LAST STANDARD DIVER - ERIC WALKER
Last Professional Standard Dress
Diver in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard
I was a shipwright in the dockyard and my workmate retired and I decided to go in for diving. I had been interested before, watching the other divers and then thatís when I decided to go to Scotland for three months training at Rosyth Dockyard. The first dive that we had when we came back was undocking ships and naval warships and that type of work and surveys and all sorts of things.
If you had two to three feet visibility you was quite good. Because basically when youíre working underwater on shipís propellors or anything like that you only need about two foot which is exactly the same as you sitting at a desk looking down on a bit of paper. Itís as much as you want to see, boy. And because the water magnifies the object you can see quite well.
I was the last one to use standard diving in the Portsmouth Dockyard in an actual job. Well we have an in-house magazine called the Trident and they called it ĎEnd of an Eraí with an article on it and two or three photographs. When the specifications was got out the first time it was India Rubber and things like that. Well they donít make it anymore, so they couldnít build any/make any new equipment to the specifications and it would have cost too much to renew the specifications to modern materials.
Itís like anytime when you go underwater: itís part of a job. Never, never took it to be like a hobby or anything like that: just a straight job.