Royal Navy diver awarded MBE for daring operations

Photo: Royal Navy

After the Portsmouth based Petty Officer Diver Darren Carvell, 41, received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for outstanding bravery and commitment to bomb disposal operations, the Royal Navy shared the story of his feats of courage.

The story of Carvell’s exploits sheds light on what a day in the life of a navy diver looks like.

During his time as a clearance diver the father of two has been responsible for the safe disposal of over 150 explosive ordnance devices, including WW2 bombs, and conducted several remarkably challenging diving operations.

“I was deeply honoured and immensely proud to be recommended for this award, let alone to actually receive it,” PO(D) Carvell said. “It’s a fantastic achievement for both myself and my family.”

On July 12, 2016, Carvell led a six-man team to locate and free a Portuguese submarine that had become entangled in a trawler’s net 35 nautical miles offshore.

The submarine was rolling dangerously in heavy seas, and during the six-hour operation his exceptional drive and leadership ensured that the vessel was finally cut free and escorted back to the safety of HMNB Devonport.

Between the Sep 23 – Oct 2, 2017, the Devonport Secondary School alumni led a four-man team through six significant EOD tasks, including the safe disposal of two large WW2 bombs less than 900 yards from Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station and an improvised explosive device (IED) disposal task following an explosion in Camborne, Cornwall.

On the 27th September 2017 PO(D) Carvell yet again demonstrated his outstanding qualities during the most dangerous of diving operations. The fishing vessel FV Solstice had capsized in heavy seas off the coast of Plymouth and one member of the three-man crew was missing.

On arrival at the scene the dive team were presented with an upturned, unfamiliar vessel of unknown condition that was floundering in heavy seas, only minutes away from sinking.

PO(D) Carvell’s rapid planning, leadership and mental courage enabled the deployment of a two-man dive team to conduct a search and rescue operation inside the hull of the capsized vessel.

Sadly, the crewman was not recovered alive, but his body was recovered just moments before the vessel sank, enabling closure for his family and the Plymouth seafaring community following this tragic loss of life.

Lieutenant Commander Sean Heaton, the Commanding Officer of the Southern Diving Group said: “PO(D) Carvell has continually performed above and beyond his far-reaching responsibilities.

“He has constantly put the needs of the Royal Navy ahead of his own, working long hours in difficult conditions and sustaining the morale of his busy team.

A key member of Southern Diving Unit 1 in Plymouth between August 2014 and May 2018, PO(D) Darren Carvell is now part of Fleet Diving Unit 1 on Horsea Island, supporting overseas bomb disposal operations.

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