Book Review: DIVER
by Tony Groom
Seafarer Books, 2008
The book is an autobiographical account of Tony Groom's years as a professional diver, first in the Navy then commercially. It is well written and easy to read and runs to just over 300 pages.
Tony joined the navy at 17, having a lifelong fascination with the sea which turned into an ambition to become a diver. The book begins with the gruelling selection process to become a Navy Diver and his progression to the Fleet Clearance Diving Team, whose job it is to clear all sorts of unexploded mines and bombs around the world.
In 1982 Tony joined the taskforce that went to the Falkland Islands and went to war. A large section of the book covers his time, there and is a vivid and at times harrowing account of Clearance Diving during conflict. A remarkable number of bombs dropped by the Argentineans did not explode. This posed the diving team a challenge in itself, but imagine doing this while being bombed!
The Falklands conflict obviously had a profound effect on Tony and a large section of the book is dedicated to this time. It is an interesting account and there is a lot of diving.
In 1985 Tony left the Navy and became a commercial diver working all over the world. A lot of the "action" is set in the North Sea saturation diving, it is a fascinating account of life in a saturation environment, living in a very confined space for weeks on end, going to work through a hole in the floor into a cold, dark and dangerous world.
The Piper Alpha disaster happened at the time and there is an interesting account from the perspective of one of the divers on board a rig nearby.
The technical diving is explained in an easy to understand manner interspersed adventure, humour and shore leave stories.
Overall the book gives you real insight into life as a Navy Diver and also a commercial diver. Ideal if you are thinking of a career or just out of interest.
Read the SCUBA News interview with Tony Groom at
Review by Andrew Reay-Robinson