|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
Tales of Commercial Diving
Please note: The books are listed for interest only, and not offered for sale.
See also (General) Narratives, stories from recreational divers, those in the scuba industry, and 'treasure hunters'.
A simple title - Diver. Thats what most of you who read this are no doubt are. This could be a book about comfortable recreational diving in warm tropical waters on the Great Barrier Reef, or a jaunt after bottles under Portsea pier - but it's not. We recreational divers may share the same word to describe our pastime, but when it comes to military and commercial diving, there is no further comparison. If you have ever thought of moving across (up? down?) to the military/commercial field, then read this book first. It may encourage you. Or, as in my case, it may lead to the realisation that ‘no son of mine will ever be a deep sea diver'. Not if he is a wimp like his Dad, anyway! This is an excellent book. Tony Groom will never win a literary award, but thats a greater part of the beauty of the book. He writes with an honesty of style, describing his in- and out-of-the-water experiences after several decades of military and commercial diving. And those experiences are worthy of reading: a Royal Navy trained demolition diver who has experienced war (you should know which one if the time period is the 1980s), and went into the commercial field in 1985. He tells of what you are likely to experience in taking up one of the most demanding, and danegrous, jobs in the world - and why you should avoid a tourist trip to Nigeria, avoid (some of) the girls in Newcastle (UK), and what to do when you confront a prick with a stick!! Oh yes, and don't mix it with Geordie Shorty. Guaranteed you wont put it down once you start. Softcover, 333 pages, mono and colour photos.
BELLS - WELL DONE - A Diver's Story
This is an excellkent read, a personaal biography of a British army diver, combat diver and commercial diver. From the book: "There are three main directions with which a person can pursue the activity of diving. These are 'Commercial Diving' as a job, 'Military Diving' as a job/ qualification to aid the Armed Forces in their aims and as a 'Recreational Diver' as a sport or hobby pastime. Tony Liddicoat is one of the rare individuals who has pursued all of these types of diving activity and has mastered each of them. In this book he writes down his progression through all three disciplines, managing to combine and mix all three during his nearly 50 year diving career. As you will read, his diving adventures have taken him around the world, to every ocean and to many different lands. He has experienced the extremes of climate and terrain and has undertaken many challenges. These vary from diving, the inside of a Nuclear Reactor, placing and detonating explosive charges, searching for bodies in sewers or training potential divers on a tropical island. The book covers Tony's diving life and we re-dive all his old haunts with him, without exaggeration or embellishment.
Softcover, 370 pages, mono photographs, glossary, no index.
|MORE THAN NINE LIVES
Autobiography of a Life Well Lived
Easy to read and well worth it at 704 pages.
A harder book to find since it was limited to 500 copies (I think), but one of the best I have read.
Al and his wife Norma document their lives end to end, most of which was spent diving for a living.
They dove together for abalone, salvage, insurance claims, and even underwater movies, mostly in southern California from their home on Catalina Island. There are some harrowing epic journeys in Al's 24 foot boat to perform remote salvage or inspection.
The is a great account of an incident with military ordinance recovery. Al did a stunt for the film series "Danger is my Business" where he cut himself out of standard dress while underwater. You can take a look on youtube at the original scene. [sh]
Subtitle: Gas Attacks, Miner’s Canaries, Spacesuits and the Bends: The Extreme Life of Dr J S Haldane
Published by: Simon & Schuster (UK) Ltd in 2007.
Brown hard back covers with dustjacket; 422 printed pages. Dimensions: 22.5 cms tall by 14 cms wide
Taken from dustjacket: “John Scott Haldane endured the most startling environments of his age. As miners died in pursuit of coal, this Scottish aristocrat with the family motto ‘Suffer’ gulped down cocktails of toxic gas to learn what poisoned them. Striding through the inferno of underground disasters, it was he who introduced canaries to miners as a way of testing toxicity for air. As a non-swimmer, he jumped overboard in a full diving suit to solve the problem of ‘the bends’ . And as German scientists released poison gas into the trenches of the first world war, Haldane fronted the Allied response. He breathed mixtures of deadly substances to learn what the enemy were using, then gassed himself and even his son to devise the first gas mask”. The book is divided into 18 chapters: “Why Miners Die”, “Son of Scotland”, “In the Footsteps of Goethe”, “Bad Air”, “Man as Bird or Mouse”, “The Home Front”, “Gulping Deadly Gasses”, “Underground Realms”, “Heat, Sweat and Larval Worms”, “Bubbles in the Brain”, “Life on the Cherwell”, “Pikes Peak”, “Prelude to War”, “Gas Attack”, “Deep Oxygen”, “Next Stop, Everest”, “Philosophy at a Canter” and “The Greatest Physiological Self-Experiment of All”. [pt]
|THE DANGER GAME
Subtitle: Adventures of a North Sea Diver
Author D. H. F. Webster
Published by: Robert Hale Ltd, London in 1978
Hard Cover with cloth boards and dust jacket - 160 PAges
Dimensions: 22 cms tall by 15 cms wide.
Details from the DJ: Deep-sea diving is arguably the most hazardous and demanding profession in the world. The author, whose father was in the army and would have liked his son to follow him, and his mother forbade the RAF as too dangerous, ‘compromised ‘ and joined the navy. After service in the Mediterranean, where his duties included searching for explosive devices fixed to ships by illegal Pallestinean immigrants, and the experience of the first British atomic explosion off the coast of Australia, he qualified as a diver and has many tales to tell of salvage work, some comic, some gruesome, all exciting. With the discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea, the services of divers were more than ever needed. And more than ever the divers themselves had to have a knowledge far beyond their own trade – of burning, welding, explosives, isometric drawing, rigging and mechanics and a hundred other matters. This enthralling book will appeal to all who have a spirit of adventure. Jacket Photograph: “Ocean Prince” oil rig by courtesy Burma Oil Company Trading Ltd. Portrait of the author by Detty Strickland. The book is extremely well illustrated and divided into 11 chapters:- “Life on the Line”, “An Extraordinary Profession”, “Trial by Ordeal”, “The Nelson Spirit”, “Salvage Great and Small”, “Oil and Water”, “Sea Task”, “Beware Jaws”, “Conflagration”, “Warmer Waters” and “To the Drawing Board”. [pt]
Author: Colin Churcher MBE
Forward by: Commander David Hilton Superintendant of Diving Royal Navy
Published by: The Pentland Press UK 1999
Illustrated Card Covers – 233 Printed Pages
Dimensions: 23 cms tall by 16 cm wide
From the book cover: To Render Safe describes one man’s life in the Royal Navy. And the Royal Navy truly was this man’s life with the normality of civilian life a completely alien one to him. Conditions were hard and we learn of many, many seaborne experiences which incorporate Arctic convoys, the re-occupation of Singapore, a peace time commission in the Mediterranean, Royal Navy diving and bomb and mine disposal, including the famous Blackfriars Bomb. This is a fascinating account which will grip reader from start to finish.
The book is divided into 15 chapters:- The Rookie, First Ship, Norway, South East Asia Command, Rheumatic Fever and Naval Review, Agincourt, Mediterranean Comission, England Again, Commisioned Officer, Diving Training, First Diving Appointment, Minehunter, The Portsmouth Team, US Navy and The Final Years. Sadly, there are no illustrations or photographs in the book except what is on the front and back cover. [pt]
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