The HDS Board and Officers

Our Board members have a wide range of backgrounds from Military Diver to Vice Chairmanships in international organisations. Several members are Managing Directors of their own businesses.

As a result the pool of social and managerial skills is impressive and it underpins our strength and development. Our Board is supported by an advisory panel with expertise in various aspects of diving including medical, scientific and military diving history.

All our Board members are unpaid volunteers.


Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE CB DSC DL

Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson is a former Royal Navy officer who served as Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet. He has served in the Gulf War for which he was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and was Commander of the British Forces in the Falkland Islands, 2002. He was Naval Secretary in 2005 and was promoted to Rear Admiral in the same year. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011.

Elected Board of Directors


John Bevan

John is the founding chairman of the Historical Diving Society. He is the author of several diving history books and is the Managing Director of Submex Ltd which publishes The Professional Diver’s Handbook. He has held the positions of Chairman of the Society for Underwater Technology (Diving and Manned Submersibles Committee), Chairman of the British Sub-Aqua Club Jubilee Trust and Editor of Underwater Contractor International magazine. He is qualified as a Royal Navy Ship’s Diver Officer, HSE Part I Diver, BSAC First Class Diver and National Underwater Instructor. In 1970 he was a participant in the Ministry of Defence (Navy) 1500 ft world record dive.

Vice Chair

Mike O’Meara

Mike joined the RN at the age of 17 where he qualified as a Clearance Diver and left the Navy in 1975 as a CD1 diving supervisor to join the offshore diving industry. Within 3 years he was a Diving Superintendent; he went on to hold several senior positions rising to Vice President responsible for Health Safety Security Environment and Quality with Subsea 7.

In 1981 he was responsible for the successful salvage of £40 million of gold bullion from HMS Edinburgh in the Barents Sea.

He is Vice Chairman of the HDS with special responsibility for the Diving Museum’s accreditation.

Honorary Secretary

Michael Fardell

Mike started diving as an amateur in the 1970s and quickly became interested in the history of diving, a subject he has now been researching and writing on for over 40 years. He was elected secretary to the society in 1996 and currently holds the post on an acting basis.


Tony Marshall

Tony is the Chairman of the Scuba Industries Trade Association and former Vice Chairman of the British Sub Aqua Club. He is the Managing Director of Collins and Chambers, a diving equipment retailer.

He has been a member of the HDS since 2008.

Membership Secretary

John Smillie

John was a Shipwright Diver who spent 15 years as a Dockyard Diver. He was the only Dockyard Diver to be also qualified as a Diver Dresser. He has been a member of the Historical Diving Society since 1990 during which time he has been Exhibitions Officer, has run the Working Equipment Group and is currently the Membership Secretary.

Working Equipment Group Officer

Ty Burton

Ty has been a member of the HDS since 2002.

Publications Editor

Peter Dick

Peter developed a long standing interest history of diving while working offshore in the 1970s. He has been a member of the HDS from its inception and presently edits the Historical Diving Times and International Journal of Diving History  for the Society.

Exhibitions Officer

Una Smillie

Una Smillie has been a member of the HDS since 2003. In addition to assisting with membership liaison, she has been the manager of the HDS shop, she runs the HDS stands at all the HDS outreach events and is the Sales Manager at the Annual Conference. She has held the position of Exhibitions Officer several times. She is John Smillie’s long-suffering wife.

Museum Director

Kevin Casey

Kevin Casey is from Melbourne Australia. He started work as a civil engineering draftsman, then as a rigger, diver’s attendant, air diver, air diving supervisor and saturation diver in the offshore oil industry. He is Managing Director of He is a member of the South East Museums Development Programme’s Advisory Panel and committee member of the Friends of Stokes Bay and Gosport Society. In 2018 he was elected onto Gosport Borough Council. He has been a member of the HDS since 1991 and Museum Director for 11 years.

Member Without Portfolio

William Braithwaite

Appointed Officers

Books Peter Jackson

Films Adrian Barak

Archivist Gary Wallace Potter

Divers’ Index Gary Wallace Potter

Oral History Cheryl Wingett

Engineering John Badger

Collections Manager Nigel Phillips

Estates Manager Les Rutherford

Advisory Panel

Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson CB DSC

Cdr Robert Hoole RN

Gavin Anthony

Ric Wharton

Professor Peter Bennett

Dr David Elliott