Last of The Hard Hat Divers – Bob Sinclair – A Book Review

picture of last of the hard hat divers cover

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!

ISBN 9781846244353

Copyright: Ruth Macadam 2013


About Ruth Macadam

Great Granddaughter of Henry Robb. School teacher.
This entry was posted in heavy industry, Leith, Leith docks, Scottish Heavy Industry, Scottish History and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Last of The Hard Hat Divers – Bob Sinclair – A Book Review

  1. Pingback: Last of The Hard Hat Divers – Bob Sinclair – A Book Review | Unregarded Edinburgh

  2. Robert Sinclair says:

    Dear Ruth,

    Thank you so much for your excellent review of my first book and I look forward to meeting you shortly to assist in your research of ‘The Yaird’ in other words Henry Robb’s Shipyard, which played a vital part in my own young life and continued to do so while I worked as a Diver with The Leith Docks Commission much later on. Regards Bob Sinclair

    Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2013 09:53:47 +0000 To:

  3. Helen Loudon says:

    I have read the 2 Last of the Hard Hat Divers books also and loved them. A chapter in book 2 “Spud Murphy’s Last Dive” left me speachless as Spud (Tom) Murphy was my Father!! I immediately got in touch with Bob and we shared many emails for a considerable time. He even sent me some chapters which were to be published in book 3. I was very excited to receive these as they were all my Spud, things Dad never discussed with us, probably due to the fact it was such a dangerous job and certainly would not have wanted to upset my Mum. Sadly and abruptly all correspondence ended from Bob. I sent many emails but to no avail, it was silent from his end. Do you know if all is well with Bob and if he ever completed book 3?
    Kind regards
    Helen Loudon

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