Brian Deluce celebrated his 50th year as member of the Kingston and Elmbridge Sub-Aqua Club towards the end of 2018. The keen-eyed ones of you who follow our website and Facebook news will have read my article about Brian’s ‘better half’ Shirley Deluce celebrating 40 years in the club in 2017.
Although this wonderful couple didn’t meet through diving; rather through Shirley’s brother, a pub and a party, their relationship early on and subsequent family and friendships were formed in and around their love for Diving and Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club.
Brian and I are two very busy
individuals so trying to find time to meet and talk uninterrupted even on a
club night, has taken several months to organise, but met we did at New Malden
Swimming Pool where KESAC train and swim (if not diving) on Thursday
“Brian you are often down at this swimming pool, giving try dives to the public on behalf of the club, you are our club el Presidente too, I know you have a Navy background, but how did it all start with diving?”
“I’ve had an interest in boats and water from a young age, my dad was in the Navy during the war and when I was 11 he took me down to the Sea Cadets – T.S. Steadfast at Kingston. At 13 I transferred into the Royal Marine Cadets and then joined the Navy at 23.
“So was it while in the Navy you got into Diving?”
“No, it was while I was training
to be an apprentice tool maker (between the ages of 16-21), that I worked with
a guy called Brian A’Herne in 1968 when I was 18. He was a member of the club and took me down
to have a go.”
“So do you remember of that time and your first dive – what it was like?”
“At that time the club met in the Esher Outdoor Workers Social Club in Thames Ditton, which isn’t there anymore, it’s all houses today. I had to do the ‘A Test’ at the old Kingston Swimming Baths before I was allowed to join, as did everyone. This test consisted of 200yds on your front, 100yds on your back, 50yds with a 10lb weight belt on, float for 5 mins and tread water for 1min with your hands above your head. You then had to dive down 6 times to pick up six different objects.”
“As as a competition swimmer and
my background with the Sea Cadets I didn’t find it too difficult to do.”
“My actual first dive was in
Black Pond in Esher Common. Saw
absolutely nothing, just lots of weeds.
But my first proper sea dive was a 30ft dive out of Newhaven with a guy
who owned his own fibre glass boat. You
see, back when I started diving the problem you had was getting on a dive as
there were very few charter boats and club members would take their own boats
or the 2 small club inflatables down to the sea to launch and these would often
get filled up with people they already knew.”
“I was lucky to be in the pub at
the right time with a club member John Adams who was looking for another person
to join a dive trip that weekend and I said I want in. The briefing for my dive was to “follow my
“Wow, so that was it – you did a bit of pool work, some open water snorkelling, went for a murky dive in the Black Pond in Esher (the name itself gives it away a not so good place to dive) and then you get instruction to “follow my fins”!?! BSAC training has moved on somewhat…kind of glad!”
It wasn’t quite as bad as that
makes it appear and the guys that were instructing in those days were very enthusiastic
and thorough but yes, things have moved on a long way
“So tell me about your Naval Days, did you carry on diving there too.”
“At 23 I joined the Navy, did my six weeks basic training at HMS Ganges, Shotley Gate, Ipswich. It’s now closed. I got selected to go in as a Sparky (Electrician) at HMS Colingwood, Fareham, Portsmouth and became a Radio Electrician working on Radios and Radar sets. I was ‘volunteered’ to join Submarines, which was a bit daunting at first, and got posted to HMS Dolphin in Gosport for three months further training. This training consisted of three parts, 1) Theory, 2) Escape and 3) Sea Training; the Escape training included a 100ft tower of water where you put in an airlock in the bottom, that rapidly filled with water, the hatch was then opened into the main tank, and you had to get to the top remembering to breath out as you went to practice escape drills!”
“My first sub was HMS Alliance during theory training and I did my part three training on HMS Onslaught. I served on several boats but served most of my time and finished my Navy time on HMS Ocelot. My first and last sub are now museum pieces, not sure what that says about me. Alliance being at Gosport Submarine Museum and Ocelot at Chatham Docks.”
