RBL Kyrenia Branch and the
Murky World of Royal Navy Divers
By Chris Elliott……..
It’s nice to get away from the office and socialise and meet with friends and at the same time learn even more of what’s going on in Northern Cyprus and recently I went along to a Royal British Legion Kyrenia Branch meeting.
The meeting was opened in typical fashion with the act of remembrance and the parading in of the RBL Branch Standard and then the meeting commenced with many members listening and participating by asking questions. At the closure of the meeting the branch standard was paraded out of the room.
Following this meeting there was a fascinating talk given by Commander Paul Jones the new Events Secretary entitled “The murky world of Royal Navy divers“
To most people’s surprise, Paul explained that diving was first developed in the British Army by a Colonel Charles Pasley in 1838 with training being given to some naval personnel and then 6 years later a Lance Corporal Jones started the Royal Navy diver training unit.
During the Second World War diving had developed at a pace although it could be said by modern standards some of the equipment of the day had not developed at an equal pace. However during this period the needs for both shallow water and deep water divers for ordnance disposal or salvage work ensured diving developed at a great pace.
Naturally with the continuation of warfare in places like the Falklands, Iran and Afghanistan the role of divers continued to develop and skills and techniques to levels beyond the comprehension of those very early divers.
Paul joined the Royal Navy as a Midshipman in 1979 and his early experiences of divers was to see them disappearing into the deep murky water at the side of his ship. On being transferred to submarines he soon found himself being designated diving officer along with others who after diving training they were responsible for diving and maintenance around the submarine in all conditions.
By 1989 after being close up and seeing the work of the best of the international military diving teams and the dangerous work they were doing he decided to take further training and to be involved in this area of diving but I will not recount any more of Paul’s navy experiences as he will want to share those with other folks at talks in the future.