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Reading Justin Owen’s thread Equipment - first dry suit Floaty feet

Or the total opposite. Reminds me of my introduction to diving.
Navy trained I’ll start from the beginning. 22yrs old at the time. 1964.
Thought I might like to join the submarine service with it’s extra money, already been with the RN general service for 6 years and now based in Chatham, so off I go for a medical [you need an additional medical for subs] passed that ok and waited for a vacancy. After a couple of months checked up to see how my application was going. No joy and the waiting list is a mile long. Sod this lets be a diver instead extra 5 bob a day, not as much as subs but it will have to do.
Off to get my diving medical same doc as the one for subs. What are you back for says the doc, told him I wanted to be a diver given up on the sub idea. He says the medical is the same one as for subs so he signs my medical ticket and sends me on my way.
About a month later get sent to HMS Vernon in Portsmouth for an aptitude test, Navy is not going to waste money on training you if you don’t take to the water from the start.
First thing into the recompression chamber and takes us down to about 120-140 ft I’m still working in old money, any fears about being in confined spaces or ear trouble and it’s soon sorted. All four of us a bit micky mousie. After that the instructors show us how to put on a dry suit. Old Navy suits no zips in them days climb in through the hole at the top. We have a run through with the sets SABA’s twins inverted back weight pack takes about 10 x 1.5lb front 6 x 1.5lb so we have plenty of weight. Full facemask.
The instructor throws a great length of rope at me and says you will need this. I say aren’t I suppose to have some fins actually I called them flippers, a silly grin comes over his face and says pick em up on your way out.
Here’s your fins two 12lb lead boots knot the laces and sling them around your neck. No chance of Floaty feet here.
Christ am I going to jump into the water with this lot. ” I’ll drown”
It’s about ½ mile walk to the quayside at Vernon Creek and I’m knackered before I start.
I’m second in the water, we have a stand by diver and attendants and a diving officer should be ok if anything goes wrong.
So there I am standing on the quay side with all this weight about to jump 10ft to the water line lucky I’ve got a life line on, close your eyes and step forward hold your face mask with one hand and pull down your twin pack with the other a split second later you are bobbing about in the water with your attendant holding you up on your life line. Checks for leaks Vent your suit and the attendant lowers you to the seabed. This I might add is the first time I have ever been under the water with a tank on my back and it feels great. Pre-arranged tugs and pulls on my lifeline means different signals go left go right etc. If I continuously tug on my line then that means get me out of here and quick. The viz is about ten ft and the depth about 20 I can see the suns ray’s streaming through the water. Then the sun goes in and the viz drops to about 5ft and I can hear this almighty roar it goes on for about 2 or 3 mins.
Thought it might be a ship going past in the distance [not knowing what a ship sounded like under water] I continue with my tasks for about 10-15 mins then I get the signal to come into the quay side directly under my attendant. Got no suit inflation so give four tugs on my lifeline and my attendant pulls me to the surface. On my way up the back of my head and set bang on something hard, on reaching the surface I look round to see what I had bump my head on and there was this f*cking great Mine Sweeper, it had come in and birthed right over the top of me. It wasn’t the sun going in that reduced the viz it was this bloody great ship.
Now came the hard bit there were some steel rungs set into the stonework on the quay side which made up the ladder for getting out and with all this weight it was not an easy task.
Still made it safely back and passed the test and got myself on the next available diving course but that’s another story.
Bob.
 

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Bob

As an ex Infantryman i have always regarded Jack as a strange creature and you have just shown me how right i was.

Good story mate, i'll pull up a sandbag for another anytime, or is it swinging a lantern with you matlots.

Good job were not RAF, it would be Tea and Tiffin then i recon.

Regards

Paul

PS Just look what alcohol does to your spelling

(Edited by Paul Oliver at 11:41 am on Feb. 26, 2003)
 

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Ex infantry. Brother was 3rd RGJ I did a spell with 4th RGJ [TA] had a great time.Like being back in the mob.
What was your outfit?.
Bob
 
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