Annual Conference

Saturday, 18th November 2023

Each year since 1990, the Society has held an annual conference – with the exception of 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. Leading pioneers and researchers give presentations and the Society’s various awards are given.

The Conference is open to all – it is not restricted to members only. Non-members are most welcome.



A night time photograph of the exterior of Subsea7's offices in Sutton, south London
A view of the interior of the building

The 2023 Conference will be held at the headquarters of Subsea7 in Sutton, south London.

40 Brighton Road

Getting there
Trains from Victoria Station to Sutton Station; journey time approximately 35 minutes.
Subsea7 is a 10 minute walk from Sutton station.

Tripadvisor’s 10 best hotels in Sutton



• The Conference will be held at the offices of Subsea7 in Sutton, UK.
• Accommodation  There are several hotels and B&Bs available in the Sutton area. The organisers and speakers will be staying at The Premier Inn which has very favourable rates IF BOOKED EARLY,  The hotel is about 20 minutes walk away from Subsea7.
• There will be no formal dinner but everyone is invited to gather in the bar/dining area of the Premier Inn to socialise enjoy and evening meal. Their menu can be viewed here.


(Clicking on the image of Subsea7 will take you to the company’s website)

Address: 40 Brighton Road, Sutton SM2 5BN

BY RAIL:  Trains from Victoria Station, London to Sutton Station; journey time approximately 35 minutes.
Turn left on exiting Sutton Station. Subsea7’s offices are a 7 minute walk away on the opposite side of the road.
Parking at Subsea7:
Delegates wishing to park at Subsea7 offices at 40 Brighton Road, Sutton, London, SM2 5BN must send the following details (by Saturday 15th October) to
Driver’s name
Make and model of vehicle
Registration number
Drivers must not exceed 5mph on the ramp and in the underground car park.
Vehicles must be reversed parked.
Access to the car park is via the narrow road immediately to the left of the building.

(Clicking on the image of the Premier Inn will take you to the hotel’s website)

Premier Inn, St Nicholas Way, Sutton, London, SM1 1AT

BY RAIL: Trains from Victoria Station, London to Sutton Station; journey time approximately 35 minutes.
Turn right on exiting Sutton Station. Cross over the main road and continue north along the pedestrianised High Street. Continue along the High Street until you reach St. Nicholas Road on your left. Turn left into St Nicholas Road and right at the T-junction at the end of the road. The Premier Inn is a 5 minute walk to your right.

Parking near the Premier Inn:

There is no parking at the Premier Inn. Parking is available at Just Park, St Nicholas Centre, St Nicholas Way which is a 3-minute walk away. Discounted overnight parking (£7.50) is available for guests staying at the Premier Inn hotel. (Tickets must be validated at reception). Note: the car park is closed between midnight and 6am (or 8.30am on Sundays)

2023 Programme

0830–0900  Registration


0900–0915 Chairman’s welcome and announcements


0915–0920  Introduction of Mike Welham
0920–1005  A Historical vision of Special Forces Divers
1005–1015 Questions from the floor


1015–1020 Introduction of Karina Kowalska
1020–1105  The beginnings of the Polish special Forces (now called ‘Formoza’)
1105–1115 Questions from the floor


1115–1145 Refreshment break


1145–1150  Introduction of Bryan McGlinchy
1150–1235 Modern GB Diving Regulations – Development and Enforcement
1235–1245  Questions from the floor


1245–1345 Lunch break


1345–1350  Introduction of Sven Erik Jørgensen
1350–1435  Salvage of the Batteries from German Submarines in Hørup Hav 1950-51: A wreck diver’s diary
1435–1445  Questions from the floor


1445–1450  Introduction of Finn Linnemann
1450–1535 U534: The history and salvage of the German U-boat U534.
1535–1545  Questions from the floor


1545–1615  Refreshment break


1615–1620 Introduction of Peter Dick
1620–1640 A Lighthearted Look at Diving History
1640–1650 Questions from the floor


1650–1705 Chairman’s closing remarks


1705–1720  Presentation of awards

Our Speakers

Head and shoulders photograph of Michael G Welham

A Historical Vision of Special Forces Divers
Michael G. Welham

Mike’s talk will cover Special Forces diving from WW2 to the present day including army and navy divers of the British and other International Forces. He will focus on Dutch Frogmen, a US Special Forces female diver and Ukrainian divers.

Mike’s book, ‘Combat Divers – An illustrated history of Special Forces divers’ will be available to purchase at the Conference.

Mike Welham has been involved with diving both military and civilian for some years. He served in the Royal Marines where his diving journey began and followed into commercial diving companies where over the years he was an air/saturation diver operating at depths of up to 122m (400ft). That progressed to Diving Supervisor and Superintendent working in the North Sea, Norway, Netherlands, Brazil, Middle East, Africa and other overseas locations. He worked in an oil company’s diving department engaged with offshore underwater projects which was followed by a period as a diving consultant to an offshore oil/gas company in the Netherlands before spending 15 years as a UK Government principal diving officer.

He is the author of Combat Divers (2023), Combat Frogmen (1989), KampfSchwimmer [German edition of Combat Frogmen], Naval Elite Units, Maritime Spezialeinheiten (German Edition) [Maritime Special Forces], Exploring the Deep and Frogman Spy.

