Items from The News, Navy News and Warship World are reproduced by kind permission of David Brown, Jim Allaway and Mike Critchley respectively.  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

30 Dec 2003 -  Neil 'Wiggy' Wiggins


Sadly, Neil 'Wiggy' Wiggins died in particularly tragic circumstances on 23 Dec at the age of 47.  Having transferred to the CD Branch and won his spurs, Wiggy became Sat qualified as a CD2 in 1981 and served with MCDOA member Duncan Bridge in Seaforth Clansman before leaving the RN as a PO(D) in 1983.  He dived for several years with COMEX before moving to Stena and finally hung up his fins five years ago to become a bridge engineer.  He leaves behind his wife Lou and children Jess (18) and Zach (11).


The funeral will take place PM on Wed 7 Jan in the Portsmouth area.  Details are available from the webmaster at


20 Dec 2003 - HMS Kent returns from deployment


The following item from today's Portsmouth News features MCDOA member Jim Nisbet as CO of HMS Kent and describes the ship's return to Portsmouth from her deployment to the Middle East and West Africa.


Jim Nisbet return in HMS Kent 20 Dec 03.jpg (375265 bytes)


19 Dec 2003 - Farewell to Topsy


Sadly for us, MCDOA Honorary Secretary David 'Topsy' Turner has announced his intention to follow in the footsteps of Gordon Stamp and Blair Cliffe and will join the RNZN next summer as Staff Officer (MCM) based in Devonport Naval Base, Auckland.  I'm sure all members join me in wishing Topsy and Yvonne all the best for their new life in Godzone.


As Topsy will not be around for next year's annual dinner, the Association will dine him out at the Northern dinner in Faslane on 27 Feb 04.  Booking details are available on the Upcoming Events page of the Members Only area of the website.


Tony Griffiths has kindly agreed to take over Topsy's responsibilities as Honorary Secretary.  Tug Wilson, our Honorary Treasurer, has already assumed the role of Membership Secretary.


12 Dec 2003 - Transformation of HMS Vernon


Several new items have been added to the section on HMS Vernon about its continuing transformation into Gunwharf Quays and the saga of the Millennium Spinnaker Tower.


11 Dec 2003 - Wanted: Photos of MCMVs


Rob Hoole has been commissioned by Maritime Books to produce a book featuring photos of RN MCMVs, preferably ones with 'Wow factor'.  If you can help, please e-mail him at


4 Dec 2003 - SDU2 Grenade Incident


The following item from today's Portsmouth News features Dave Welch and describes a recent SDU2 EOD incident.  He must have built up quite a nice collection by now.


SDU2 Grenade 4 Dec 03.jpg (25231 bytes)


1 Dec 2003 - Navy News Items


The following MCD-related items from the December issue of Navy News may be of interest.  They include articles on the Northern Diving Group (featuring John Burden), an underwater expedition in Belize by DDS staff, new transport for SDU1 plus reviews of new books about the Algerines and the recovery by RN divers of U-boat secrets during WW I.  Click to enlarge them.


          Navy News Dec 03 e.jpg (602625 bytes)    Navy News Dec 03 a.jpg (525175 bytes)    Navy News Dec 03 b.jpg (127977 bytes)    Navy News Dec 03 c.jpg (112839 bytes)    Navy News Dec 03 d.jpg (329471 bytes)


29 Nov 2003 - Promotion


Warmest congratulations to MCDOA member Grenville Johnson on news of his promotion to Acting Captain from 1 Jan 04.  Nice to see someone from our disreputable long course make it but will this mean Sandra having to decant the tomato ketchup into a silver sauce boat in future?



27 Nov 2003 - Rugby World Cup Follow-Up


Rugby aficionados will appreciate several new additions to the Funnies page of the Members Only area.


26 Nov 2003 - SDU2 Grenade Incident


The following item from today's Portsmouth News features MCDOA member Dave Welch and describes a recent SDU2 EOD incident.


SDU2 Grenade 26 Nov 03.jpg (147200 bytes)


16 Nov 2003 - AGM and Annual Dinner


Thirty-six members were treated to a fascinating set of presentations describing the past year's MW and Diving operations on Friday at FDGHQ, Horsea Island and there were more attendees for the lunch and AGM that followed.  In the evening, eighty-four members and guests enjoyed a superb dinner in HMS Excellent.  The food, standard of service, highly entertaining speeches and general atmosphere were better than ever this year and there were no queues at the bar!  Pictures of the day's events can be seen in the Photo Galleries of the Members Only area. 


The minutes of the AGM will be posted on the site when available.  Of particular significance, Capt Colin Welborn RN has been endorsed as our new Honorary President relieving Capt Chris Massie-Taylor OBE RN who has given us such sterling service over the past few years.  All committee members were re-elected except Cdr Mike Kooner MBE, a founder committee member, who has asked to stand down owing to other commitments.  Thanks, Mike, for all your efforts in the past.


6 Nov 2003 - Funeral arrangements for Mick Curry


Mick Curry will be buried near Tiverton, Devon on Wed 12 Nov shortly after 1400.  The webmaster ( can forward full details on request.


4 Nov 2003 - Mick Curry


The following announcement has been received via the Secretary of the Association of RN First Class Divers:


"From Jan Johns - Mick Curry passed away Friday 31st October at Western-Super-Mare.  I've just spoken to Anne his wife and funeral arrangements are being made, hopefully, for the 12th November. Once finalised, Anne will let me know."


1 Nov 2003 - FDU3 in Mediterranean


The following item from the November issue of Navy News features MCDOA member John Herriman and describes EOD Ops off Cyprus.


