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(Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

Hello everyone,
Below is the text of a post I've just made on the Fifth Dimension Forums, which are dedicated DIR Diving forums fequented by people who dive on HMS Repulse, some of whom are known to have entered the engine room, where human remains have been filmed.
I have a copy of this video downloaded from the website of Andrew Georgitsis, a big cheese in DIR Diving.
We'll see if we get any reaction to the post, or if it's just deleted by the forum moderators.
I'll let you know here, whatever happens.

Kind regards,
Andy Wade.

My Post:
This is a genuine question.
My understanding is that diving on USS Arizona is not allowed because the wreck is a war grave containing the human remains of men who died defending peace.
Please could someone explain why it's not OK to dive on USS Arizona but it's OK to enter the engine room of HMS Repulse and disturb the obvious human remains there?
HMS Repulse was sunk just 3 days after USS Arizona was sunk, and both ships were part of the allied forces during WW2.
I've seen evidence of this disturbance on the video of the engine room penetration by Andrew Georgitsis, (I have a copy downloaded from his website, the video has now been removed) but I don't see anyone complaining about it on here.

Is it something that is not generally known about, or does no-one care to discuss something that may make them feel uncomfortable?

This post is not a troll. I am fully prepared to discuss this openly if only someone would care to justify this disturbance of a UK designated war grave.
Please, someone talk to me about it, because I'm having a hard time understanding what the difference is.

I don't wish to malign the moderators of this forum, but somehow I doubt this post will remain on here for long.
If this post does get deleted, it may be found on the forum on the Survivors Association website (details below). Anyone interested in discussing it there may do so without censorship.

Andy Wade.
Webmaster,
Force Z Survivors Association:
www.forcez-survivors.org.uk

Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

What kind of reaction are you looking for?

If there is something you would like to see happen, then why not just state it in plain terms? All I can gather from your post is an indictment of people who dive wrecks. People like me do not know the facts nor the positions of people on each side of the issue.

The vast majority of the DIR divers I have come across are conscientious people whether the issue be one of environment, fellow divers or community in general. If your objective is to educate these people about the sensitive nature of diving military wrecks, be they allied forces wrecks or otherwise, then why not do it in a constructive fashion rather than an accusatory fashion?

Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

Hello Purple Tang, (Do you have a real name that you'd care to use? I feel silly having a conversation with a fish)
Firstly I should state my credentials.
I have served for 6 years with the British Armed Forces, I have also been a diver for almost 30 years, and I am qualified as a BSAC First Class Diver and an Advanced Instructor.
So you can see I speak as a SCUBA diver as well as someone who finds the disturbance of remains objectionable.
My point of posting was that Mr Georgitsis holds a position of responsibilty within diving, and specifically DIR. He has the power to influence new divers, both to the techniques of diving, and to the ethos of diving with respect.
DIR means Doing It Right.
I'd like to see him defend this ethos with 'Doing It Wrong' by disturbing human remains in HMS Repulse.
I know the dive he made the video on was made over two years ago.
I posted now because we have only just discovered that he's selling the video on Ebay.
He is probably also aware that HMS Repulse was designated as a UK Maritime War Grave in 2001, he dived entered and disturbed remains on HMS Repulse after this designation was put into place.

I know it would never happen, but I wonder if he'd be quick to condemn British Divers entering the engine room of USS Arizona?
I understand that he's a US citizen, and I'd hope that he'd be proud of his nations maritime heritage and of the American men who laid down their lives so that he could live in peace.

You wanted to know what we want?
I'll tell you what we want.
We want him and the others who descrated HMS Repulse to apologise.
We want him to start a programme within the DIR ethos to promote respectful diving.
We want him to protect the interests of the men who survived and have to hear about their shipmates remains being disturbed by what amounts to thrill seekers.
We want him to remove the offending pictures and material from his website.
In short, we want him on our side.

One other thing.
The Survivors Association does not wish to stop people diving on the wrecks. It has never been the desire of the Association to stop diving.
In fact the more people that do visit the wrecks, the longer their story is kept alive.
We just want people to stay outside them.
Not a lot to ask.
When the first objections were raised about the protection of the wrecks, many people said that it was unlikely that there would be anything left underwater that could be recognised as human remains after all this time. We know different because we have video evidence of it.
The skull sat on the step was not in it's final resting place. It was placed there. Maybe not by the divers making the video, but someone did it.

