statue of a SA Navy Standby Diver now stands tall at the
end of the pier in Simon’s Town looking with intent out
over False Bay. “A gift to the nation, Navy and the
community” is how Rear Adm (Ret) Arne Soderland
described the donation of the statue which will be cared
for by Naval Heritage Trust and the Simon’s Town
Amenities and Development Company.
was unveiled on Saturday, 20 December 2014 by Lee
Woodburne and blessed by Catholic Bishop Cawcutt whilst
witnessed by past and present SA Navy Divers, their
families, members of the SA Navy and Simon’s Town
community. Many had travelled from afar to attend the
event which was co-ordinated via social media.
provided by the Isizunguzungu band under the leadership
of Cdr (Ret) Mike Oldham who also played the Last Post
and Reveille after the names of those legendary SA Navy
divers who had “crossed the bar” were remembered and
called out by their “buddies”.
A bronze statue SA Navy Standby Diver stands proudly at
the end of the Simon’s Town pier
The idea of a
statue to commemorate SA Navy divers was born in October
2013 during social media discussions amongst members of
the SA Navy diving fraternity. Marius Huysamer took up
the challenge and quickly arrange for ex-SA Navy diver
Jan Otto du Plessis, a sculptor, to design and mould a
bronze statue. A Project Committee was formed and
pledges towards the project were quickly instituted. The
overwhelming support from past and present SA Navy
divers lead to +R244 000 being raised towards the
cast in bronze, depicts a SA Navy Standby Diver dressed
in a wet suit with twin 7 set of cylinders, twin hose
demand valve, weight belt, mask, snorkel, diving knife
and fins. At his feet are items associated with the
diver’s trade – kelp, crayfish, octopus, perlemoen,
shackles, high-pressure hose, limpet mine and a quart of
Sedgwick’s Old Brown Sherry.
On the plinth is a plaque which reads
“This statue stands as a symbol to
all past, present and future South African Navy divers.
We protect and serve confident in the knowledge that
there will always be a fellow diver looking out for us.
Ours is a ‘brotherhood’ that transcends race, gender and
‘Semper in excreta’ “
trained and professional SA Navy divers are regarded as
Simon’s Town’s greatest export as many take up civilian
diving positions around the globe after serving time in
the Navy. Their professionalism is recognised
internationally which has enhanced the reputation of the
SA Navy Diving School.
Thank you to
Hilti SA and Bolt Fast for assisting with the plinth and
the manner in which the statue is secured to it.
to Marius Huysamer and his Project Committee consisting
Erika van Wyk