - A date for the diary

 

 

I was thinking of taking John Dadd but I hear he's already spoken for.

 


24 Sep 15 - Gentlemen Who Lunch

 

The MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine Trio' of Barlow, Hoole & Holloway was missing Holloway for its weekly outing this Tuesday but Hoole's next door neighbour Lez stepped into the breach for their lunchtime gathering at the delightful Old House at Home in Chidham, West Sussex:

 

 


23 Sep 15 - Theatre prop prompts bomb alert near Bodmin

 

The Cornish Guardian contains this article describing a call-out for members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) to deal with a 'stick of dynamite' found at a recycling centre in Lanivet, Cornwall.  The item turned out to be a discarded theatre prop.

 

 


18 Sep 15 - RN Bomb & Mine Disposal heritage: Draper Kauffman

 

Lt Draper Kauffman RNVR

 

In August 1940, naval bomb disposal teams were set up by the Directorate of Naval Ordnance under the Director of the Naval Unexploded Bomb Department (DUBD) to discharge the Royal Navy’s responsibility for dealing with unexploded bombs on its own property.  By 20 September 1940, naval bomb disposal teams had been formed at 27 shore establishments.  Each team was led by a BSO (Bomb Safety Officer), normally a Sub Lieutenant RNVR or Commonwealth equivalent of the RNVR.  The onset of the Blitz meant that naval BSOs were tasked all over the country to augment their hard-pressed colleagues in the other services.

 

One of the RNVR BSOs was an American called Draper Laurence Kauffman, son of Captain (later Vice Admiral) James Laurence 'Reggie' Kauffman USN, a veteran of the First World War who was also to serve in the Second World War.  Draper Kauffman had graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1933 but retired to civilian life because of weak eyesight.  In 1939, he joined the French Army's Ambulance Service and was captured by the Germans when they overran Holland, Belgium and France.  Upon his release as a citizen of a neutral country (USA), he joined the Royal Navy as a Sub Lieutenant RNVR (Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve).  After initial training at HMS King Alfred (Hove near Brighton), he was trained as a BSO at an RAF station (possibly the Joint Services Bomb Disposal School associated with the RAF Armament School at RAF Manby in Lincolnshire) and at HMS Vernon in Portsmouth.

 

Sub Lt Draper Kauffman RNVR undertaking a bomb disposal task somewhere in the UK

 

Draper Kauffman performed bomb & mine disposal duties in the UK for 14 months until October 1941 and was awarded a King's Commendation "for brave conduct and devotion to duty".  When he returned on leave to Washington, he was approached by the US Bureau of Ordnance and asked to establish a US Bomb Disposal School.  Thus, Lt Draper Kauffman RNVR became Lt Draper Kauffman USNR and Officer-in-Charge of the first US Bomb Disposal School.

 

 

Lt Draper Kauffman USNR

 

He was subsequently awarded the Navy Cross for bomb disposal work at Pearl Harbour before establishing the US Navy's first Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs), the forerunners of the Sea, Air, Land Teams more commonly known as the SEALs.  He was awarded a second Navy Cross for leading UDT 5 in a daylight reconnaissance of fortified enemy beaches under heavy fire at Saipan and for leading a night reconnaissance of heavily defended beaches at Tinian.  He also commanded UDTs during the assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, twice having to transfer from a damaged ship to another to carry on operations.  At Iwo Jima, he directed fire-fighting operations in the face of exploding ammunition after an enemy aircraft had bombed his ship.

 

Draper Kauffman eventually retired from the US Navy as a Rear Admiral in June 1973 and died in August 1979 at the age of 68.  His remarkable career is described by his sister, Elizabeth 'Beth' Kauffman Bush, in America's First Frogman - The Draper Kauffman Story.  Elizabeth Kauffman Bush was the sister-in-law of former President George H. W. Bush and aunt of former President George W. Bush.  She died in February last year at the age of 91.

 

On 28 February 1987, the US Navy commissioned USS Kauffman (FFG 59), one of 51 Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates, in honour of Vice Admiral James L. Kauffman (who had died in October 1963 at the age of 76) and his son Rear Admiral Draper Kauffman.  Those present included Draper Kauffman's sister Elizabeth Kauffman Bush, his sister-in-law Barbara Bush and two of his three children, Draper Laurence Jr and Margaret Cary.

 

Rear Adm Draper L. Kauffman USN, Commander Cruiser/Destroyer Flotilla Three

in his cabin with his visiting father, Vice Adm James L. Kauffman

 

As this article on Channel 3's Military Watch website describes, USS Kauffman was decommissioned at Norfolk today in the presence of Kelsey Kauffman, the daughter of Draper Kauffman and grand-daughter of James Kauffman.   The ship's ensign was carried away for the final time by three-year-old Draper Richey, great-great grandson of James Kauffman. 

 

 

 

USS Simpson (FFG-56), the US Navy's only remaining Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, is due to be decommissioned at Mayport on 29 September.

 


17 Sep 15 - HMS Blyth personnel visit Blyth

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing a visit to the town of Blyth in Northumberland by the CO and six members of the ship's company of HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 3), currently undergoing a maintenance period.  The article features LS(D) Adam Coates.

 

Personnel from HMS Blyth with Blyth Mayor Cllr Margaret Parker

and other local dignitaries

(RN website photo)

 


16 Sep 15 - HMS Penzance Forging Partnerships in Bahrain

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing how personnel from HMS Penzance (MCM1 Crew 6), currently deployed on Operation KIPION in the Gulf, have been supporting the local community in Bahrain by painting three of the community rooms at the St Christopher’s cathedral compound in Manama.  The article features LS(MW) McGregor, AB(MW) Coupe and AB(MW) Rory Wood among others.

 

HMS Penzance's working party with Curate Jon Lavelle and Revd Chris Butt

(RN website photo)

 


15 Sep 15 - Gentlemen Who Lunch

 

The MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio of Barlow, Holloway and Hoole, accompanied by Hoole's neighbour Lez, chose The White Horse at Westbourne in West Sussex for its weekly gathering today.