“I spent four years in the Navy and was a member of the Joint Services Sub Aqua Club, although still stayed a member at Kingston and became a Sports Diving Supervisor which allowed me to run diving trips within the services. This consisted of five days being observed and examined at Fort Bovisand at Plymouth. I also did the Ship’s Divers course at Portsmouth, which was a very different sort of diving to what I had been doing with Kingston, everything was controlled from the surface like your air and depth as you were tethered to the ship. We were mainly checking inlets for ordinance, the hulls of ships for any damage, ropes around propellers. We had twinsets on and full-face masks. Maximum we were allowed to dive to was 100ft (30m).”
“So you went back to civi street, met Shirley, so what was club diving like back then?”
“We did a lot more, small RIB
diving (10ft RIBs) than what happens now, we used to own our own inflatable rib
and go off with another family, John and Adele Morris, and other families camping
and diving. Either John and I would go
off and the girls look after the kids and when we were back they would go off
diving together, or Shirley and I would dive together and John and Adele looked
after the kids and vice versa. It was
the only way we could do it and it was great fun.”
“The club was a lot larger back
then as there we only a few clubs in London at that time.”
“We’ve had many different homes or pubs that we used to meet in until the current dedicated premises we now meet in at Tolworth.”
“We used to train at the old Walton on Thames swimming pool on Tuesday nights, after the old Kingston baths closed. Elmbridge BSAC was set up as a separate entity from Kingston for about 8 years but when Walton Pool closed we merged together. A lot of the members at the Elmbridge club were Kingston members, which had been going for longer, so it made sense to merge these two clubs together.”
“So what has been the biggest change in diving since you started, in your opinion?”
“That’s definitely got to be the ABLJ (Adjustable Buoyancy Life Jacket) which evolved into the Buoyancy Control or BC jacket. Also the delayed SMB (surface marker buoy)…this really increased the distance you could dive without having to come back to the shot line to come up. It also meant was could have more freedom to explore wrecks and therefore even more enjoyable diving. Diving computers have also been a big change, making it safer and helps you to track and look back at dive profiles you have done.”
“I understand you have held nearly every office in the club committee, sometimes more than a few times over the years. You are an Advanced Instructor and an Instructor Trainer. You are now the club President and have been since I started 3 or 4 years ago and you also love to organise and take the club try dives for anyone interested in learning to dive. How do you see the club today and where it is going?”
“We are seeing a lot of new
members joining and undergoing training, which is great. The club has a good core of members who put a
lot time into organising, training, kit maintenance, finances and admin, the
bar, tank filling. Everyone helps
out. The more people put into the club
and diving will find they get a lot more out of it and that is what keeps us
going. We are always looking for new
members and those interested in diving, the sea, conservation and who enjoy exploring,
holidays and adventures with likeminded people.”
“Talking of holidays what are some of your most memorable dives?”
“In the UK – Shirley and I love diving out of Weymouth, we became good friends early on with Andy Smith as he set up his dive boat charter business; his first boat being Hunters Moon, which then became a series of different vessels, named Skindeep then Skindeeper. We were among the first to stay in the “Bunker” that until recently was run by Margaret for 20 years, and before that (23 years) we all used to stay in her house! Shirley and I still organise and lead three or four dive trips for the club out of Weymouth with Skindeeper”
“My most rememberable dive was out of Weymouth on the The Salsette, which lies 48m down in Lyme Bay after being torpedoed in 1917. I have never in all my years diving out Weymouth had vis so good as on that day, that we could see the emtire wreck as we descended. We were able to swim the whole length (134m) twice and peer over the side from the top deck at 32m and look down to the seabed at 48m. Never have I ever seen the sea so calm and clear.“
“I also love diving The Farnes
diving with the playful seals and Mixon Hole off Selsey Bill.”
“Abroad – our best diving has
been in the Maldives. The sea life,
coral and warm water temperatures make diving really relaxed and fun. But it isn’t cheap!”
“Thank you for your time, Brian, talking to me, it’s been great to document your memories and experiences over the last 50+ years. I know there is much more I could have written from what we spoke about and I am sure there’s much more you could have said, but thank you for your time tonight and all you have done and continue to do in the club.”
[Ed. I just want to add, because I can…that I did my first Open Water Dive with Brian on Skindeeper out of Weymouth. It was a dive, on the Blackhawk, I will always remember and cherish. Not just because it was my first, but because I learnt something from Brian that I still use to this day…I told him I struggled to clear my ears and took a long time to go down the shot….what I didn’t tell him was that I was set to give up diving as my ears kept hurting no matter how many different ways I tried to clear them. Brian said to me, almost flippantly, “ah don’t wait till you are a meter or two down equalise as soon as you drop below the wave and often as you take a breath. This worked a treat, every time I took a breath it would remember to equalise. On that dive I went straight to the bottom of that shot line with no problems and was blown away by the fish and sea life in UK waters. Brian helped me to realise that I could dive and not to give up. I will always be thankful for that advice.]