FDU 3 Navy News Nov 03.jpg (219077 bytes)


31 Oct 2003


Operational Awards for Operation Telic


Many congratulations to MCDOA member Phil Ireland for the award of the DSC and to fellow members Mike Leaney and Peter Laughton on being appointed as MBEs in today's list of awards for service during Operation Telic.  Also, congratulations to all those other RN personnel whose service in MCM operations during Operation Telic is represented by these awards.   Of further note, MCDOA member Kev Giles and Jeff Chapman (civilian associate member) of MWC were awarded CINCFLEET Commendations, PO(Diver) Simon 'Bernie' Lovell and LS(Diver) Lee Edmunson were awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS) and PO(Diver) Antony Dixon was awarded a Mention in Despatches (MID).


Funeral Arrangements for 'Brookie' Brooke-Foster 


The following announcement has been received via the Secretary of the Association of RN First Class Divers:


"Bernard 'Brookie' Brooke-Foster died on 24th October aged 81.  His funeral service will be held at Gorleston Crematorium, Norfolk on Tuesday 4th November at 2pm, then afterwards at the Cliff Hotel.  All are welcome.  Flowers to be sent to Jary & Sons, 43 High Street, Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk."


30 Oct 2003 - Annual Operational Update, AGM and Dinner


For those yet to respond, please note that the deadline is now for applications to attend the annual MCDOA operational update, AGM and dinner on 14 Nov 03.


The programme will comprise:

1000           MW and Diving operational update in Reclaim Bldg, Horsea Island.

1200 ish      Buffet Lunch in the bar (free).

1400           AGM in Reclaim Building, Horsea Island.

1930           Annual Dinner in the Wardroom, HMS Excellent (members 35, non-member guests 40).

Application forms, agenda and proxy voting forms are still available for download and printing from the Upcoming Events page of the Members Only area.


For MRUs, completed application forms and proxy voting slips can be e-mailed to Topsy Turner, our Honorary Secretary, at  For WMPs, completed forms should be posted with cheques to Topsy at the address provided on the Upcoming Events page of the Members Only area.


27 Oct 2003 - New additions to Members Only Area


The Members Only area now includes the Association's constitution, past issues of Five Bells (the Association's Newsletter), new funnies, and personal updates from MCDOA members Jon Riches, Paul Davey and David Sandiford.  Bona fide members may apply for access by clicking the REGISTER button on the left of the page, completing the short form that appears and submitting it.  The webmaster will inform applicants by e-mail when their access has been enabled. 


25 Oct 2003 - Tich Halsall's Funeral Arrangements


The following announcement has been received via the Secretary of the Association of RN First Class Divers:

"The coroner's inquest in the Isle of Man has taken place and concluded this morning so the funeral arrangements can proceed as provisionally announced yesterday.


The funeral will be at the Douglas Borough Cemetery Crematorium at 14:00 hours on Wednesday 29th of October.  (The entrance to the cemetery is opposite the TT Races Grandstand in Douglas).


Afterwards, refreshments will be served at the Douglas Bay Yatch Club at Douglas Harbour where Helen, the boys and family would like to meet everyone.


Family flowers only please.  Donations in lieu of flowers, if so desired, should be sent to:

   --  the Isle of Man Hyperbaric Chamber, Peel Road Douglas
   --  or to St Bridget's Hospice, Kensington Road, Douglas.


All enquiries please to Eric Faragher Ltd, Funeral Directors, Main Road, Onchan, IoM.  Tel:   01624  673  109  /  01624  622  897.


Georges Arnoux

Group Diving Manager
Stolt Offshore MS

Tel: + 44 (0) 1224 718 647 (direct)
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 718 200 (switchboard)
Mobile: +44 (0) 7831 864 004
Fax: + 44 (0) 1224 715 129

11 Oct 2003 - SDU2 in Action


The following item from today's Portsmouth News features MCDOA member Dave Welch and describes a recent SDU2 EOD incident.


SDU2 Cannonballs 11 Oct 03.jpg (452500 bytes) 


10 Oct 2003 - MCDO of the Month Competition


Submitted by MCDOA member Gordon Stamp (now RNZN).  No prizes for the correct answer but members are invited to identity this ex-RN Peter Pan of the MCD Branch spotted in last month's Australian Defence Magazine.  The Webmaster is particularly interested in sourcing a similar toupee.


MCDO of the Month Oct 03.jpg (687340 bytes)


3 Oct 2003


Booking Forms, Agenda and Proxy Voting Slips for this year's AGM and Dinner may now be downloaded and printed from the Upcoming Events page of the Members Only area.


1 Oct 2003 - Navy News Items


The following MCD-related items from the October issue of Navy News may be of interest.  For younger members, the late Lt Cdr Lawrence McCauly Jay MBE (first item) was the First Lieutenant of HMS Vernon in the mid 1970s before he became OIC of the RN Display Team and, latterly, the Commanding Officer of HMS Victory.  During his tenure in Vernon, he demonstrated his broad range of artistic talent by organising wonderful and often surreal theme parties and other social events; who will ever forget Glorious Goodwood, the Mediaeval Banquet at Beaulieu or the crushed polystyrene 'snow' that lingered in the wardroom long after the superb Dickensian theme Christmas balls?  He also directed the annual Vernon Searchlight Tattoo that rivalled the Royal Tournament in its scale and variety of performers.  Other articles feature HMS Brecon, HMS Ledbury, HMS Bangor, HMS Pembroke and SDU2.


         Navy News Oct 03 d.jpg (81375 bytes)    Navy News Oct 03 f.jpg (97375 bytes)    Navy News Oct 03 b.jpg (145202 bytes)    Navy News Oct 03 c.jpg (56221 bytes)    Navy News Oct 03 g.jpg (171417 bytes)    Navy News Oct 03 a.jpg (165576 bytes)    Navy News Oct 03 e.jpg (58258 bytes)



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