 

Hoole, Holloway, Howard and Barlow trying to look appealing in the forlorn hope that some

kind-hearted passer-by would offer them a home or at least buy them a drink

 


14 Sep 15 - MCDOA AGM, Operational Updates & Annual Dinner (Redux)

 

 

From our Honorary Secretary, Mark Shaw:

 

"Sirs, Fellow Members,

 

 ASSOCIATION ANNUAL DINNER 2015

 

This year’s association dinner will be held in HMS Excellent’s Wardroom on Friday 20 November 2015.

 

We are very fortunate to have as the guest speaker, Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey KCB, current Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and previous Second Sea Lord.

 

 

The evening will follow the traditional format commencing with pre-dinner drinks in the bar at 1900 followed by food and refreshments and a hearty sing-song to the musical accompaniment of the HMS Nelson Volunteer Band before retiring to the bar   The dinner is open to members of the association, members of its affiliated Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officers' Club, and their guests only.  If a non-member wishes to attend the dinner and is eligible to join the association (serving or retired), then they will be asked to complete the membership process prior to being offered a place at the dinner.  WO1 (D/MW) are also welcome to attend as a guest of a member.

 

The cost of the dinner will be £45 for members and £50 for guests.  This will include a welcome drink, four course meal, wine, port and drinks in the bar.

 

Accommodation in HMS EXCELLENT transit block has been reserved so please indicate on your application form if you require a bed allocating. 

 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of LMCDO courses '90A & '90B. (Dave Bence, Tony Carruthers (MWO), Graham ‘Griff’ Collins, Nick Davis (MWO), Phil Ireland DSC, John Law, Tim Lewis (MWO), Jim Nisbet, Alastair Stangroom, Jim Tyrwhitt-Drake (MWO), Tony Welch (MWO), Steve 'Steamy' Window and Andrew 'Brigham' Young).  Any service leavers (who are paid up members) wishing to be dined out are requested to contact the Hon Sec.

 

The AGM (details in a separate calling notice) will be held prior to the dinner.  Members are encouraged to attend this important serial and make your voices heard to the committee.  

 

Payment can be made by cash, cheque or online bank transfer.  Please ensure I receive hard or soft copy application forms by Fri 6th Nov 15.

 

Looking forward to seeing you all on the night,

 

Mark"

 

The calling notice and booking form for the Annual Dinner is available for download here and via the 'Forthcoming Events' page.

 


From MCDOA past-Hon Sec David 'Topsy' Turner in New Zealand:

 

"Rob,

 

Please convey my apologies for failing (as ever) to get to this year’s dinner.  One day I vow to line up the jackstay and make it before it’s too late!!   I could use the excuse that I take over as CO HMNZS PHILOMEL and Naval Base Commander around about the time of the dinner but who’s going to believe that!!  

 

Diver well down under in NZ.

 

Topsy

 

Commander David Turner, RNZN

Executive Officer,

HMNZS PHILOMEL

Royal New Zealand Navy"

 


From MCDOA past-Chairman David Hilton MBE:

 

"Dear Rob,

 

Of all the days and 25th anniversary celebration, etc., I cannot make it.  Wedding to attend!  Unless things change, please give my most sincere apologies.

 

I am so sorry to hear about Jim Cook’s death – we had many a beer together!

 

My best regards,

 

David"

 


From MCDOA member Charlie Wilson OBE:

 

"Rob,

 

MRU this year due to a prior commitment.

 

Charlie"

 


From MCDOA member Dave Stanbury:

 

"Thank you for the notice of the MCDOA Dinner.  Unfortunately I deploy in two weeks and will be out of the country for 12 months.   I sincerely hope that the evening goes well.  

 

Kind regards,

 

Dave Stanbury"

 


From MCDOA member Kev Stockton:

 

"Rob,

 

Please accept my apologies for this year's dinner.  I am currently in Saudi on short Op Tour as the RNLO in the RSNF HQ and, after a quick turn around in UK at the end of this month, I will be starting my six month Op Tour as the Maritime Security Advisor in Yemen.

 

I wish you all the very best for the evening and warmest wishes to all my MCDO brethren.

 

Kev"

 


From MCDOA member Nick Stanley:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

I regret I'll be in Berlin on the night in question.

 

Nick"

 


From MCDOA member Sean O'Reilly:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Thank you, as ever, for the dinner information.

 

Much regret I will be working overseas on the day, so please give my best wishes to my '82 oppos and other scoundrels prepared to receive them!!  

 

Bon appetite, bon journey, bon chance,  

 

Best wishes,

 

Sean"

 


From MCDOA member Terry Iles:

 

"Dear Rob,

 

I hope this finds you fit and well.  I have just returned from a lovely eight-day sailing holiday in Northern Brittany with Janet and the weather broke as we returned on Friday.

 

Sorry but I cannot be with you on 20 Nov but hopefully will make it one day.  Please give my best wishes to Alan Massey as he was Ops in Ark Royal when I was the Jimmy.  Great times!

 

Yours aye,

 

Terry" 

 


13 Sep 15 - Death and funeral of Lt Cdr James 'Jim' Joseph Cook RN

 

I have been incommunicado for over a week so I regret I did not learn of Jim Cook's death on 31 August in time to publish advance notice of his funeral which took place at Efford Crematorium in Plymouth on Thursday 10 September.  Former CPO(D) Cris Ballinger BEM was among those who attended and he has kindly sent me a copy of the Order of Service:

 

Music on Entry: 'Unforgettable' by Nat King Cole

Welcome

Reading: 'If' by Rudyard Kipling

Thanksgiving

Music for Contemplation: 'The Lord's my Shepherd' by Joanne Hogg

Prayers and The Lord's Prayer

Commendation & Committal

Music on Exit: 'Only You' by The Platters

 

From my records, Jim qualified as a LS(CD2) on 4 May 1956 and subsequently served on the Mediterranean Fleet Clearance Diving Team.  He was commissioned as a Sub Lt in August 1966 and undertook the 1968 MCDO and MW Conversion Course. 

