recruits from all around the country to undergo the course. The pass rate was only one in twelve he was determined to pass as he didn’t want to be one of the eleven others who failed. They were sent to Portland where they were shown to the billet where they would be expected to live together during the course. They were given kit then told to dress and be outside in ten minutes. Jimmy quickly changed then got into the kit then ran outside and lined up. He had already gone through the twelve week basic training with the Royal Navy so he was well equipped to deal with the discipline expected to cope with what lay ahead. He met the commanding officer Major Roger Scott a posh speaking gentleman from Kent. The staff sergeant was a Welshman called Colin Williams. The men were told what to expect and that they would be starting immediately. In front of each man was a diving suit they had to put it on and they would be taken to the training grounds. Jimmy undressed then got into the suit. He then helped others who were having problems getting into theirs. They jogged on the spot until they were told to stop then picked up their flippers and ran towards the waiting truck where they were driven to a place near the sea. There was a twenty feet high platform with two levels. First they had to jump into the water then climb out again unassisted to near exhaustion. Then they had to repeatedly climb the steps to the first level of the tower and jump in. By the time they got to do the top level many were being sick and had dropped out. They were sent back to the barracks where they would be given choice to either redo the exercise or fail and would be sent back to HMS Raleigh to be deployed elsewhere. Jimmy’s lungs were screaming as he climbed to the top level for the tenth time once at the top he jumped in there were only eight of them now. Staff sergeant Williams ordered them to stop. “Well done; get back into the truck. They ran to the truck and clambered onboard then the truck was taken back to the barracks. They took off their diving suits outside then went to the showers and changed. They went to the canteen where they ate a meal prepared for them then it was off to the classroom where they learned how to defuse limpet mines, and how to set them. The spent several hours in a training tank fifty feet deep learning how to escape from a submerged submarine. He also learned how to use air lifting equipment to lift mines to the surface. The following weeks Jimmy was set many fitness tasks like running in his diving suit across the mudflats at Portsmouth. He spent many hours in the gymnasium. Then it was out in a dingy in the cold of winter learning how to rescue stricken divers. He also learned how dive with full gear and weighted boots and diving helmet; where air was pumped through a compressor. He had to retrieve items from the seabed then learn how to assemble them in the murky waters. It was very hard. He spent many hours under water and then had to go into a decompression chamber to neutralise the nitrogen in his blood or he would get what divers called the “Bends which left untreated could kill you. They did deep water dives in the Balmoracara Bay in Scotland and they learned how to use the Sir Robert Davis submerged apparatus. The suit comprised of a pair brown goggles and a grey suit with a brown bag that contained Barium Hydroxide and an oxygen cylinder. The suit was influenced by the earlier Fleuss breathing system.
The mechanism was used by submariners to help them escape. It gave them thirty minutes of air by opening a valve which changed the water pressure. A tube was placed into the mouth and the nose clipped. The bag allowed divers to breathe and yet let air escape and allow the diver to ascend slowly to the surface. It also served as a life jacket when air was blown into the bag through a tube.
Jimmy went on many missions to clear away mines set by the German’s. He sailed to Maloy to attack German forces at Gangsoy but the mission failed after a girl thinking the divers were German thieves reported them. Jimmy narrowly escaped having been