And that’s the thing with club diving, you have people with many diving abilities and knowledge and by just by hanging around these people you learn a lot more with club diving. To find out more about diving and learning to dive Contact Us
The Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on Thursday 29th November 2018 at 21.30 for the following purposes:
The presentation of the Minutes of the Previous Annual General Meeting held on 30th November 2017.
The appointment of Tellers for any vote by show of hands that may be required.
The Chairman’s Report.
The Diving Officer’s Report.
The Membership Secretary’s Report.
The Treasurer’s Report, the presentation and adoption, if approved, of the audited accounts and balance sheet for financial year to end September 2018 and the appointment of independent person(s) as reviewer(s).
Presentation of trophies.
Election of Officers of the Branch and the Committee Members.
Consideration of Any Other Business as the Chairman of the meeting may select, to have been notified to the Branch Secretary at least 7 days prior to the meeting.
The AGM will be held at the Clubhouse, King George V Car Park, Queen Mary Close (off Hook Rise South), Tolworth, Surrey.
Kingston & Elmbridge BSAC holds personal data that is used in a limited number of ways for branch purposes only, as set out in the Branch constitution. The Committee intends to make available (to any member who requests it) a list containing members’ name, contact telephone number and email address. Please advise the Branch Secretary if you do NOT wish to have your details on this list (which will be maintained by the Branch Secretary.
On Thursday last week the club hosted a talk from Duncan Brown, a Trustee and one of the founding members of Dive Ability.
Since 2012 Dive Ability have been taking folk with all manner of disabilities into the water to give them the chance to dive that they perhaps never though possible. Whether they be quadriplegic, paraplegic, MS sufferers, amputees, blind or a myriad of other problems they are all welcomed.
Duncan showed videos of the work the charity does, with monthly training courses and trial dives at Lord Wandsworth College, to dive trips to the Red Sea.
Duncan spoke about how working as a team of 5 support divers and a specially designed harness to help a quadriplegic diver maintain stabilisation, propulsion and equalising of the ears during diving in the red sea. (One diver swimming backwards in front of the disabled diver for equalising and eye contact, two on either side to prevent role, one on the feet to keep them together and one above the tank to provide the propulsion…if you were wondering!)
Although working closely with BSAC and PADI as well as other recognised diving organisations Dive Ability courses are certified through the HSA (Handicapped Scuba Association) of America, including the instructor courses.
The instructors learn more about how to handle the different disabilities during a dive, rather than dive theory again. The hardest part of their training is when they have to don a black out mask, or when they have their feet tied together or their arms or both arms and feet to experience what it is like for the trainees and divers they will be training and supporting. It’s only then that instructors come to the realisation on how much courage these disabled divers have and the trust they put into the team around them.
Truly inspirational to hear about the disabled divers helped by Dive Ability.
Adrian, Len, Martin, Tony, Elaine, Tom, Jackie, Brian, Ian and Mark
Jackie Maskell writes:
On the 31st August 11 brave members embarked in 2 Crew vans on the long 14.5 hour journey to Scapa Flow. Starting at 3am all I will say is that some people found it easier to get up than others !!!!!
We Eventually arrived on the 1st September being warmly welcomed by our crew of Hazel , Helen (Galley person), Lee ( Deck hand) and Nathan (Skipper). Hazel was working on their other boat Valkyhoree (new boat to their fleet that has ensuite showers). We then moved into our luxury accommodation, MV Valkyrie for the next 6 nights. Ian was happy as he had a good result he drew the straw and had his own apartment for the week , however we were all very close to him so he didn’t escape the medley of snoring!!
We were very lucky with the weather it was calm and sunny until the Friday then it rained for Ian, Kev and Adrian’s awayday for sight seeing to Skara Brae (a stone-built Neolithic settlement) and Kirkwall.
On our first night in the Ferry Inn we bumped into Simon Roderson, editor of the BSAC Scuba magazine as he is doing a feature re: 100th year of Scapa for next year. This isn’t the first time our holidays have clashed – hopefully we may get another mention in the magazine.
