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Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument

Here is the latest 'artist's impression' of the Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument in situ in Pool B at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, the site previously occupied by HMS VERNON. It is based on a 3D printed model using a laser scan of the half life-size maquette. The finished bronze structure, due to be installed next spring, will be one-and-a-quarter life-size. The monument will be dedicated to all those involved with minewarfare, diving and EOD - past, present and future.

Artist Impression of Vernon Monument in Pool B med.jpg
Thank you sculptor Mark Richards for doing such a fantastic job!

For much more, join the project's Facebook group at:

or view the project's website at:

Vernon Monument (especially the History section).​

Project Vernon is a charity (Charity Commission Registered Number: 1128677) staffed entirely by volunteers.
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There is something about divers and memorials, on the Arrsepedia. Good to see these monuments appearing, and thanks for posting the info.


Book Reviewer
I like that.
As published in the Daily Telegraph on 18 Sep.
Daily Telegraph Vernon Monument photo 18 Sep 2019.jpg

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One of the most dramatic Unexploded Bomb episodes took place in 1957 when a bomb was discovered in West India Dock.

A Port of London diver doing a routine inspection of the dock found the bomb half buried in mud, due to the fact that it was a magnetic ‘G’ mine it was not possible to bring to the surface as it possessed a mechanism that would have detonated it.

For eight hours in freezing cold waters a team of bomb disposal divers worked to make it safe. In recognition of their bravery the team was honoured, Cdr Gordon Gutteridge was appointed an OBE, Lt Cdr Terrell and Lt Heatley MBEs. PO Cobby, Leading Seaman Alderton, Able Seaman Harris received British Empire Medals.

In the obituary for Peter Cobby in the Scotsman in 2012 more details were given;

In the late 1950s he served as senior diver in the mine hunter HMS Brenchley, which was attached to the 51st Minesweeping Squadron but in 1957 he was called from the classroom where he was taking his officer exams and sent to West India Dock in London. A huge German mine containing 1570 kilos of explosive had been found lying in the mud and was highly dangerous.
He immediately ordered that the area be evacuated and he and his colleagues from HMS Brenchley displayed nerves of steel. They worked by touch and feel in the pitch dark and unlit water in rotation and made repeated dives on the mine. They had to treat the bomb as though it had multiple fuses – it could easily have blown up at any moment. He was awarded a BEM for his skill and bravery.
The team Commander was my late father in law. A character

Owing to the expected upsurge in the risk from COVID-19 over the coming fortnight, the Project's management has reluctantly decided to action contingency plans and has released the following announcement.

"Ladies and Gentlemen,​
It will come as no surprise to you to learn that the Trustees of the Vernon Project have, for some time, been giving serious consideration to the possible implications of the Coronavirus on our unveiling ceremony on 25 March. Whilst, at present, there are no restrictions on holding large events, it is likely that, as the disease spreads, such gatherings will be discouraged or even banned. Indeed, some countries have already done this as well as imposing travel restrictions.​
Current medical advice is that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are most at risk. With the utmost respect to all, many of our supporters fall within those parameters. The advice also confirms that the situation will almost certainly deteriorate dramatically within the next two weeks. It also strongly suggests restricting travel.​
In view of these prevailing circumstances, the Trustees have decided that the only responsible course of action is to curtail the event before this decision is imposed us and with, then, serious financial consequences to the charity with respect to catering and cover for the event, and to our supporters. The monument will still be installed at Gunwharf Quays later this month and, as planned, will be unveiled on 25 March but sadly with a much reduced attendance.​
The trustees will then plan to hold a Ceremony of Dedication at a later date to which you will all be invited. The date of that event will be announced once the situation becomes clearer and safer.​
The intention of the trustees is that those people within a radius of about twenty miles of Gunwharf Quays should attend. Others travelling from further afield are requested not to attend. Special consideration is to be applied to those from abroad who have already bought flight tickets, and whose countries, and the UK government, permit their travel. They may also attend. By this action your committee intend to limit the attendance to fewer than three hundred​
The Trustees realise that this news will come as a great disappointment to many. However, the safety and well-being of all supporters of the Vernon Mine Warfare and Diving Monument is paramount."​

The unveiling ceremony has not been cancelled, just curtailed in what is deemed a sensible manner. The health and welfare of potential attendees, particularly the elderly and infirm, is the Project's primary consideration. This was a difficult but necessary decision and your understanding and cooperation are requested. The alternative was to cancel the event altogether and ruin the plans of many already committed to travelling from far away places including the Far East, USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Southern Europe.

Despite the constraining effect of Coronavirus on the unveiling ceremony, the good news is that the Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument is now fully assembled and the green-black patination process started at the foundry yesterday. It is still on track to be installed at Gunwharf Quays later this month.


Vernon Monument at Morris Singer foundry prior to patination 11 Mar 2020 (8) med.jpg

Vernon Monument at Morris Singer foundry prior to patination 11 Mar 2020 (5) med.jpg


I missed this when it was first posted. My old man was posted at HMS Vernon at various points in his Naval career. He wasn't involved in diving, mine warfare or EOD but was heavily involved in torpedo development. I am pleased to see recognition of the work that those who went through Vernon were involved in and that the memorial is of a fantastic standard befitting of their memory.
I've never felt a need to visit Gunwarf Quays when I have been in Pompey since Vernon was redeveloped, however, I may have to make an exception to go and see this.

It is deeply regretted that the unveiling ceremony for the Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument, planned for Wed 25 March at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth on the former site of HMS VERNON, has been cancelled owing to the dramatically increasing risk to health from Coronavirus.

It is hoped to arrange a dedication ceremony when circumstances are more favourable, possibly next year.

Despite the cancellation of the unveiling ceremony, the good news is that the green-black patination of the sculpture has begun prior to its planned installation later this month.

Vernon Monument patination begun 12 Mar 2020 med.jpg
I read a story about a British submarine accidentally running into a British minefield and frantically applying back emergency power to stop and reverse out. Several cables could be heard scraping along the hull as the sub slowed, stopped and began to reverse. An ominous bumping was heard, clearly the body of a mine bumping off the hull. Nobody said a word until all the bumping and scraping had stopped and then one man said "Thank God for Vernon! Another dud!"