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The aqualung was then taken up by scientists. It’s interesting that the little Nudibranks or sea slugs were considered to be rare until the advent of the aqualung. It was used by commercial divers and then taken up by the military. The navy divers were ships’ divers or clearance divers, their experts using such apparatus as the Sabre Set.


Jimmy Hodges: a celebrated wartime frogman

Report from the Sea-Bed
Admiralty Photographic and Instrument Research Laboratories

who had been in X-craft during the Normandy landings prepares to film underwater in the Mediterranean during the early 1950s. The diving apparatus consists of twin tadpole cylinders linked to a Cousteau-Gagnan demand valve.

Crown Copyright 1949-50

Jimmy Hodges later took the first moving pictures of torpedoes being fired from a submarine.

Whilst participating in Hans Hass’ Xarifa expedition to the Galapagos Islands in Easter 1953, Jimmy Hodges drowned through an unfortunate accident. It is thought that he might have died of anoxia when his breathing bag was mistakenly not fully purged of ordinary air. This would have left nitrogen present in dangerous quantites. He was found lifeless on the bottom with his mouthpiece out.


Another famous wartime frogman who had served with Jimmy Hodges


met with a highly enigmatic ending.

Commander Lionel Crabb, RNVR
wartime diving hero, vanishes near the Russian ship

Commander Lionel ‘Buster’ Crabb booked in at the Sallyport hotel in Portsmouth on 17th April 1956 with a Mr. Smith.

Meanwhile, at Portsmouth Harbour...

A Russian cruiser with two attendant destroyers was present in the harbour having brought the Russian leaders,

The Russian Heads of State arrive for a 10 day visit

Bulganin and Kruschev to Britain. Two days later Crabb disappeared and a Royal Navy Captain announced that this had happened during underwater tests.

The Portsmouth Police removed four relevant pages of the hotel register alerting journalists and eventually leading to questions being asked in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister told the House that, "It would not be in the public interest to discuss the circumstances."

Whether espionage or accident, subsequent events have merely conspired to exacerbate the mystery...

He is never seen again


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