Other evenings we blended in with the locals in Flatties bar I can personally recommend the Orkney Gin and the men took a liking to the Scapa Special beer!!
View from the boat
Mark’s Kit – Duggy’s Favourite Place
Picture from Ian’s sightseeing trip
DAY 1 – SMS Karlsruhe
We dived the SMS Karlsruhe that was a light cruiser sunk in November 1914, from an accidental explosion. As you can see below it has changed quite a lot!!
Day 2 – F2+ WC21 Barge
For our second dive we chose the F2+ WC21 Barge that was a World War 11 German escort boat , it sank during a gale in 1946 and came to rest in Gutter Sound between the islands of Hoy and Farra.
Depth: 8-16 m
F2+ WC21 Barge
Day 2 – SMS Dresden
SMS Dresden was a light cruiser that was commisioned in 1918 but never saw any action it was scuttled in 1919. The bow sits at 25 metre and slopes to 38 metres at the stern. It is a very pretty wreck.
Day 2 – SMS Brummer
SMS Brummer, a mine laying cruiser carrying 400 mines. Despite being designed as a minelayer, the German Navy never operated her as such. She and her sister (The Bremse) were used to raid a British convoy to Norway in October 1917. Scuttled 21st June 1919.
Depth 22-36 metres
Day 3 – SMS V83
The SMS V83 was a motor torpedo boat destroyer built in Hamburg and launched in 1916.
She formed part of the VII Flotilla and was involved in night attacks on the English Channel.
During the scuttling of the German Fleet she was boarded by the British Navy and she was beached on the east side of Rysa Little, alongside the SMS G-92 which was later towed away to be scrapped.
The V-83 still lays in her original position and was not used in the salvage operations of the Hindenburg, although there was an unsuccessful attempt to raise her in 1926.
Maximum depth 15 metre
Day 3 – SMS Gobernador Bories
SMS Gobernador Bories : A block ship used for whaling sits in 12 metres of water and scuttled in Oct 1914. Being in the current the visibility was 10 metres.
Maximum depth 12 metre
SMS Gobernador Bories
Day 4 – SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm
SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm – A German Battleship.
Maximum depth 12-38 metre
SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm
Day 4 – SMS Coln
The Coln a cruiser of the German fleet its sister boat is the Dresden. A playful seal found us on the wreck.
Maximum depth 36 metre
Day 5 – SMS Markgraf
SMS Markgraf battle ship used in the WW1 (1913)
Maximum depth 24-45 metre
Day 5 – UB116
UB 116 was a type UB 111 German costal torpedo attack submarine, it was the last naval vessel to be sunk during WW1in 1918. As you can see there isn’t much left .
Maximum depth 26 metre
Ian on the wreck of the UB116
Day 6 – SMS Bayern
The only parts left of the battleship SMS Bayern are the 4 Turets. It was build in 1915 and sunk in June 1919. A very nice dive !
Maximum depth 24-42 metre
We visited Lyness museum but it is shut until 2020 for renovations so we visited the cemetery here are a few photos.
We didn’t have any major disasters under water but a few of us forgot that our tanks were tied up when kitting up !!! mentioning no names!!! On the journey home one of the Crew buses took a detour around Glasgow city centre !!
The food onboard was good and plentiful I am sure we all came home a little heavier.
The write up would not be complete without a mention of the neurotic dog onboard call Duggy!! Ian and Mark’s new friend apparently Ian was positioned where Duggy’s toilet was or was he just blaming the dog!!! Mark’s kit was where duggy would sit when no one was diving and duggy had a very long shaggy coat.
Duggy the Boat Dog
It was a great trip with lots of laughs, fab crew, company and diving thank you everyone for making it a very memorable trip!
Earlier this month a group from the Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club drove for 13 hours just to get to the Northern Cost of Scotland….it was then a two hour ferry ride the next morning to Scapa Flow.
Here is a little video produced by Jackie and Brian Maskell….who I never have thought would be into Harpsichord music…listen out for it…you learn something new everyday.
Anyhoo they have kindly shared this with us to put on the club website.
I am sure someone in the group will be submitting a full write up and pictures for the website soon…in the meantime enjoy the video and see if you can spot the playful seal.
