The Birth of East Anglian Branch No 11 by Douglas Lutkin


Few books about diving take me back to the very beginning of my diving days, nor make me feel guilty about not having written a similar book many years ago.
The book that triggered these reminiscences and will do the same for you is called The Birth of East Anglian Branch No 11, written by a stalwart of that branch, Douglas George Lutkin, better
known as Dougie.
It contains one of the finest collections of pictures of British divings earliest days that I have ever seen. More than 250 images, prised from the photo albums of East Anglian divers, give a vivid impression of the way diving trips in the early days of any branch were very much family affairs.
In addition to the photos, Dougie Lutkin has interviewed as many of the branchs old-timers as he could find. The result is a history of the first 25 years of amateur diving in this country, for which he is to be thanked by all divers, no matter what their club or branch. This is a portrait of branch diving as it really was.
Dougies book is a classic example of the sort of thing the British Sub-Aqua Club should have produced years ago a history of the BSAC, and at the same time a history of sport diving in Britain.
It is not as if the club has not considered such an undertaking it has. In fact Oscar Gugen, its founder, asked me to write it for the Clubs 10th anniversary in 1963. However, as I was a member of the national committee at the time, I heard so many varied accounts of those early days that I couldnt see any way of writing it without seriously upsetting someone. So I let it slide.
Over the years, there have been many similar suggestions about producing a BSAC history. At one stage the project was started and a lot of documentation collected. However, this all seems to have been lost there are tales of some of it being lost in a fire at an old BSAC HQ.
Another effort to produce a BSAC history is currently under way lets hope that this time it will finally appear. In the meantime, Dougie has included some early BSAC documents in his branch book, which should help.
Our new club historian should, however, take a larger leaf out of Dougies book and tap into every branchs photo albums and veterans memory banks. The history of the BSAC is, after all, the story of its branches.
Dougies flexi-cover book has 220 pages, 265 pictures, and covers the East Anglian diving years from 1954 to 1975.
Kendall McDonald

The Birth of East Anglian Branch No 11 by Douglas Lutkin (43 Goulburn Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR7 9UX), softback,£10 plus£1 p&p

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