Book review: Navy Divers

Navy Divers by Gregor Salmon.
Navy Divers by Gregor Salmon.


AUTHOR: Gregor Salmon

PUBLISHER: Ebury Press (Random House Aust)

RRP: $34.95

REVIEWER: Peter Caldwell

NAVY Divers takes a rare look into the world of these unsung heroes.

The RAN Clearance Diving Branch officially began in 1951 but its field of expertise really stemmed from the deeds of Australian Navy personnel during the Second World War.

Royal Australian Naval Reserve Volunteers were sent to Britain to serve the Royal Navy.

A select few soon found themselves at the coalface of a lethal new form of arms race - the rapidly evolving art of mine warfare.

Australians trained in RMS (Rendering Mines Safe) played vital roles in developing the expertise of Allied mine countermeasures.

Four such individuals received the George Cross for the efforts.

And of the eight individuals to be awarded both the George Cross and the George Medal, three were RANVRs: Lieutenant John Stuart Mould, Lieutenant Hugh Randall Syme and Lieutenant Leon Verdi Goldsworthy.

Author Gregor Salmon has been given unprecedented access to their training and exercises.

He'll bear witness to their acceptance testing, training, at-sea exercises and, potentially, their deployment in two theatres - Afghanistan and the waters off Somalia.

The result promises to be a fascinating account of the Australian Navy's most elite unit.

These men are without doubt a breed apart and it's high time their exceptional story was told.

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