THE men and women who risk their lives to make the world’s seas safer by clearing mines are to be honoured with a memorial statue thanks to a former Shoebury ranges diver.

Royal Navy and Army mine clearance divers have spent decades makings the seas and coastline safer after the two world wars saw the biggest period of maritime mining in history.


Memorial - Paul Guiver collaborated to launch the ambitious project to recognise the work of military divers


Former Southend diver Tony Sexton, who worked at the Ministry of Defence’s Shoebury ranges, said: “There are units operating permanently in the Middle East and they have continuously provided an underwater force protection element since the September 11 attacks.

“A little-known fact is the first men ashore on D-Day were ‘frogmen’, tasked with clearing away the underwater obstructions and mines, so the assault craft could land troops on the beach.

“And with the US currently claiming Iran is using mines to strike oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the work of military divers is making the headlines again.”

Royal Navy and Army divers have worked tirelessly to remove them but until now there has been no national memorial to commemorate the bravery of these remarkable people.

Mr Sexton, 56, who joined the Royal Navy from school and was a member of the Falklands Task Force on HMS Hermes and now lives in the Lake District, added: “Army dive teams are responsible for tasks such as underwater demolition and clearance of obstructions, search and recovery of critical equipment, inspection and classification of bridges and piers, port infrastructure repair and maintenance and mobility support to land operations.

“Clearance divers have been involved in every major British conflict since their inception, and have most recently been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.”

He was joined by Paul Guiver, 59, from Lincolnshire, who collaborated to launch the ambitious project to recognise the work of military divers.

A ten-foot tall bronze statue of a diver will be placed in the grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire.

The statue will include an admiralty pattern siebe gorman standard dress with a six bolt helmet.

To fund the project, the world-class sculptor Greg Polutanovich was commissioned to create a 21 inch bronze statuette of the intended memorial.

There will be a strictly limited edition of 300 individually numbered pieces available.

More than 120 of the statuettes, which cost £2,995 each, have already been sold.

For more information on the memorial or the work of the divers over the decades you can visit: