The birth of Diver came about in 1963, following a diving tragedy that attracted international media coverage.
But let's go back to the previous year, the prelude to it all. It was then that the British Sub-Aqua Club was faced with the resignation of the editor of its bi-monthly magazine Triton, and the BSAC's chairman approached Peter Small, co-founder of the club in 1953, to step into the breach.
Peter, one of the earliest recreational divers, was also a talented national newspaper journalist of great energy, enthusiasm and drive. As Fleet Street contemporaries, we came together in 1962 when we were both restless in our careers and looking for new horizons.
hspace=5 We decided to share an office, to do our own things but to support one another's endeavours. So it was that I personally and professionally became involved with diving at a time when underwater exploration and development were at their most exciting, the beginnings of underwater living and mixed-gas diving.
 In the event, Peter agreed to become Triton's editor and publisher at his own cost, on the condition that the magazine would come under his professional control and that he would be allowed to pursue a policy of editorial freedom.
The BSAC eagerly accepted, but it was too much of a financial risk and too much of a time-consuming task for one man, so Peter asked me to come into the venture as his partner - an idea that immediately attracted me.

And thats when things went tragically wrong. In December 1962 Peter Small and Swiss mathematician Hannes Keller set out to become the first divers to reach the then sensational depth of 1000ft in the open ocean, watched by the world's press, the navies of Britain and America, and numerous scientific establishments.
Although Keller survived that record-breaking dive, Peter Small did not (see Diver, December 2002). It was a tragedy that had devastating effects on the whole diving world.
One incidental spin-off was that the BSAC was suddenly left without an editor for its magazine, and I was therefore invited by the club to go it alone.
This I accepted, on the same conditions that had already been agreed.
Peter's ambition had been to turn the club's tiny journal into a magazine of national and international repute, to widen its horizons, to promote the idea of diving with a purpose, encouraging divers to embrace all that the underwater world had to offer in terms of exploration, marine biology, archaeology, wreck discovery and surveying, photography, geology.
Peter had wanted to achieve national bookstall sales. It was an ambition I whole-heartedly shared.
So began, in 1963, when I became publisher of Triton, a love affair with a magazine.
It was a thoroughly exciting and adventurous endeavour which was to bring us into contact with all the great names in the diving world.

hspace=5 Our first edition was a tribute to Peter Small, with all the available details of his record-breaking dive, including an exclusive article by Hannes Keller. This probably reached no more than 3500 readers at that time, that being about the extent of the BSAC's membership.
The magazine itself reflected that small circulation, for it was in small-format size with a limited number of pages, was nominally bi-monthly although in fact published somewhat erratically, and printed in black and white.
But we were able to fill our pages with articles and pictures of exceptionally high quality, sent to us by an increasing number of contributors, both at home and overseas. As time went on we also managed to keep ahead of all other diving magazines with news and features of international importance - even to scoop Britain's top national newspapers on several occasions.
As a result, the magazine was quoted in publications of the calibre of the Observer, Daily Express, Evening News and Evening Standard, and Triton articles were reprinted in other publications throughout the world.

Our aim throughout was for the magazine to play a vital role in the promotion of British diving and divers, the BSAC, and Triton, and suddenly an unexpected opportunity was presented to us.
The Brighton and Worthing Branch of the BSAC had been holding annual conferences for some years, and we were approached in 1964 to support the next one. As it turned out, we became organisers of the event in association with Brighton Branch, and immediately set about raising its profile.
In 1965, for instance, we persuaded such world-famous names as Philippe Cousteau and Professor Jacques Piccard to fly over to speak. And we introduced the International Festival of Underwater Film, judged by national newspaper picture editors, film and television producers.
This was followed in succeeding years with conferences and film festivals at Brighton that attracted virtually every great name in the diving world, including Jacques Cousteau; George Bond, Director of the US Navys Sealab experiments; Ed Link, underwater living pioneer; Hans Hass; Ron and Valerie Taylor; Bob Marx; Joe MacInnis; Eugenie Clark; Sylvia Earle; David Bellamy; Robert Stenuit; Alexander McKee; Margaret Rule; Stanton Waterman; Jack McKenney; David Doubilet; Mike Portelly, and many more.