He is a member of the Historical Diving Society and a Member of the Combat Diver Foundation (CDF – USA) and has assisted with the museums SDV history section.

Today, he continues to research the historical role and activities of combat divers, their evolution, equipment, craft and operations on a worldwide basis. His focus is now on the future of diver/underwater activity.


Head and shoulders photo of Karina Kowalska

The Beginnings of the Polish Special Forces (1974–1982)
now operating under the name ‘Formoza’

Karina Kowalska

After receiving a masters degree in political science and journalism at Warsaw University, Karina worked for a time at the British Embassy before becoming a consultant to a British company which provides services to those setting up commercial activities in Eastern Europe. She has published several books on diving in Poland; she also translates diving books into Polish.

In 2006 she opened the first diving museum in Poland in Warsaw. She is married to Grzegorz who is a Professor at Warsaw University. He is also a diver, one of the largest wholesalers of diving equipment in Poland and a noted rally driver!

Head and shoulders photograph of Bryan McGlinchy

Modern GB Diving Regulations – Development and Enforcement
Bryan McGlinchy
Diving Manager, IMCA

Bryan McGlinchy will outline his views on why it was necessary to develop modern diving regulations in Britain during the early 1980s and then further modernise the regulations in the mid-1990s. During the presentation Bryan will refer to anonymised case histories from diving accident investigations he was involved with while working as an HSE Diving Inspector. The case histories will illustrate how the diving regulations are used in practice by the British authorities.

Bryan began his career as a diver in the early eighties. He worked for a variety of diving contractors in the Middle East, India, North Sea, and West Africa. Over a fifteen year period he took part in a wide range of commercial diving activities.

In 2012 he joined the IMCA secretariat as a Technical Adviser – Diving from the UK Health and Safety Executive. At the Executive, he worked as a front-line inspector, initially in the metals and minerals sector and then for more than 12 years as a Diving Specialist Inspector. In the latter role, he was responsible for the inspection of all sectors of the diving industry in Great Britain and for the investigation of accidents, incidents and complaints related to diving at work, both onshore and offshore. In addition, he supervised a number of diving research projects and developed diving industry guidance on behalf of the Executive. He also worked on diving topic assessment of oil and gas company safety cases.

Head and shoulders photo of Karina Kowalska

Salvage of the Batteries from German Submarines in Hørup Hav 1950 – 51
A wreck diver’s diary
Sven Erik Jørgensen

The Second World War, like other wars, had been hard on resources. After the war, the metals lying at the bottom of the sea were needed. For most of the ships that sank in the Atlantic, the metals were gone forever. In the shallow Danish waters, the metals were within the divers’ reach.
Wreck divers Harry Olsen and Peter Christensen blasted their way down into four submarines in the Hørup Sea. The submarines were at a depth of 30 meters and laying in mud up to the deck. In total darkness and surrounded by sharp metal, they had to handle the batteries weighing up to 300 kg. Harry Olsen described the hard work, a working day on the bottom of up to 5 hours, the dangerous situations and the never-ending battle against the decompression sickness in his diary and elaborated on it to Sven Erik Jørgensen in 2002. Diving safety was as expected in the 50s, but it was far from the safety requirements of today.

Head and shoulders photo of Karina Kowalska

The history and salvage of the German U-boat U534.
Finn Linnemann

Finn Linnemann’s talk is about the history and salvage of the German U-boat U534 which is now on display at Birkenhead, England.

Finn Linnemann joined the merchant navy in 1957 at the age of 15. After 3 years he
joined the Royal Danish Navy and trained in underwater weapons and diving. He qualified as a Petty Officer and by 1970 he was a sub lieutenant.
For the next 14 years he carried out various duties on board fishery protection frigates, minelayers, surveying units and training ships passing courses both in Denmark and abroad related to navigation, hydrography, mine warfare and explosive ordnance
disposal. In1985 he was appointed head of Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service while also acting as a representative in NATO working groups related to diving, explosive ordnance, mine warfare and shallow water warfare.
In 1990 he was appointed commander. He retired from the service in 2002 aged 60.
He established his own company specialising in harbour security and worked some years supervising in bomb disposal in Serbia.
He was a founder member of the Danish Historical Diving Society and is an elected member of the committee.

Head and shoulders photograph of Peter Dick

A Humorous View of Diving
Peter Dick

A Lighthearted look at diving by way of cards and illustrations – a brief, lighthearted look at diving through the ages through cartoons and illustrations.

Peter Dick joined the British Sub-Aqua Club in his teens at the end of 1955. He began his working life in Kodak Research Laboratories, ran the first recreational diving school on the island of Malta, travelled and eventually became a deep diver in the North Sea oil and gas sector. He ended his career as a consultant in underwater engineering. Since 2003 he has edited the Historical Diving Times and latterly the International Journal of Diving History for the Historical Diving Society.


Conference tickets: £40

Please note: we do not issue actual tickets. By purchasing tickets your name will be added to our guest list. All you need to do is introduce yourself at the reception desk on the day and we will know to expect you. 


Every year the Society presents awards to the individuals and organisations who have made a significant contribution to the furtherance of diving history knowledge.



The Society publishes the presentations given by the speakers at the Annual Conferences each year.