They came from all over the world: Thailand, Sudan, Australia, Liberia, Germany, England, the Carribean and all across Canada. They came from many walks of life: commercial divers, dive charter operatorss, tuna boat captains, post conflict environment reconstructors, international consultants, educators, Clearance Divers, SAR Techs and retirees. They came to celebrate, to remember and pay tribute and to re-establish those strong bonds that served all so well during their days as Combat Divers in the Canadian Army.
The weekend was hugely successful largely due to the support and participation of the Fleet Diving Unit Pacific who generously opened their doors to accommodate the event. The initial Meet & Greet saw some 75 divers re-united, some after 30 years, to remember the early days and excitement of Canadian Army Diving. The Saturday program included a harbour tour, an FDU update and tour, and an Army Dive Centre briefing on the present status of Combat Diving in the Army, all followed by a presentation on the Combat Diver History project.
The highlight of the Banquet was the charming address by world famous author (WFA) Tony Liddicoat. His humour and wit held the audience captive as he described life as a dive in the Roal Engineers focusing on his experience on Roguish Buoy 81. The significance of the Combat Diver History project was embraced by the group and a way ahead for a formal publication, as well as a structure for organizing the 50th Anniversary emerged. Notable was the attendance of the five remaining members of the original CDLF course in 1966. Richard Nolk arrived from Owen Sound, Rich Ratcliffe from Victoria, Don Waller from Medicine Hat and Bill Lewington from Chilliwack. Unfortunately Marsh Blythe could not attend due to health reasons. Several of the original RE trained divers from the mid-sixties surfaced including Larry Laatsch (Teague), Tom Walton, and Dave Froese. Many divers who missed their original coin issue were presented with their coins and there were as well several new honourary coin issues.
A fitting Combat Diver Celebration it was. The 50th is now the focus and not to be missed.