 

1968 LMCDO & MW Conversion Course with Jim Cook standing far left

 

Jim was promoted to Lt in October 1970 and to Lt Cdr in October 1980.  This was his service as an officer according to the Navy List:

 

1966-67:
1967-68:
1968-69:
1970-71:
1972-73:
1974-76:
1977-83:
1984:
1985-89:
HMS Excellent
Minelayer HMS Manxman
HMS Vernon
HMS Neptune for Faslane Clearance Diving Team
HMS Saker, Arlington, Virginia for exchange duty at USN EOD School, Indian Head, Maryland
HMS Wilton
HMS Vernon
Portsmouth Area Clearance Diving Team
Joint Services Sub Aqua Diving Centre (JSSADC), Fort Bovisand, Plymouth

   

I remember Jim very well, especially at HMS Vernon, and we shared the distinction of being XO of HMS Wilton during the 1970s (me 1977-79).  Both he and ex-CD1 Johnny Lett had lost eyes in the same car accident.  I don’t believe he ever joined the MCDOA but I trust that all members of our community will join me in extending our sympathy to his wife and two daughters and their families.

 

James 'Jim' Joseph Cook

(8 Jul 1934 - 31 Aug 2015)

 


From MCDOA member Brian Dutton DSO QGM:

 

"Hello Rob,

 

I very much regret the passing of Jim Cook and, although I never worked with him, I had the pleasure of meeting him on numerous occasions.  He understood the men who worked for him and they, too, liked him.

 

Best regards,

 

Brian"

 


From MCDOA member Bill 'Chippy' Norton:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Sorry to hear about the passing of Jim Cook.  I also got the word from George Alderton via Len Smith.  

 

I did not know Jim very well as he was very much a West Country man.  He made a tremendous recovery after the car crash.  He relieved me as O/IC Sat Diving and Trials Team and I understand that Guy Worsely thought very highly of him.  I believe that he later went on to Fort Bovisand as the R.N. rep, hence the JSSADC acronym.

 

Yours Aye,

 

Bill"

 


From MCDOA member Michael Gillam:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

I was sorry to learn about Jim Cook, an old friend of many years' standing who I enjoyed meeting at MCDOA events in recent years.  We served together in HMS Manxman, leader of the Inshore Flotilla during its last days in the Far East.  We still have Super-8 film (remermber that?) of Jim and his family on a Sunday banyan on Pulao Ubin in the Johore Strait.  His daughters were about the same age as ours.

 

Please convey our condolences to them and our happy memories of times long gone.

 

Mike"

 


From former CPO(D) Cris Ballinger BEM:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

I attended the funeral of the now late Jim (James Joseph) Cook on Thursday 10th.  It was held in Plymouth at the Efford Crematorium, and as he was an old boss of mine, albeit a short time, and it being on my doorstep so to speak, I attended.  With me was Gerry Martin and his wife, and George Alderton, who was my instructor on my SWDs course 1962.  He is fit and well, and obviously there is nothing wrong with his memory as he recognised me immediately.    

 

Jim had two daughters who are both married, and his wife also attended but is very ill.  They are a small family so we only filled two pews,  Thankfully it was a small church and the service was short.

 

Cheers,

 

Cris"

 


From MCDOA member Geoff Goodwin:

 

"Thanks Rob,

 

Sorry to hear about Jim.  Sympathies and condolences to the family if you are in touch. 

 

Regards,

 

Geoff"

 


From MCDOA past-Chairman David Hilton MBE:

 

"Rob,

 

I was a L/Sea CD2 – Buffer in HMS WILTON – 1973 – 76 – first commission with Lt Cdr Tim Trounson as the Commanding Officer.  Lt John Hendrick was the XO and Diving Officer.  Jim relieved John during the Suez Clearance (Operation Rheostat) in 1976.  Like you, I remember Jim exceptionally well and only wished I could have attended his funeral.

 

Hope all is well.

 

My best regards,

 

David"

 


From former CPO(D) David 'Jim' Bond:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Jim Cook was at Bovisand with Brian Smith, sometime about 1983-85 when I was on the Plymouth team.

 

Regards,

 

Jim Bond"

 


11 Sep 15 - HMS Hurworth to participate in DSEI 15 in London

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article announcing the participation of HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 5 commanded by MCDOA member Steve White) in this year's Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London from 15 to 18 September.  Other UK ships will include HMS Iron Duke and HMS Tyne as well as Royal Marines from 43 Commando carrying out waterborne exercises twice daily using Pacific 24 RHIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats) and ORCs (Offshore Raiding Craft).

 

HMS Hurworth alongside the ExCel Centre for DSEI 15

(Photo courtesy of Darren Smith)

 


8 Sep 15 - NDG deals with suspected ordnance in Edinburgh

 

The STV website contains this article describing today's call-out for members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) to deal with two items of suspected ordnance in Edinburgh.  The items turned out to be two Second World War vintage fire extinguishers.

 

 


7 Sep 15 - Fleet Diving Squadron divers complete marathon charity challenge

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article and the Royal Navy website this article describing the completion of a charity underwater marathon in Horsea Lake on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 September (see third entry for 31 Jul 15).  Congratulations to all involved.

 

 

So far, this exploit has raised £3,500 for the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) but the target is £5,000.  To donate visit:

 

 http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fleetdivingunit1

 


6 Sep 15 - HMS Grimsby joins SNMCMG1 in Hamburg

 

HMS Grimsby (MCM1 Crew 5) has joined Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) and is currently visiting Hamburg.

 

HMS Grimsby joining SNMCMG1

 


2 Sep 15

 

HMS Pembroke to visit Ayr this weekend

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article announcing that HMS Pembroke (MCM1 Crew 4) will visit Ayr this weekend to support the Scottish Airshow.  She will give a capability demonstration on the beach at Low Green prior to the airshow on Saturday (5 Sep) before opening to the public at Compass Pier from 1130 to 1800.

