Able Seaman Diver Alex Briggs, of Banchory, has just completed specialist clearance diver training at the Defence Diving School (DDS) in Portsmouth.
Nineteen-year-old Alex was awarded his certificate and diving log from guest of honour, Commodore Tim Lowe, Commodore of the Maritime Warfare School, of which the Diving School in part.
He joined the Royal Navy in September 2010 and is originally from Banchory, where his parents, Elizabeth Barkes and Dennis Briggs, live.
Speaking about his achievement, Alex said: “The diving course was a tough one but I wanted a challenge and a job that was a bit extraordinary and challenging. “It’s taken over a year to get what I wanted, but it worth the hard work.”
The Commanding Officer of the Diving School, Commander Tom Russell, addressed the divers and families.
He said: “This 22-week course is the most intense, physical and mental course the Royal Navy has to officer. Myself and my staff would like to thank you, the families, for your support.”
Navy divers are currently serving in Afghanistan, based at Camp Bastion, where they are working in support of the British Army’s Royal Engineer Field Squadrons and also deploy to forward operating bases in Sangin, Banji and Kajaki.
There, they will carry out offensive search and clearance of insurgent-laid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and conventional munitions and also accompany regular foot patrols. They also train the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in explosive ordnance recognition, search and disposal skills.
During the graduation event, the newly qualified divers put on a ‘real life’ display for their visiting families and friends, with the ‘piece de resistance’ being the discovery of an unexploded device in the diving lake which they subsequently recovered and destroyed - much to the delight of the crowd!