Div­ing team sal­vage bombs

Macclesfield Express - - WHAT’S ON - RHIANNON MCDOWALL

ATEAM of scuba divers have helped to re­cover two his­toric bounc­ing bombs – like the ones fea­tured in the World War Two film The Dam Busters – from a Scot­tish Loch.

Around 200 High­balls have been at the bot­tom of Loch Striven in Ar­gyll for al­most 75 years since they were tested by the Royal Navy for use against en­emy ships in the Sec­ond World War. Six mem- bers of the East Cheshire Sub-Aqua Club were among the team charged with re­triev­ing two of the bombs.

Project leader Mark Paisey, BSAC’s north west re­gional coach, from Poyn­ton, said: “We’ve ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions.

“This is the cul­mi­na­tion of a very long col­lab­o­ra­tive project and it was un­be­liev­able to see the first one come out of the wa­ter. It was cov­ered in mud and ma­rine crus­taceans but when we cleaned it off it was per­fectly pre­served, down to the nuts and bolts.

“No-one has seen one of these for the best part of 75 years so it was quite emo­tional to see it close up.

Mark, 52, was joined by Loz Broome, 58, from Poyn­ton, Henry Paisey, 19, from Bolling­ton, Ken Bur­rows, 61, from Chelford, Fred San­tos, 35, from Mac­cles­field and Kevin Phillips, 50, from Sand­bach, along with other mem­bers of the Bri­tish Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and helped by the Royal Navy and other agen­cies.

The mis­sion in­volved a se­ries of ex­ploratory dives to iden­tify which High­balls were suit­able for re­cov­ery, and to se­cure them for lift­ing.”

Royal Navy divers then at­tached spe­cial­ist lift­ing equip­ment to the heavy metal High­balls, which were then winched out of the wa­ter.

The bombs, which are in­ac­tive, were then packed ready for trans­port in wet tanks con­tain­ing a spe­cial salt-wa­ter so­lu­tion to pre­vent them from cor­rod­ing.

Now the aim is to do­nate the High­balls to two mu­se­ums so they can be put on dis­play for the public, in time for the 75th an­niver­sary of the Dam­busters raid, in 2018.

To find out more about learn­ing scuba div­ing skills with BSAC, visit bsac.com, or find them on Face­book or Twit­ter @BSACDivers.

The div­ing team from East Cheshire and one of the re­cov­ered bombs

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