U-boats & special forces star at HDS conference

U-boat U-534 under attack by an RAF Liberator from 86 Squadron
U-534 under attack by an RAF Liberator from 86 Squadron

Special forces divers and salvage diving on WW2 German submarines are set to be the main themes at the UK History of Diving Conference. The 32nd annual event, it will be held in Sutton, Surrey on 18 November and is open to “everyone who has an interest in diving history”.

“Divers have been a vital wartime asset for centuries, even millennia; their role in military operations worldwide is undiminished,” says organiser the Historical Diving Society (HDS). “If you are interested in diving history, military diving or salvage operations, the annual conference of the HDS should be in your calendar.”

Former RN marine commando and author of Combat Divers Mike Whelam will talk about Royal Navy divers as well as military divers of other nations, while Karina Kowalska will discuss the origins of special forces in her native Poland. Kowalska is an academic concerned with diving history and the owner of a diving museum in Warsaw.

Two Danish speakers are set to give presentations about salvage operations on German submarines sunk during WW2. Sven Erik Jørgensen, founder of the Danish HDS, will examine the salvage of U-boat batteries in the early 1950s – the HDS describes him as the “wreck diver’s dream speaker”.

The presentation by Finn Linnemann, a former Danish Navy commander with extensive international marine salvage and ordnance-disposal experience, concerns salvage of the German U-boat U-534. The submarine featured earlier this year on Divernet, when a set of the crew’s gramophone records were discovered onboard and restored.

The conference will conclude with HDS founder-member Peter Dick taking a light-hearted look at diving through images.

The HDS was formed in the UK in 1990 for the preservation, protection and promotion of diving heritage, and has since grown to become a worldwide organisation of affiliated national societies. A registered charity, it also owns and runs the Diving Museum in Gosport.

The conference is being held at the HQ of offshore engineering contractor Subsea7 and runs from 9 to 4.30. Tickets cost £40 and include lunch, refreshments and parking (if available) and can be booked on the HDS website, where full details can be found.

Also on Divernet: ‘National treasure’ to go on show in Gosport, UK diving pioneer Reg Vallintine dies, Diving behind closed doors, Diving expert John Bevan dies, Guz tech divers set up winter date


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