 

HMS Pembroke

(RN website photo)

 


SDU1 EOD call-out to Burnham-on-Sea

 

The Burnham-on-Sea website contains this article describing a call-out last weekend, presumably for members members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1), to deal with suspected unexploded ordnance on the beach at Brean in Somerset.  The item transpired to be non-explosive.

 

 


Award of LS & GC medals

 

Congratulations to PO(MW) S J Oldroyd on being gazetted for the award of the Long Service & Good Conduct (LS & GC) medal.

 


1 Sep 15 - HMS Shoreham returns from Gulf deployment

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article announcing the return last Friday (28 August) of HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 1) to her permanent base at Faslane following her three-year deployment in the Gulf on Operation KIPION (see entry for 21 Aug 15).  The article features LS(MW) Matthew Routliff who became a father during his crew's time away.

 

MCM1 Crew 1 on board HMS Shoreham during their Gulf deployment

(RN website photo)

 


25 Aug 15 - Red letter day for the Diving Museum 

 

 

MCDOA member Dr John Bevan, Chairman of the Historical Diving Society (HDS), today took custody of the medals of Cdr Lionel 'Buster' Crabb OBE GM RNVR.  They are on loan from the National Museum of the Royal Navy and will feature among other Crabb exhibits at the HDS Diving Museum in Stokes Bay.

 

John Bevan receiving the Crabb medals from Chris Gale of the RN museum

 

Chris Gale with John Bevan and Diving Museum volunteers including Martin Marks,

 Kevin Casey, Terry Nash, MCDOA member Les Rutherford and former

RN CDs John Dadd BEM, Mike O'Meara and Jim 'Tommo' Thomson

 

Lionel Crabb's medals comprising the OBE, George Medal, Italian Star,

 Atlantic Star, 1939-45 Star, Defence Medal and War Medal.

 



22 Aug 15 - RN SEALAB III veteran visits diving museum

 

 

 

The Historical Diving Society's museum at Stokes Bay was blessed with a visit by former FCPO(D) Derek 'Nobby' Clark today.  He last visited the museum two years ago (see entry for 28 April 13 in News Archive 42) 

 

Derek 'Nobby' Clark standing next to the Crabb and

Knowles exhibits at the HDS Diving Museum

 

Among his many claims to fame, Nobby portrayed an Italian diver 'stabbed' by Lionel 'Buster' Crabb, played by Lawrence Harvey, in the 1958 film The Silent Enemy.  He was also involved in the recovery of the Welman midget submarine 'W10' by HMS Reclaim in Rothesay Bay in January 1973 (see second entry for 9 Mar 09 in News Archive 25).

 

HMS Reclaim's Chief Diver Derek 'Nobby' Clark and Diving Officer Les Maynard

inspect Welman

 

Nobby was one of the RN exchange personnel involved in the US Navy's multinational SEALAB III project in 610 feet of water off San Clemente Island, California in 1968/9.  This succeeded the SEALAB II (Man in the Sea) project in the La Jolla Canyon off the coast of Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UCSD in La Jolla, California in 205 feet of water.  Other 'Royal Alien Navy' personnel involved in the mysteriously plagued SEALAB III project included the late Surg Vice Admiral Sir John 'Doc' Rawlins KCB, Surg Cdr David Elliott, MCDOA member Cyril Lafferty (also involved in SEALAB II), Lt Cdr Mike Shotter RAN, Lt Cdr Mike Lafontaine RCN and LS(CD) Bill Lukeman RCN.  Their exploits were chronicled on pages 9 to 15 of Vol 15 No 2 and pages 4 and 5 of Vol 16 No 1 of the RN Diving Magazine.

 


PO(CD1) Nobby Clark second left and Lt Cyril Lafferty RN far right

 

The Royal Alien Navy at UW Swim School, Key West, Florida

(Left to right: PO(CD1) Nobby Clark, Lt Cyril Lafferty RN, Lt Cdr Mike Shotter RAN,

 Lt Cdr Mike Lafontaine RCN and (sitting) LS(CD) Bill Lukeman RCN)

 


21 Aug 15 - HMS Shoreham stops at Gibraltar

 

I am grateful to local photographer Daniel Ferro for these images of HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 1) at Gibraltar.  She arrived on Tuesday (18 August) and left yesterday (20 August) en route back to her base at Faslane for the first time since deploying to the Gulf in May 2012.

 

 

         

 


20 Aug 15

 

SDU1 deals with wartime incendiary in Devon

 

The Midweek Herald website contains this article and this article describing yesterday's removal by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of a German 1 kg incendiary discovered in a sealed box at an auction house at Honiton in Devon.

 

     

 


SDU1 detonates mortar bomb in Cornwall

 

The Western Morning News website contains this article describing Tuesday's disposal by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of a mortar bomb on the beach at Watergate Bay near Newquay in Cornwall.  The article features PO(D) Sid Lawrence and LS(D) Chris Hayes.

 

 


19 Aug 15 - FDS removes ordnance from wreck of RFA Darkdale

 

The Navy News website contains this article describing the removal by members of the Fleet Diving Squadron (FDS) of explosive ordnance from the wreck of RFA Darkdale, torpedoed by a U-boat off the remote island of St Helena during the Second World War (see final paragraph in entry for 4 Jun 15 in News Archive 50). 

 

This operation enabled the extraction of oil by divers from the MOD’s Salvage and Marine Operations division to facilitate the safe completion of the island's first airport and all this will entail for the development of activities such as eco-tourism.  The article features MCDOA member Olly Shepherd who led the 12-strong team of Royal Navy divers.

 

A Royal Navy clearance diver scouring the wreck for unexploded shells

(Navy News photo)

 


18 Aug 15 - Moored mine destroyed in Wales by SDU1

 

The BBC website contains this article, including video, describing yesterday's disposal by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of a buoyant mine on the beach at Burry Port in Carmarthenshire.