I hope this answers your question.
Thank you very much for responding.
Kind regards,
Andy Wade.
Site webmaster.

Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

I do have a real name but it is a small world, after all..

I'm sure you realize that what each individual may find morally acceptable, others have may find objectionable. I've heard reports that some folks have commented on how Steve Irwin got what was coming to him. Harassing wild animals and such... I guess divers such as you and I might inadvertantly be offending others out their with our morals with regards to entering and interacting with marine wild life.

I can see where you and others within your community might find what transpired during the Repulse expedition to be objectionable. I do not see it as my place to disagree with you. However, I wish to point out that while I might not have participated in the Repulse expedition (lack of ability, experience or means aside), I can see where others might not agree with your definition of the following:
- desecration
- disturbing human remains

Trying to meet everybody's standards for respectfulness is an exercise in futility. After all, how can anyone make everybody happy? All we can really ask of Mr. Georgitsis is to take the time to understand how this affects the interested parties and hope that his morals will change to become more sensitive to your issues. What little I do know if him is this, he and his partners teach a team approach that seeks to promote the protection of the environment we enjoy as part of our sport. Molestation of marine animals and habitat are neither taught nor tolerated (which you cannot say about their counterparts in the garden variety agencies like PADI, SSI, etc.)

I think the diver community that participates in the 5thd-x forums would be receptive to reading about your perspectives, to hear about you consider desecration, what you find respectful or offensive. Unfortunately, the post you put in those forums, as it stands, really comes across as a troll (to post controversial or provocative messages in a deliberate attempt to provoke flames) and may actually be serving to undermine your attempt to come to a satisfactory agreement with Mr. Georgitsis.

Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

Thanks for your reply, and for entering into this discussion. I do appreciate it.
I guess you may be right about the troll bit.
My concept of a troll is someone who posts a message, then sits back and watches as everone else argues about it, they take great pleasure out of mischief making, but they often don't get into the discussion, or they just post stupid replies designed to provoke a reaction.
I made a point of stating that it was not a troll, and should I remain a member of the Fifth Dimension Forum (I haven't ruled out the possibilty of being banned) I would be only too pleased to discuss the ethos of entering and disturbing remains in HMS Repulse. I will strive to keep it non-confrontational as much as possible, depending on the replies I get (if any).
I understand that one mans 'desecration' may mean little to someone else but I consider that a matter of education. Having empathy is very important to divers, they need it as part of their character IMVHO.

Had the dive/video in question taken place before the PMRA act designation in 2001, then maybe there would be an excuse for saying they weren't fully aware of the issues surrounding HMS Repulse, but Andrew Georgitsis is a very experienced diver and instructor and I find it very hard to believe that he wouldn't be aware of the issues when he arranged the dive.

On his website they made a great deal out of being the 'heroes' who found the way into the elusive engine room of HMS Repulse. Had they wanted to know what the engine room was like, we could have put them in touch with a Stoker who actually served in the engine room of HMS Repulse. He'd have been delighted to tell them all about it.

Yes you may be right, my post might wind up a few people on the forum and may be counter productive.
Imagine how the men who survived feel about the remains of their shipmates being disturbed?
When you've seen very old men cry real tears at the service of remembrance, you are indeed humbled. I know I was.

Andrew Georgitsis knows that people object most strongly to his video, and to the pictures on his website, but they are still there.
I know who he is, he's a big voice in DIR.
He's in a position of great power and influence and he's shown by his actions that he thinks it's acceptable to disturb remains. People will learn by his example. He hasn't come out and said that he regrets it. And it's been a few years since the video on his website was first complained about. He took it off the website, but not before I'd downloaded a copy. It was available as a free download before it was removed.
Look, I promise that if he posts a message in reply I would be pleased to discuss it with him.
And I won't insult him on his home turf, it's not my style.
I just want him to change his thinking. I'd like to think he has the ability to do this, and the ability to influence others. I do try to look for the best in people.
There's a saying:
"If we forget the mistakes of the past, we're doomed to repeat them in the future".