Brian Deluce had organised his final Weymouth trip of the season aboard Skin Deeper departing from Portland Marina on Saturday morning of the 18th.
Due to the early start on Saturday, 9 brave souls made the journey down on Friday evening with some delays around the New Forest due to the usual Friday traffic issues. The majority of the crew stayed at the Bunker Portland, with a couple of couples preferring the more luxurious hotel and B&B option.
After a quick walk around Victoria square and a look at Chesil beach a few of the crew sampled some refreshments at the Little Ship Inn across the road from the Bunker.
After a hearty breakfast at the Bunker we set off to the Marina which luckily was only a few minutes’ drive away to load the gear. The first dive was to the ALEX VAN OPSTAL MV, the first victim of the 2nd World War, she was torpedoed and sunk on 15th September 1939, two weeks into the War.
The weather was reasonable with a swell building as the day went on, the first dive was very enjoyable with 5-6m vis plenty of eels a few lobsters and fish to be seen, water temp was a balmy 19C at 30M!
As the swell was building the dive manager decided the second dive would be on the scallop beds a little closer to shore. This was a drift dive with a reasonable current running hence some concentration was required to pick up scallops. A good haul was gathered by Chris, Brian, and Jackie with Chris also picking up a prehistoric fossil!
The sun managed to come out on the return to harbour and after unloading the boat we stopped for refreshments at The Boat That Rocks with a nice view over the harbour.
Richard then led a group to Underwater Explorers to continue his search for more equipment which turned into a record day’s business for the store! A few of the more hardy souls then made their way to the Cove House Inn at the end of Chesil beach.
The bunker turned on a very nice French themed evening meal, Mark can provide the recipe for the main course if anyone would like to try it at home.
As the weather was not looking good for Sunday the dive manager decided to call off the second days diving. Luckily the weather was not quite as bad as the 2014 storms see pics here!
Brian has booked dates for 2019 if anyone would like to get in early for a great weekend diving.
Club Members Relaxing – Nice to see Adrian hasn’t been left behind…
MV Cornish Pussy
Our 2018 trip to Cornwall was based again in Falmouth staying at the Grove Hotel again. Our host, Geoff, made us welcome with great breakfasts. In the evenings his gin and tonics were just as generous on the gin as last year! We used Dive action again with Gary Fox. He is a very experienced skipper and each evening he took our cylinders back to his base and filled them for the next day’s diving. His boat, Cornish Pussy, worked well and the pick-ups were as smooth as last year.
Our first dive was far from perfect. Adrian must be a strong candidate for the “Wooden Spoon” this year as he realised on Monday morning that he had left his dry suit at home. Luckily Matt had a wetsuit to fit in his cavernous van. This came with a shorty over suit giving the torso area 10mm of neoprene, cosy enough for the trip. Add to that the divers under weighted and regulators not working and we looked far from the experienced dive club that we are!
From there our diving got better, Adrian was trying out a twin set loaned by Richard Hoyle prior to his trip to Scapa Flow. Matt and Nicky took Jon and Emma under their wing for the first two days with no problems. For our first day we dived on the Epsilon and then the Rock Island Bridge wrecks. The visibility was disappointing at around 5 metres.
The Grove Hotel – Where we stayed for the duration
Tuesday we dived on the Coroni River (31 metres) and a drift dive on the East Narrows. Visibility was poor at 2 – 3 metres so we were expecting for more later in the week. Wednesday was also poor but Thursday we dived on the Mohegan (32 metres) and the Carmarthan (22 metres). The Mohegan was well stocked with life including lobster, crab, congers and bib. Both wrecks were blessed with up to 5 metres visibility. The novelty of the Camarthan was the boilers. They were upright on their base so stood up like a couple of huge tin cans.
Most of the time we made our own arrangements on food but on the Monday night we all met at Rick Stein’s fish and chip restaurant. On Thursday, our last night, we all ate at a Caribbean themed restaurant called Cribbs. This was voted the best food of the trip, complete with some excellent cocktails.
It was generally thought that we would not use Falmouth as a base next time and that, perhaps, we take a break from Cornwall next year and look to diving from the Penzance area. Gary Fox suggested that we base his boat in Newlyn and this will allow us access to the wrecks in Mount’s Bay and along the coast to Lands End. Gary assured us that these were far better dive sites with, usually, better visibility.