 

 

The word "INGLESIDE" suggests an association wth the US minewarfare forces based at the US Naval Station Ingleside near COMINEWARCOM's headquarters at Corpus Christi in Texas between 1992 and 2009; a previously-zapped US Exercise Mk 6?

 


16 Aug 15 - John Dadd to give talk on Operation BLACKLEG 

 

 

Former WO(D) John Dadd BEM, one of the volunteers at the Historical Diving Society's museum in Stokes Bay, will be giving an illustrated presentation on Operation BLACKLEG, the Royal Navy's deep diving salvage of classified material from HMS Coventry, bombed and sunk during the Falklands conflict.  John was the Diving Supervisor during the salvage and his talk will cover the loss of the vessel and the subsequent salvage operation.

 

John Dadd talking to members of LS(D) PQC 106 at the Diving Museum last month

 

This talk is one of the museum's 'Horse's Mouth History' talks which will take place in The Diving Museum from 1900 on Saturday 12 September. Tickets will be available at the door on the night for £6 which will also cover the cost of refreshments and nibbles.

 

 


14 Aug 15 - MCDOA AGM, Operational Updates & Annual Dinner

 

 

From our Honorary Secretary, Mark Shaw:

 

"Sirs, Fellow Members,

 

 ASSOCIATION ANNUAL DINNER 2015

 

This year’s association dinner will be held in HMS Excellent’s Wardroom on Friday 20 November 2015.

 

We are very fortunate to have as the guest speaker, Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey KCB, current Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and previous Second Sea Lord.

 

 

The evening will follow the traditional format commencing with pre-dinner drinks in the bar at 1900 followed by food and refreshments and a hearty sing-song to the musical accompaniment of the HMS Nelson Volunteer Band before retiring to the bar   The dinner is open to members of the association, members of its affiliated Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officers' Club, and their guests only.  If a non-member wishes to attend the dinner and is eligible to join the association (serving or retired), then they will be asked to complete the membership process prior to being offered a place at the dinner.  WO1 (D/MW) are also welcome to attend as a guest of a member.

 

The cost of the dinner will be £45 for members and £50 for guests.  This will include a welcome drink, four course meal, wine, port and drinks in the bar.

 

Accommodation in HMS EXCELLENT transit block has been reserved so please indicate on your application form if you require a bed allocating. 

 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of LMCDO courses '90A & '90B. (Dave Bence, Tony Carruthers (MWO), Graham ‘Griff’ Collins, Nick Davis (MWO), Phil Ireland DSC, John Law, Tim Lewis (MWO), Jim Nisbet, Alastair Stangroom, Jim Tyrwhitt-Drake (MWO), Tony Welch (MWO), Steve 'Steamy' Window and Andrew 'Brigham' Young).  Any service leavers (who are paid up members) wishing to be dined out are requested to contact the Hon Sec.

 

The AGM (details in a separate calling notice) will be held prior to the dinner.  Members are encouraged to attend this important serial and make your voices heard to the committee.  

 

Payment can be made by cash, cheque or online bank transfer.  Please ensure I receive hard or soft copy application forms by Fri 6th Nov 15.

 

Looking forward to seeing you all on the night,

 

Mark"

 

The calling notice and booking form for the Annual Dinner is available for download here and via the 'Forthcoming Events' page.

 


13 Aug 15 - The RNR Diving Branch

 

The Royal Naval Reserve Diving Branch has recently produced a pamphlet describing its aim, role, entry requirements, training and activities.  A pdf version can be downloaded here.

 

 

Congratulations to the five individuals who passed the Initial Air Phase of RNR Diver Training at the Defence Diving School (DDS) on Horsea Island on 24 July. 

 

 

This gives a flavour of what they underwent:

 

         

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

         

 

 

 

         

 

 

 


12 Aug 15 - Peter Laughton visits Tristan da Cunha

 

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing the recent visit of the Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster, commanded by MCDOA member Peter Laughton MBE, to the remote island of Tristan da Cunha in company with RFA Gold Rover.  HMS Lancaster is midway through a nine-month deployment. So far, she has sailed 22,000 miles and undertaken ten port visits on three continents.

 

HMS Lancaster sailing past Tristan da Cunha

(RN website photo)

 


11 Aug 15

 

HMS Chiddingfold rendezvous with USS Gladiator in the Gulf

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing a recent meeting and stores transfer between HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 7) and USS Gladiator in the Gulf.

 

 

(RN website photos)

 

 


NDG conducts Garvie Island EOD

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article, including video, and the Navy News website this article describing the latest clean-up of the bombing range off Garvie Island by members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG).  Both articles feature AB(D) Stephen Kenrick and the Navy News website article also features Lt ‘Castro’ Castrinoyannakis.

 

Placement of a Diver Placed Charge (4lbs of PE7) on an MC bomb

(RN website photo)

 


10 Aug 15 - New MCDOA Membership Secretary required

 

Congratulations to Dave Stanbury on being appointed as PSO (Principal Staff Officer) to Standing NATO MCM Group 2 (SNMCMG2).  After the necessary courses and briefings, he will be deployed on board the Turkish MEKO frigate TCG Barbaros, mainly in the Mediterranean, from October 2015 to October 2016.  He is uncertain of connectivity and his ability to maintain and update the membership database.  As a result, we are looking for a new Membership Secretary ASAP.  This task is not unduly onerous but it is essential.  If you are willing to take on the post, please email him via this address.

 


9 Aug 15 - SDU1 detonates grenade in sea off Hengistbury Head

 

The Bournemouth Daily Echo website contains this article describing the disposal, presumably by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1), of a live grenade found in the garden of a home in Kinson in Dorset.  It was detonated in the sea off Hengistbury Head.