If we don't remember what these men gave up on our behalf, then they died in vain.
All we are trying to do is remember.
Please read our website, look at some of the crew biographies. These were real guys, just like you and me.

Kind regards,
Andy.

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Replying to:

I do have a real name but it is a small world, after all..

I'm sure you realize that what each individual may find morally acceptable, others have may find objectionable. I've heard reports that some folks have commented on how Steve Irwin got what was coming to him. Harassing wild animals and such... I guess divers such as you and I might inadvertantly be offending others out their with our morals with regards to entering and interacting with marine wild life.

I can see where you and others within your community might find what transpired during the Repulse expedition to be objectionable. I do not see it as my place to disagree with you. However, I wish to point out that while I might not have participated in the Repulse expedition (lack of ability, experience or means aside), I can see where others might not agree with your definition of the following:
- desecration
- disturbing human remains

Trying to meet everybody's standards for respectfulness is an exercise in futility. After all, how can anyone make everybody happy? All we can really ask of Mr. Georgitsis is to take the time to understand how this affects the interested parties and hope that his morals will change to become more sensitive to your issues. What little I do know if him is this, he and his partners teach a team approach that seeks to promote the protection of the environment we enjoy as part of our sport. Molestation of marine animals and habitat are neither taught nor tolerated (which you cannot say about their counterparts in the garden variety agencies like PADI, SSI, etc.)

I think the diver community that participates in the 5thd-x forums would be receptive to reading about your perspectives, to hear about you consider desecration, what you find respectful or offensive. Unfortunately, the post you put in those forums, as it stands, really comes across as a troll (to post controversial or provocative messages in a deliberate attempt to provoke flames) and may actually be serving to undermine your attempt to come to a satisfactory agreement with Mr. Georgitsis.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

If we cannot even come to a consensus on what constitutes a "troll"...

I am not an expert on archeology nor am I an expert on matters dealing with war graves. I do know that there are things that would universally be considered desecration and things that universally would be considered acceptable. The fact that you draw your lines somewhere different than where Mr. Georgitsis draws the line is where I see this issue to be. Perhaps he is in the wrong, i dunno. What I do know is that in looking at his pictures, I don't see anywhere where they violated the "look but don't touch" provision of the PMRA legislation you referred to.

I guess my point here is that while to you this issue may be black and white, to many others it is shades of gray. I wish for Mr. Georgitsis to be respectful of your feelings and the feelings of those who lost a loved one in the Repulse. And perhaps the way there is as you said, through education and not antagonism.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

Hi again,

Please, lets forget the 'troll' issue can we? I take your point, but it's not really getting us anywhere.
I'm having to be a bit confrontational just to ask the question of Andrew Georgitis in the first place, but I'm not eloquent ennough to word it in such a way as to completely avoid winding all the people up. They can call me a troll if they like but it's just fudging the real issue a bit. Kicking up the vis, to put it into diving terms.
The PMRA states the people may dive, but not enter the wrecks, legally it applies to UK citizens but not to anyone else in law. But in our opinion, morally it applies to us all.
We as humans generally have respect for the dead, which means leaving any remains alone.
We think that Andrew Georgitis is disturbing remains by entering HMS Repulse. He touches the wreck (in his words): "It took two of us standing on the sidewalls lifting with all of our strength to move the hatch door and open it".
He enters the wreck despite the request not to. He films remains that look very suspiciously to have been moved recently (skull on the step). We think that he and his friends need to think very carefully about the example they are setting. They are in a position to teach other divers to dive with respect, as indeed the vast majority do. He seems to be an extremely competent diver and instructor who is also concerned with conservation of undersea wildlife. Why can't he extend this concern to include war graves?

We just want him to think again.
He has not answered yet, but we live in hope.

Kind regards,
Andy.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Replying to:

If we cannot even come to a consensus on what constitutes a "troll"...

I am not an expert on archeology nor am I an expert on matters dealing with war graves. I do know that there are things that would universally be considered desecration and things that universally would be considered acceptable. The fact that you draw your lines somewhere different than where Mr. Georgitsis draws the line is where I see this issue to be. Perhaps he is in the wrong, i dunno. What I do know is that in looking at his pictures, I don't see anywhere where they violated the "look but don't touch" provision of the PMRA legislation you referred to.