hspace=5 In the meantime, the magazine grew, as did its reputation. In June 1965, for instance, we had our first cover in colour. It was followed by another in October that year with exclusive pictures and story announcing the premiere of the James Bond underwater film Thunderball.
In January 1968 we increased our format size, but it was not until 1972 that we were able to achieve the present A4 format with, wonder of wonders, colour covers.
In January 1977 we became monthly, and a year later the magazines title was changed from Triton to Diver. As I wrote at that time: We are aiming to reach a wider readership than ever before - and to attract more people than ever before to this tremendous sport.
From the very beginning Diver initiated or became involved in many campaigns, projects and activities designed to raise the profile of the sport or to protect it.
We organised national film festivals; BSAC publicity campaigns; Best Branch stands at our Shows; Heinke Trophy promotions, and fun events.
An example was the Great Brighton Inner Tube Race, when diving clubs constructed craft out of inner tubes for a race between the piers at Brighton. The aim was to draw attention to a Save the Whale Conference being held in the town that day.

hspace=5 We launched the first diving holidays to the Red Sea, relinquishing control of the project when we thought the travel agency was charging too much. We campaigned against spearfishing competitions and persuaded the BSAC to support a ban on the spearfishing of territorial fish, such as groupers.
We turned the spotlight on organised scallop-fishing by divers, which was drawing serious animosity from fishermen and damaging the sport. We supported David Bellamy.s underwater pollution investigations, Project Kelp and Project Starfish, along the North-east coast, and were instrumental in raising the scores of divers needed to participate.
Following that, Diver launched Underwater Conservation Year and the Underwater Conservation Programme, and went on to found the Marine Conservation Society, with Prince Charles as its President.

On other fronts, we were the first organisation to raise funds for the salvage of King Henry VIIIs famous warship Mary Rose, thereafter promoting that endeavour in every possible way. We have long run a Lifeboat Fund to support the RNLI, and we promoted the Youre Safer with a Diver on the Beach initiative.
hspace=5 In 1995 we were once again in the forefront as we and US magazine Aqua Corps organised Euro Tek, the European Technical Diving Conference. This acclaimed two-day event took place at the NEC and was attended by top divers and experts from all over the world.
To recognise the merit of individual exponents of the sport of diving, we put up a Diver of the Year Trophy, which has been won by some notable names in the diving world as well as others less well known. And in recent years the Diver Awards, in which your votes translate into recognition of excellence in the diving industry, have become a much-anticipated feature of the UK scene.

hspace=5 Together with other organisations, the magazine has also thrown its weight behind the wreck-protection movement, which has successfully relieved a lot of pressure on the diving fraternity. We have also campaigned to persuade airlines to relieve divers of unfair excess baggage charges, a campaign which has not yet ended. We produced stickers for cars and boats to protest against shark-finning and are patrons of the Shark Trust.
Diver has so far organised no fewer than 12 international underwater conferences and film festivals, and 27 of the world-renowned Dive Shows, and continues to present two further shows every year.

hspace=5 Our policy on all these accounts remains the same but, regretfully, in 1999 the British Sub-Aqua Club decided to move the goalposts as far as its relationship with Diver was concerned, wishing to have more control over the magazine and a share of its revenue, overturning the original agreement and its spirit. Thus ended a partnership that had fulfilled - indeed exceeded - all its original ambitions and intentions.
As it turned out, the parting of the ways was fortunate for Diver - and timely. Today, ours is the only UK-sport diving magazine that is independent of any training agency.
And that position has, it seems, stood us in good stead, in a changing world in which club allegiances no longer seem as important as they once did.
Divers stance is to inform, entertain, but above all to be honest with the reader - its the magazine thats straight down the line. After all, in diving lives depend upon accurate and unbiased information, whether its in the testing of a piece of diving equipment, or simply the reporting of things that go wrong under water, as well as those that go right.
Clearly you agree, because Diver remains the leading diving magazine on the bookstalls and by subscription. It continues to pursue the dreams and plans of those pioneer days of 40 years ago while always looking ahead - because as far as we are concerned, its the next 40 years that really matter now.