 

 

 


6 Aug 15 - Funeral of ex-CPO(CD1) Gordon 'Hoppy' Hopewell BEM

 

Hoppy's funeral was held yesterday at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Fareham (see entry for 26 Jul 15).  It comprised a Service of Thanksgiving incorporating a Roman Catholic mass and was attended by CD Branch members Cris Ballinger BEM, Mick Fellows MBE DSC BEM*, Rob Hoole, Colin 'Scouse' Kidman QGM, Dickie Radford, Ray Ramsay, Troy Tempest and Jim 'Tommo' Thomson.  Fellow MCDOA member Graham 'Tug' Wilson MBE was delayed but attended the reception that followed.  The service was also attended by Hoppy's wife Margaret, his son Gordon (Jr) and his daughters Kathleen and Amanda together with their own families.  There were many other well-wishers including Claire Harris, daughter of the late MCD officer Sydney 'Jackie' Warner MBE DSC.

 

 

The service opened with a welcome and greeting by Father Joe before we sang the hymn 'You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord' by Michael Joncas.  The casket, overlaid with the Union Flag, was then sprinkled with holy water, incensed and dressed.  After the opening prayer, the First Reading comprised a Liturgy from the Book of Solomon's Wisdom 3:1-4 (But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God).  The congregation then sang Psalm 23 (The Lord's My Shepherd) to the tune of Crimond.  The Second Reading was taken from I Corinthians 13:1-7 (Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels...) and was followed by a Gospel reading from John 14:1-6 (Let not your heart be troubled).  Father Joe then provided the Homily, followed by the bidding prayers and communion rite.  Ave Maria, the Holy Communion hymn, was beautifully sung by Cathy Coombes before more prayers and the blessing.  The recessional hymn was the naval hymn 'Eternal Father', including the divers' verse penned by the late MCDOA member 'Uncle Bill' Filer MBE GM, after which the congregation departed.

 

The family attended a short cremation at Portchester while most of us travelled to the Hill Park Working Men's Club where refreshments were served and a tot was drunk in Hoppy's memory.  I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our sincere condolences to Hoppy's wife Margaret and her family. 

 

Gordon 'Hoppy' Hopewell BEM

(21 Aug 1922 - 17 Jul 2015)

 


5 Aug 15 - HMS Atherstone returning to the UK

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article announcing the return of HMS Atherstone to the UK at the end of this year following a three-year deployment in the Gulf on Operation KIPION.  She will be brought back by MCM2 Crew 4 which has just taken her over from MCM2 Crew 1.  Crew 1 has now returned to the UK after being deployed in the Gulf for the past seven months.  The article features MCDO Lt Tom Hazel RN.

 

HMS Atherstone's ship's company

(RN website photo)

 


31 Jul 15

 

MWA Southern Dit Session

 

Last night's Mine Warfare Association (MWA) southern area 'monthly dit session' was held at The Lord Arthur Lee in Fareham and attracted several attendees including MCDOA dual-members Yours Truly and Martyn Holloway.

 

 


NDG detonates shell found on Moray beach

 

The Aberdeen Press & Journal website contains this article describing yesterday's disposal by members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) of a naval projectile found on Burghead beach at Moray in Scotland.

 

     

 

 


Charity underwater marathon at Horsea in September

 

Members of the Fleet Diving Squadron (FDS) are to complete an underwater 26-mile marathon at Horsea Island over 30 hours in September.  Pairs of divers, working in relays, will walk the length of Horsea Lake wearing lead-lined boots, helmet and breathing apparatus while pulling a support boat carrying three personnel and extra kit.  The group will complete the 42.2 legs to raise funds for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC).

 

 

To donate visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fleetdivingunit1

 


30 Jul 15 - HMS Bangor works with the Egyptian Navy

 

The Navy News website contains this article describing a joint-naval exercise called SAFAGA SHARK involving HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 8) and the Egyptian Jianghu I class destroyer ENS Najim Al Zafir off Alexandria in the eastern Mediterranean.  HMS Bangor was en route to the Gulf where she will take the place of one of the four RN minehunters based in Bahrain for up to three years, with crews rotating every six months.

 

All images from the Navy News website.

 

 

 

 


29 Jul 15 - NDG deals with mortar bomb at Walney

 

The BBC website contains this article describing today's disposal by members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) of a live mortar bomb found on the beach at Walney in Cumbria.

 

 


28 Jul 15 - Reservists deployed as part of UK MCM Battle Staff

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing the deployment of Lt Peter Weaver and PO(MW) Mark Dugan, both formerly RN but now serving in the RNR, as members of the Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force (COMUKMCMFOR) Battle Staff embarked in RFA Cardigan Bay in the Gulf.

 

PO(MW) Dugan and Lt Weaver working on board RFA Cardigan Bay

(RN website photo)

 


26 Jul 15 - Arrangements for the funeral of ex-CPO(CD1) Gordon 'Hoppy' Hopewell BEM

 

A thanksgiving service for Hoppy Hopewell (see entry for 18 Jul 15) will be held at The Church of the Sacred Heart in Fareham, on Wednesday 5 August at 1000, followed by a cremation lasting approximately 15 minutes at Portchester Crematorium.

 

Family flowers only but donations to the Alzheimer's Society may be sent to M. Coghlan Funeral Diretors, Westbury Road, Fareham PO16 7XU.  Tel No: 01329 282711.  Website address: www.coghlan.net

 

A wake will be held at Hill Park Memorial Working Men's Club, 78 Highlands Road, Fareham.  All are welcome to attend any, or all, of the aforementioned.

 


25 Jul 15 - SDU2 destroys grenade on Isle of Wight

 

The IOW Radio website contains this article and the IOW County Press Online website this article describing today's disposal by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) of a grenade found yesterday on the beach at Watershoot Bay near Ventnor on the Isle of Wight.

 

 


24 Jul 15 - Bomb Disposal & High Risk Search Experience Day

 

Robin Bennett, Honorary Secretary of the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Officers' Club (REBDOC) with which the MCDOA is affiliated, has sent me this announcement:

 

"Rob,

 

Can you circulate to the RN EOD Community please [click on the image below]

 

 

BD75 aims to raise £75,000 for national & local forces charities - BLESMA, The REA Benevolent Fund and Walking with the Wounded, but this is also an unparalleled hands-on opportunity to refresh your EOD & military skills.

 

Responses to RSM 33 Engr Regt (EOD) please.

 

Many thanks,

 

Robin"

 


22 Jul 15 - Award of LS & GC medals

 

Congratulations to CPO(D) Mike 'Kas' Kasapi on being gazetted for the award of the Clasp to the Long Service & Good Conduct (LS & GC) medal and to PO(D) Bob McCann, PO(MW) Dougie Seaman and LS(D) James Craker on being gazetted for the award of the LS & GC medal.  The relevant announcements in the London Gazette can be found here and here.

 


21 Jul 15 - HMS Atherstone's divers clear debris from Dubai harbour

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing the recent clearance of debris from Dubai harbour by divers from HMS Atherstone (MCM2 Crew1).  The article features AB(D) Thomas Oliver, the youngest member of the Crazy A’s diving team.

 

RN website image

 


20 Jul 15 - Explosive Ordnance Disposal in Herne Bay, Kent

 

The Kent Online website contains this article, including a video, describing the disposal, presumably by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2), of a suspected Second World War 2-inch mortar bomb on the beach at Hampton in Herne Bay yesterday.

 

     

 


18 Jul 15 - Death of ex-CPO(CD1) Gordon 'Hoppy' Hopewell BEM

 

I have received this sad news from former WO(D) John Dadd BEM:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Learnt very sadly today that Hoppy Hopewell had passed away, yesterday [Friday].   Could you post this information on the MCDOA website please?

 

His daughter is informing me once the funeral arrangements are made so I will let you know the details.

 

Yours aye,

 

John"

 

Gordon 'Hoppy' Hopewell was one of the many boys trained for employment in the Royal Navy or Merchant Navy on board the Training Ship TS Arethusa (Shaftesbury Homes).  It was here as a 13-year-old boy in 1935 that he met the late CPO(CD1) Arthur Quantrill 'Ginger' Bryant BEM with whom he later served in the ill-fated battleship HMS Barham during the Second World War and in the post-war RN Clearance Diving Branch.  Their friendship lasted 73 years until Ginger's death in 2008. 

 

Hoppy joined the Royal Navy as a 15-year-old Boy 2nd Class at HMS Ganges on 8 November 1937.  He served in HMS Dunedin (light cruiser), HMS Resource (repair ship in the Mediterranean), HMS Barham (battleship), HMS Canopus (shore base at Alexandria),  HMS Stag & HMS Nile (shore bases in the eastern Mediterranean), HMS Vernon (where he qualified as a Diver 2nd Class and returned many times thereafter during his career), HMS Wolfe (armed mercahant cruiser), HMS Marlborough (torpedo establishment at Eastbourne), HMS Reclaim (deep diving vessel), HMS Maidstone (submarine depot ship), HMS Dingley (diving tender), HMS Tamar (shore base in Singapore), HMS Shoulton (minehunter), HMS Osprey (shore base at Portland) and HMS Eskmo (Tribal class frigate).

 

By 1955, he was a CPO(CD1) serving on the Home Station Clearance Diving Team.  He was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) in the 1958 Queen's Birthday Honours while serving on the Far East Fleet Clearance Diving Team in Hong Kong.  On leaving the Royal Navy in August 1972, Hoppy understudied the late 'Uncle Bill' Filer MBE GM at the Royal Naval Physiological Laboratory's Deep Trials Unit at Alverstoke and I remember being subjected to his tender mercies as one of the guinea pigs for the 90 metre Trimix trials in 1979.  He continued to enjoy an active social life with his old CD friends long into his retirement.

 

     

Left: Joe Maher, Ted Setchell, Gordon 'Hoppy' Hopewell, Rob Hoole and Spike Wheeler after

Ginger Bryant's funeral in Cressing near Braintree in January 2008

Right: Bill Filer, Hoppy Hopewell (reading a digest of MCDOA news), Claire Harris, Rob Hoole,

Tony 'Willie' Wilkes' partner Maureen and Willie at Lee-on-the-Solent Tennis Club in April 2009

 

     

Derek 'Maggie' Lockwood, Joe Maher, Stew 'George' Sissons

and Gordon 'Hoppy' Hopewell (plus Chris 'Paddy' Doonan)

in the Royal Maritime Club in Portsmouth in June 2011

 

I will publish funeral arrangements when available.  In the meantime, I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our deepest sympathy and condolences to Hoppy's family, friends and former colleagues.

 


From former WO(D) Ray Ramsay:

 

"Rob,

 

I first met 'Hoppy' when I joined HMS Vernon for my CD’s course.  He was in charge of the Training section.

 

I didn't meet him again until about the late 1980s.  He used the same watering hole as me, he enjoyed a tot, and I spent many an hour listening to his tales, mostly about others, rarely about himself.  I last saw him about a year ago.  

 

A lovely person, very good company and always smiling.  A true Yorkshireman and proud of it.

 

Ray"

 


From ex-CD Mike O'Meara:

 

"Rob,

 

So very sorry to hear the sad news that Hoppy has crossed the bar.  He was my Chief Diver at Horsea when I was rated killick and waiting to do my CD2's course.  He gave me memorable 'advice' which I've never forgotten.  He was a true Gent.

 

Mike"

 


12 Jul 15 - HDS Museum short-listed as one of UK's top six family-friendly museums

 

 

Following yesterday's publicity in the Portsmouth News 'Weekend' supplement for the Historical Diving Society (HDS) Diving Museum at Stokes Bay, today's Sunday Telegraph 'Living' supplement contains this article featuring the museum among the top six contenders for its UK-wide Family Friendly Museum Award.  The short list had previously been whittled down to 20 (see entry for 5 Jun 15 in News Archive 50).

 

 

The article includes these interesting paragraphs:

 

 

Interestingly, the Business section of the same newspaper contains this snippet about QinetiQ's new mobile system designed to help reduce a ship's magnetic and acoustic signatures and featuring an image of HMS Hurworth:

 

 

The Daily Telegraph had already published this article describing QinetiQ's transportable range on 11 July.

