The history of LSSAU

The Leicestershire Scouts Sub Aqua Unit “LSSAU” had its beginnings in the early days of 1982 when Roger Cooper “Coops”, a Venture Scout leader at the time, was engaged on an Operation Raleigh expedition to Honduras, Central America, to Satellite position Mayan sites on the “Mosquito Coast”

On the return journey through Honduras he became aware of the “Bay Islands” off the coast – these were destined to be one of the Op Raleigh expedition venues in 1985, with the intention of diving on ancient pirate wrecks. On further investigation back in the UK, it transpired that the location of the wrecks were unknown. Being a qualified diver, geographer/navigator, Coops suggested to Op Raleigh that a reconnaissance expedition should be mounted. Such an expedition would be to locate and position the wrecks, for the divers to investigate, when they arrived there in 1985. As a result Coops organised this expedition from Lutterworth during 1983. The expedition, known as “Operation Raleigh Reconnaissance 1984″ arrived on the island of Roatan in March 1984.

During the six weeks of intense diving activities, three wrecks were found by the team of sixteen divers. Included in the team were two Raleigh Venturers from the Claybrooke and Ullesthorpe Venture Scout Unit, The wrecks were positioned by highly accurate satellite techniques for subsequent investigation. As a result the expedition was very successful – a full account is available as a report, should anyone be interested. The success of the expedition was in no small way attributed to the skills and personalities of the Principle Diving Officer – Marg Baldwin, Diving Officer(s) – Brian Weller and the late Bob Liscoe. The expedition Quartermaster – the late Alan Greenwood and expedition Liaison Officer – Terry Hoyle. All of whom are well known to many in the present LSSAU.

On return to the UK, Coops carried on with the Venture Scouts and engaged Marg and Brian with the help of Alan, to teach his Ventures to dive. This took place in Lutterworth pool and of course Stoney Cove.

The receptive nature of the young Ventures gave such refreshing feedback that both Marg and Brian suggested that such activities should be expanded. However, as Lutterworth was well supported by the Lutterworth Dive Club, it was not ethical to set up a rival group. In addition, as the interest was toward young people, it was proposed that a “Scout” based diving group be formed to provide affordable diving to members of the Scout Association.

With the blessing of County’ and Gilwell, the Leicestershire Scouts Sub Aqua Unit was formed in 1985 to provide Scuba training to Scouts which may otherwise be unaffordable to many.

Our first meeting to establish the way forward was at the Ullesthorpe Campsite where a slide presentation of the Roatan Expedition was given. It was at this presentation that Rich, Taff, Kevin, the late Marcelle, and a few others who are familiar, first volunteered to form the embryo unit.

Several of the principle founders remain part of LSSAU and it continues to thrive on the teaching of Scuba to Scouts. This now includes the younger Scout members by way the Snorkel and SCUBA training we provide.

The success of the Unit is simply because the members are from Scouting, with common aims and interests, with a selfless desire to let others enjoy what they have experienced. This remains the fundamental ethos of the LSSAU.

In the 30 years since LSSAU was founded, over [5,000] scouts, cubs, guides, leaders and helpers have participated in snorkelling and scuba sessions provided by LSSAU, some of whom have gone on to become Marine Biologists, Her Majesties Forces divers and others in scuba related fields.