Mi Private
MI.Net Member
Jun 3, 2023
Hello, thank you for accepting me on this post , I have never served but my dad was in the Navy on HMS DIVER, he died four years ago without really telling me anything about his time in the Navy, only he loved going to India as they were invited to the tea plantations , his favourite beverage, and he was an Engineer. It was after his death my mum gave me his badge HMS DIVER ,I did a bit of searching online and I believe HMS Diver was a mine sweeper , he once told me he used to deep sea dive ,which he loved . I'm posting a photo his badge , I know the ship was broken up ,but Im wondering if anyone else has any info on HMS DIVER ? Thank you in anticipation.
Welcome aboard @Annette and thanks for sharing the story of your dad. If there is any information out there i am sure it will reveal itself here. All the best Bombardier
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Could find very little in a web search for HMS diver (which surprised me) so I took a look at the photo with crew names and searched for Lieutenant Commander Filer, here is what I found so far..

In 1941 Filer was an acting petty officer diver in the newly commissioned battleship Queen Elizabeth, based at Alexandria. His worst experience was in June 1941, when he helped remove the mangled remains of sailors and soldiers from flooded compartments of the cruiser Orion, which had been bombed by the Luftwaffe while evacuating troops from Crete.

Other tasks included the recovery of hundreds of 15in shells from a sunken merchant ship in Alexandria harbour, and searching for the body of a diver whose helmet had been punctured by a shell falling from a crane. Filer also searched unsuccessfully for an aerial mine which had been dropped under the carrier Formidable; after he had failed to find it, the carrier was moved and Filer watched as the mine blew up by delayed action fuse, killing many men.

His most unusual task, however, was travelling by camel, with his diving equipment loaded on a second animal, to a bay west of Alexandria where an Italian torpedo had buried itself in the sand. The type was new and wanted for scientific examination; a similar weapon had blown up and killed the men attempting to defuse it.

Filer carefully dug away the sand around the torpedo until he had revealed three different pistols. He found that his Imperial gauge tools did not fit the torpedo, and, using a hammer and chisel, he tapped out the ring retaining the first pistol. He removed it, along with the primer and detonator, placing them carefully on the sand some distance away.

As he was knocking off the second retaining ring he heard a loud hissing noise. He dropped his tools and raced up the beach. When nothing further happened he returned to complete the job. Later he learned that the detonator in the second pistol had ignited but had failed to set off the 200lb warhead.

As a result of his efforts the torpedo was recovered intact and its secrets revealed to the Allies. Filer and his assistant, Archie Russell, were awarded the George Medal.

Shortly afterwards, when Italian frogmen attacked the battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant in Alexandria harbour, Filer was instructed to find out where the invaders had cut through the boom defence nets. He discovered enough gaps, where sections had not been laced together, to allow through several double-decker buses.

Next Filer joined the submarine depot ship Medway as senior diving instructor. With Rommel's army on the borders of Egypt, she was sent to Beirut, where she was sunk on June 30 by three torpedoes from U-372. Filer found himself swimming with two WRNS cipher officers to the destroyer Hero, whose coxswain was a friend of his. He later reflected that, thanks to his friend's access to the rum locker, he needed no counselling.

But he had lost all his possessions in the sinking, and had to walk about in pyjamas before he joined the troopship Monarch of India, which took him home.

After the war Filer became a warrant officer and qualified as a deep diver, one of only nine in the Royal Navy. They dived to depths of up to 300ft, then the limit of human endurance, and he experienced several bouts of "rapture of the deep" – nitrogen intoxication. He only once experienced "the bends", when attempting to surface from 250ft with only one in-water stop.

Later Filer helped locate the submarine Affray, which had been lost in the Channel in 1951; despite the depth and the strong tidal stream scouring the Hurd Deep, he investigated the wreck using an experimental underwater camera which confirmed the submarine's identity. He was appointed MBE.

And an associated photo

Lieutenant-Commander Bill Filer, who has died aged 93, defused a deadly torpedo during the Second World War and led the Navy's diving experiments in peacetime.

lt cmd filer.jpg

Caption reads - Filer (right) briefs his diving team on the shores of the Forth
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The badge you have provided is likely to be that of the 50th Combat Diver Training, Combat Diver Team or more likely an in my opinion Clearance diver team
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More re FILER

filer 001.jpg

Possibly Plymouth in the early 1960s
Back row: Jerry Lock, Derby Allen, Ginge Howe, Scouse Davis, Knocker White, Geoff Burgess,
Jim Cook, Nutty Carr, Nobby Clark
Front row: John Futcher MBE, Bill Filer GM MBE, Peter Roberts VC DSC, Alan 'Shiner' Wright MBE
The badge you have provided is likely to be that of the 50th Combat Diver Training, Combat Diver Team or more likely an in my opinion Clearance diver team
Wow who would have thought it , even my mum didn't know what the badge was , he sadly gave away his whistle, sorry I don't know the correct name for it where they pipe officers on board , he gave it to a lad who lived a few doors away from us who was joining the navy, and left again soon after, I would have loved that whistle, and he has grandsons I could have passed them down to . … I did hear from a man whose grandad served with my dad, he was happily propping up the bar in the local golf club , which I thought was funny. Thank you all so much , its good to know something about my dads shipmates, Cheers x
Hello Annette. Here is an article from the September 2016 Navy News (page 29) that you might already know, I'm posting the link for context as well as a paragraph to introduce the ship, so other forum members can get an idea what this is about.
HMS Diver was launched on April 7 1943 as C.28, a German boom defence and mining tender. She was acquired by the Royal Navy as a war prize in 1945 and commissioned as Diver in 1948. She had a team of clearance divers embarked and served as a mine location vessel attached to the 1st Minesweeping Experimental Flotilla – later the 50th Minesweeping Flotilla – based at HMS Lochinvar, Port Edgar, on the south side of the Forth. Sometime around 1960 she was sent to Singapore where she was employed as a diving tender by the Far East Clearance Diving Team until her sale in 1971.
The 50th Mine Sweeper flotilla were also known as 50th MS Squadron located at the Firth of Forth 1954-1960 [Port Edgar and/or Rosyth]
Excellent find @Fish&Chips :)

I have extracted the photo of HMS Diver (C.28) before she was commissioned
The article states that she was a war prize and was formerly a German boom defence and mining tender until her formal commission in 1945.

View attachment 436256
Gosh who would of thought it , it looks like a fishing boat , thank you so much for posting.