 


11 Jul 15 - Former CDs feature in HDS Diving Museum article

 

 

 

The 'Weekend' supplement of today's Portsmouth News contains this front-page article marking the fifth anniversay of the Historical Diving Society (HDS) museum at Stokes Bay. 

 

 

It features interviews with former WO(D) John Dadd BEM and ex-CD Jim 'Tommo' Thomson, both of whom are volunteer curators and guides at the museum

 

 

 


10 Jul 15 - Royal Navy's first MCD Admiral takes up NATO post

 

Congratulations to MCDOA President Paddy McAlpine on shipping his second star with effect from 6 July and assuming his post as Deputy Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) in Portugal today (see entry for 1 Jun 15 in News Archive 50) .

 

         

Left: Rear Admiral Tim Lowe being superseded by Rear Admiral Paddy

McAlpine CBE ADC as Deputy Commander STRIKFORNATO today

Right: Paddy in his new office in Oeiras, Portugal

 


9 Jul 15 - RN Diving Course visits HDS Museum

I am grateful to MCDOA Membership Secretary Dave Stanbury of the Defence Diving School (DDS) for these images of a visit by members of Leading Divers course 106 to the Historical Diving Society's (HDS) museum at Stokes Bay last Tuesday.  They were accompanied by MCDOA member Mick Beale and shown around by former WO(D) John Dadd BEM and ex-CD Jim 'Tommo' Thomson, both of whom are volunteer curators and guides at the museum:

 

 

The course also presented an old underwater video camera to the museum.  It was previously owned by CPO(D) Mike ‘Kas’ Kasapi, an instructor at DDS.

 

 

According to LS(D) Richard Stanley:

 

“LS(D) PQC 106 were extremely proud to visit and present an old underwater video camera to the Diving Museum to add to one of the largest collections of historical diving equipment in the UK.”

 

The HDS Museum is open to the general public at weekends until the end of the summer season when it closes (except for special groups) for maintenance over the winter.  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 the HDS Chairman, MCDOA associate member Dr 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.  Thanks to the staunch support and generosity of our volunteers, the museum has come a long way since we started working on it over five years ago (see third entry for 16 Jun 10 in News Archive 30).

 

 


8 Jul 15 - Gentlemen Who Lunch

 

The MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio of Barlow, Holloway and Hoole was out and about again yesterday, this time at The Fox Goes Free at Singleton near Goodwood in West Sussex.  We were joined for the occasion by my next door neighbour Lez.

 

 


7 Jul 15 - Felix Fund Sponsorship Appeal

 

I am grateful to MCDOA member Alex Bush for this announcement:

 

"A team of eight cyclists made up of military and civil service personnel and members of Defence Industry will shortly undertake the daunting challenge of riding bicycles from one end of the country to the other (approximately 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End) in aid of the Felix Fund charity. 

 

The Felix Fund supports bomb disposal experts and their families. The Fund provides welfare assistance and financial support for anyone who has assisted with bomb disposal duties; from EOD operatives to dog handlers and infantry escorts, as well as others.  Any support you can give will be gratefully received.

 

A link is here for your convenience:

 

https://www.justgiving.com/RollingFelix/

 

Yours,

 

Alex Bush

 

Cdr A J T Bush MA CMgr MCMI RN

Defence EOD and Search SO1 Training

Blenheim Building

Marlborough Lines

Andover"

 


6 Jul 15 - A new Tedworth for the divers

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article, including a video featuring MCDOA past-Chairman David Hilton MBE (Base Services Manager), describing the naming of the Royal Navy's new 15 metre diving workboat TEDWORTH at Portsmouth Naval Base.

 

 

TEDWORTH was built in Portchester by Meercat Workboats and will be manned by BAe Systems personnel.  She replaces the 30-year-old HAMBLE GUARDIAN as a platform from which divers can perform underwater engineering tasks.

 

TEDWORTH being named by Carmen Greenlees, wife of Portsmouth

Naval Base's head of infrastructure Captain Iain Greenlees RN

(Portsmouth News photo)

 

The Second World War diving tender called HMS Tedworth was a converted First World War coal-burning Hunt class minesweeper known as a ‘Smokey Joe’.  In March 1946, she was replaced by the former German torpedo trials ship and seaplane carrier Walter Holtzapfel, a war-prize, which was commissioned into the Royal Navy as the deep diving tender HMS Deepwater (see 'HMS Reclaim - A World Record-Beater' in the website's Dit Box).

 

HMS Tedworth

 


2 Jul 15 - HMS Quorn returns from SNMCMG1 deployment

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article and the Portsmouth News website this article describing today's return to Portsmouth of HMS Quorn (MCM2 Crew 3) after nearly three months deployed with Standing NATO MCM Group 1 (SNMCMG1) in the Baltic and elsewhere.  The article features AB(MW) Ryan Smout.  RN website photos by LA(Phot) Ian Simpson.

 

 

 

 


1 Jul 15

 

FDU2 divers in multi-national bomb disposal exercise off west coast of Canada.

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing the participation of members of Portsmouth-based Fleet Diving Unit 2 (FDU2) in the six-nation EOD/IEDD exercise ARDENT DEFENDER in British Columbia.  The article features MCDOA members Ben Stait (CO Fleet Diving Group) and Sean 'Central' Heaton (OIC FDU2) as well as AB(D) Kieran ‘Charlie’ Dimmock.

 

All photos courtesy of the RN website.

 

         

 

 

          

 


SDU1 detonates incendiary

 

The Western Morning News website contains this article, including a video, describing yesterday's detonation by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of a Second World War incendiary removed from a property at Whipton in Exeter.

 


Award of LS & GC medals

 

Congratulations to CPO(D) J. E. J. Smith on being gazetted for the award of the Clasp to the Long Service & Good Conduct (LS & GC) medal and to LS(D) M. O. Dickinson on being gazetted for the award of the LS & GC medal.  The relevant announcement in the London Gazette can be found here.

 


 

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