Thanks to the readers of my blog I am in touch with Bob Sinclair who has written two books about hard hat diving and is currently writing a third.
Bob’s first book takes us through some of his experiences in his childhood during World War II and includes some of his Father’s hair-raising incidents as a seaman as well as Bob’s own experiences working under water.
The style of writing is just tremendous. I have yet to have the privilege of meeting Bob, but he already has a voice for me, as his narrative flows so naturally that you really get a sense of being an onlooker to his tales. Beware, it is very hard to just read a chapter or so, as you are sucked into the book and continually want to read more even if it does mean you will be a bit dozy the next morning because you couldn’t put it down!
Overarching themes which come across again and again include the dangers of his chosen career and how the simplest of slips or unexpected events can turn an ordinary (if you can call hard hat diving ordinary in any way!) day’s work into a dangerous situation requiring quick thinking and creative problem solving just to survive. Another clear theme is that of the camaraderie between the divers and their linesmen and the trust and understanding needed to work in these extreme conditions.
A fascinating insight into history, some of the characters who were the hard hat divers and a variety of Bob’s own exploits including: swimming half a mile to borrow a 45lb body belt and then swimming back with it, rescuing a bulldozer that others had dropped into the sea so they didn’t get into trouble with their bosses and preventing the coffer dam at Cockenzie being swept away due to others’ misunderstanding in the way they completed the work which did not allow for the spring tides.
All you can do is pick up the second book, but more of that in a future post …
CAVEAT: I have been told that a very large online bookseller have been selling pirate copies of Bob’s books and there’s nothing that he can do against a huge corporation, so please be aware of this and ensure that you get a genuine copy so Bob, and not some faceless giant, reaps the well deserved reward for his labours!
Copyright: Ruth Macadam 2013