Club divers cross Channel en masse for Normandy 75
Six weeks after the 75th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings on 6 June, 1944, the British Sub-Aqua Club has sent its own fleet across the Channel, carrying scuba divers keen to commemorate the occasion.
Members of 24 BSAC branches from around the UK are taking part in a week-long expedition to dive some of the 125 historic war-wrecks that lie off Normandy’s beaches, in memory of the landings that marked the start of the liberation of France.
Three packed hardboats, Channel Diver, Salutay and Skin Deeper, made the crossing along with RIBs from four branches, Ariel, Clidive, LUEC and Southsea.
The club says that the Normandy 75 expedition was more than two-and-a-half years in the planning, and grew rapidly as a result of the enthusiastic response from its branches.
The expedition follows the news that D-Day wreck sites along the UK’s South Coast have been granted permanent protection under the Ancient Monuments Act, as reported on Divernet in June. That decision was influenced by the input of several BSAC branches, says the club, including Southsea and Isle of Purbeck SACs.
3 August 2019
As well as diving, many Normandy 75 participants have attended a remembrance ceremony at the Royal Marine memorial above the coastal town of Port-en-Bessin.
“It’s great to be here at last with so many other BSAC divers to mark this very special anniversary,” said Southsea SAC’s Alison Mayor, a member of the planning team. “It is a privilege to dive the Normandy wrecks and to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The wreck diving in Normandy is superb and the experience is enhanced by the stories of heroism and the sheer scale of the invasion campaign.
“Normandy 75 has really encouraged multi-club participation and team-working, and has been a great opportunity to show how diving with BSAC can be rewarding for the individual, the branch and the wider community.”