I guess my point here is that while to you this issue may be black and white, to many others it is shades of gray. I wish for Mr. Georgitsis to be respectful of your feelings and the feelings of those who lost a loved one in the Repulse. And perhaps the way there is as you said, through education and not antagonism.

Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

I am a little confused. The HMS Repulse seems to be in Singapore's teritorial waters. How does the British goverment declairing it a war memorial have any effect on a wreck outside its waters. Conversly the Arizona is inside U.S. waters and further more control wreck has been given to the National Park Service. They control who does what.

Second you keep mentioning that human remains were disturbed by the diving. Can you give specific examples where the dives in question caused this disturbance. Lets also contrast this to the disturbanced caused by time and the Sea.

Third, what exact position of responsibility do you ascribe to him? He is a Naui instructor. True he has done increadible dives, but then so have many many other people.

Why exactly are you targeting him? There are others who also perform penitration on the wreck? For example: http://www.recntec.com/diveshop/scuba_diving_faqs/faq/technical_diving_faq.html

Finally I would suggest to you that by going around finding survivors of a wreck that happened over 60 years ago just to let them know that "someone is desicrating grampa's remains" is more then likely causing more emotional harm than any 10 dive trips to the repulse.

Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

Kevin

Repulse lies in international waters - moreover, why don't you answer the question first posed by Andy Wade e.g. what would US reaction be if UK divers penetrated USS Arizona, filmed and most probably re-arranged (as is the case with us) human remains to make a more startling photograph. If you doubt me check out Georgitsis' website.

As an association we are targeting him due to his insensitive nature towards persons you equally disregardingly refer to as 'grandpa's - I've just returned from the house of one such person (my father - ex Repulse) 84 yrs of age and absolutely disgusted by the actions of Georgitsis. Furthermore, if you had an ounce of knowledge on the issue you would know, through our website, that we have an association comprising many survivors off both ships - so please don't patronize these men with talk of causing them emotional harm by informing them of issues connected with the remains of their shipmates. They have more knowledge and understaning of this issue than you will ever posses. By the way I phoned Georgitsis last week - he had little to say - ending the conversation by putting his phone down. What a hero.

Alan Matthews

co-webmaster.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

Ok apparently I thought I did. Let me state it more clearly.

The Arizone IS in US waters and IS under the control of the U.S. Parks Service. So if the U.S. has laws against it and the U.S. Parks Service said dont dive it and you did anyways, I would expect you to be prosecuted to what the law allows.

The HMS Repluse IS NOT in UK waters and IS NOT under the control of the British goverment. Maritime salvage laws apply and not any edicts from the British goverment. This is not the age of the British empire anymore.

If someone had called me and started making accusations regarding my actions to which they had no knowledge as they were not there for the dives then I probably wouldnt have continued the conversation either. There is nothing to be gained by:

"I saw your video and you did such and such and are a horrible person and I want you to appologise"

"But I didn't do what you are say I did. Also you wernt there!"

"I say you did, now appolgise!"


Your positions are opposed to each other and quite frankly futher discussion isnt going to change them. Why continue the conversation.


Finally you proved my point. Your father is 84 years old. I might be wrong, but somehow I doubt that an 84 year old man is spending much time on EBAY ordering DVDs. More then likely some "do-gooder" such as yourself went to him as presented the case as "Dad, you know what I saw? I saw this video of scuba divers and they went into the engine room of the Repulse and started playing xylophone on the ribcages of your shipmates. And you know what they did after??? They took the skulls and acted out scenes from Hamlet! Arn't they awful Doesn't it make you mad!"

Of course when presented like that they are going to get mad. But in reality all you are doing is emotionally winding up an 84 year old man.


Of course this is just one mans opinion who doesnt have an ouce of knowledge. Feel free to discount it as AG felt free to discount yours.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

I that twaddle and semantics form a major part of your writen vocabulary. Would be more benefical to this debate if you actualy made a clear/concise statement.

Your comments regarding my father are disrespectful. Moreover, do you imply that senior citizens should not be informed on issues to which they are directly associated?

