Subsea Stories

Hugh Dasken


Early in December, I got an email from Hugh Dasken, asking if I’d read the book No Time on Our Side about the 1650-foot rescue of Roger Chapman and Roger Mallison in Pisces III off the coast of southern Ireland in 1973. He mentioned that he’d gotten to know Roger Mallison well, which piqued my interest. And I had also just received an obituary for Roger Chapman, the book’s author.

I wrote back to Hugh saying that I’d actually read the book several times. I also added that James McFarlane Sr. of ISE felt that when that book came out there was very scant attention paid to the Canadian contribution to the rescue. So, he had asked several of those involved to write up their stories and “published” an informal version of ““The Canadian Contribution to the No Time on Our Side Story”. I treasure the copy Jim McFarlane gave me.

I wrote back, asking Hugh about his subsea background and how he’d come to know Roger Mallison and was delighted to get a quick reply from him. “I know Al Trice, Mike Macdonald, and Jim McFarlane well having worked together for many years, although not so much recently. Al Robinson was my early mentor. We built the hydraulic/pneumatic systems on a number of the Pisces subs in the 1970s.

“I spent quite a bit of time hanging out with Roger Mallinson, the “other” Roger in the Pisces III rescue, when I was in Edinburgh a few years later with HYCO’s Taurus for a refit. He reminded me of Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo, and had built a huge pipe organ in the center of his house.

“There are definitely a lot of stories to be told, and I actually talked with Howard White at Harbour Publishing a number of years ago about finding someone to write a book about the industry. I am so glad that you are actually doing it! Please add me to your mailing list.” He also said he was happy to share his contact info:

Lastly, Hugh added that he was forwarding my information to Tom Gilchrist, “a tech writer who has been involved with the subsea industry going back to the mid-1970s.” Hugh’s connection with Tom Gilchrist proved to be another delight!

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