Finally, let's cut out all the rubbish: please offer your opinions on my new thread 'double standards'.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repuls

What part wasn't clear/concise? I explained clearly how the Arizona and the Repulse are different. Dont just dismiss it as "twaddle and semantics" explain how I am wrong.

How have I been disrespectful toward your father? My whole point is he is an 84 year old man who should be enjoying his salad days. Why wind him up needlessly?

The truth that is staring you all in the face is that people have dove and penitrated the Repulse and quite frankly will continue to do so for a long time to come. Lukily it sank in a spot that is very dificult to get to and requires a great deal of skill to dive as otherwise there probably would be no part untouched by human hands. As it is the best you can hope for is that the people diving the wreck are respectfull of the heritage and attempt to affect it as little as possible.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Re

To start with you've been disrespectful because, in my view, you have categorised all elderly persons as being incapable of reaching their own opinions on issues before them, without being led by the nose by persons such a me. If you had ever attended one of our reunions when we first tried to get designation for the ships (circa 2000/1) you would have known this not to be the case. But of course you weren't there so, I suppose this affords you more artistic license to label persons, not by their knowledge or personal experience of events,but rather by their age -perhaps I should stop my father from driving or thinking for himself carte-blanche?

Furthermore, could I hazard the guess that US authorities banned recreational diving on 'Arizona' to preserve the final resting place of many brave men? I think that was the case. Accordingly, British authorities decreed the resting places of Prince of Wales & Repulse to be war graves for the same reason. The fact that many non-UK divers use this as a loophpole is to their detriment, or would you say morals and ethics are not an issue in this debate? Repulse is the final resting place of 513 men - one of your countrymen (perhaps you!!) have re-arranged a British sailors remains to construct a more 'striking' picture. I would say that was both disrespectful and sick. Why don't you ask for views of US vets of WW2 - I'm sure they would agree with me.

By the way, why haven't you answered by latest posting?

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HM

Alan,

Its far stretch from needlessly winding up people to "stop my father from driving or thinking for himself carte-blanche"

My whole point is that how you present things has a great influence on their reactions. If you had gone to your elderly members and stated that "you just found a great video that some divers who at personal risk and much expense had documented the condition of the HMS Repulse both inside and out." instead of "look what these rapacious nasty people were doing desicrating your shipmates graves" you might have gotten a different reaction from them.

You continually like to state to me that I am not there and that have no clue what I am talking about. Well lets just use your same arguement back at ya... Have you dove with AG? Have you taken a class with AG? Have you done a dive with him on a 60 year old wreck sitting in 50m+ of water? Have you personally seen his skills in the water and how he uses them to preserve the wrecks? No??? well then you dont know what you are talking about!

Finally if British authorities were really serious about protecting the monument then they should do more then just simply issuing an edict. Perhaps setting up a more perminant presense to shoo away onlookers. I would suspect that this is what irritates you folks the most is the fact that your own goverment just doesnt care enough to spend the money to protect it. And in the end, this is the truely sad thing of this whole discussion. Wrecks should be treated like any other national treasure and preserved for future generations. The main problem with wrecks is that unlike land monuments, they dengerate so fast. 100 years from now, with care, we can be pretty sure Stonehenge will still be around but there wont be a lot left of the HMS Repulse. I, for one, would like documentation of the old lady before she is gone forever.

About the only arguement that does carry any weight in this whole discussion is Ethics and Morals. Speaking for myself, I would never want to enter a wreck unless I could be assured of three things. 1) That I have the skills to successfully perform the dive. 2) That my buddy has the skills to successfully perform the dive 3) that we both have the skills and conditions are right so that we will have a minimal impact on the wreck

Your contention is that no penitration is acceptable. I understand that but disagree with it.

I am a little unclear on if your contention is that "Mr. Georgitsis" deliberatly disturbed remains. You all seem to want to skate around this point possibly because of your libel laws in the UK. But if this IS what you are alluding to I disagree with this contention as well.

I haven't answered your latest posting because it was purely a one-ups-man ship exercise on your part. We could go into looking into the UK's history of grabbing mummies and bringing them back to display and then you go into the U.S's treatment of the indians and before you know it we are discussing the Boston Tea party and the Magna Carta. It gets us nowhere.

Finally, might I point out I was invited to the discussion on this forum by one of your webmasters. Once here, any dissention to your opinion has been treated with scorn and abuse. This is not a good way to convice people of your ideas. In fact all it has done was convince me that you are people that I really dont want top hang around with.

Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HM

Kevin,

I did some light research on HMS Repulse and Andrew Georgitsis via Google. It turns out that these axes have been needing a grind for at least two years. The same cast of characters have been after Georgitsis to adopt their "morals" for two years and have actively pursued him to "see the light."

Having this history and rereading the manner in which these folks have decided to use to open a dialogue regarding this topic, it is clear that there is frustration regarding the inability to engage Georgitsis and his crew in a mud slinging contest. And I quote from a post from dated Aug. 2004:
"I also find his (AG) reasoning illogical and ego-centric and would dearly love for him to respond to just one of my many emails."
No doubt a reply from AG would allow for a means to endlessly debate what is and isn't illogical and ego-centric.

MHK and AG have been very clear regarding their position on diving these and any other wrecks. From MHK:
" We dove a war grave. I'll make note that we did absolutely no salvaging
whatsoever, and while there were MANY, MANY opportunities to remove
artifacts, that isn't our interest. I'll also note that prior to our arrival
the bell had already been taken, one of the prop's had already been removed,
melted and sold for scrap metal, and overall the wreck has been pretty
picked over. But nonetheless, we took nothing but 15 hours of video footage
and over 1,000 still photo's. Our primary objective is to leave the wreck
the way we found it, and share our experiences with others that have a
desire to explore wrecks that are beyond their means."

And from AG:
"When I or any of the teams I dive with, SCRET ­ GUE - 5th D X, enter these
sites we do so first and foremost with the utmost respect. We don¹t just
dive for the sake of just diving a wreck. We most certainly do not dive to
take souvenirs, or salvage anything from the wreck. I have a strict policy
of taking nothing from the wreck or even the sea for that matter (not even a
shell). We dive the wreck because of the history and the story. In some
cases we try to bring the wrecks story and history of it¹s life to others,
not only to share but to educate the public through pictures, videos,
lectures and in some case documentaries for TV. This all servers a purpose
in which to educate the public about our past, our history."

It is not that the team members dove this wreck without respect to either those lost or the ones left behind. Both MHK and AG have stated that they treat not only these wrecks but any wreck or even a reef with the utmost respect doing whatever is possible to leave the site is found. After two years "harassment", I am not surprised that AG decided not to bother engaging in another fruitless discussion on what is and is not considered respectful.

I might just add that some of these characters are self acknowledged wreck divers. Apparantly only some grave sites are truly sacred even within their value systems. At least AG and crew and predictable in that way.

You might save some time and acknowledge that you are not gonna win this discussion. This began two years ago at least and it doesn't seem like it has progressed beyond where it was in the beginning.

Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HM

Oh without a doubt. Already came to the conclusion that they already made up their minds long ago. Makes sense on why they lash out at anybody with a different point of view. Their emotional investment in maintaining their position wont let them look at any facts that fit outside of the nice comfy box. That would threaten their world view. Sad really.

The heck with this conversation, lets go diving!

Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HM

Kevin

No matter what the outcome of this debate you would always do what you wanted - especially if you couldn't be prosecuted for it, e.g. dive/enter Repulse and look forward to doing the same on the Prince once a route has been mapped out for you, most probably by the intrepid AG.

I agree with one thing though, you are not going to win this argument.

See you Kevin.

Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HM

What significance has two years got to do with it? If we believe something is wrong then we have the right to express our concerns - or don't you agre with freedom of speech?

However, the last four years has seen a quantum leap in relations between British diving organisations and our association, simply because British divers understood our concerns and got their house in order. No more entering of wargraves- direct consultation with survivors associations - you know the kind of thing that AG has never attempted.

Moreover, you talk of rational arguments by Georgitsis and co - I've yet to hear one - indeed I read an email he sent to Andy today that makes me troubled for AG's sanity. Maybe it's time the guy took a rest by leaving UK wargraves in peace - you know in the same way that US divers do to their own (albeit through relevant legislation).

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains insid

There is absolutely no-way that I am going to alter your view point - you admire AG for his diving skills - I find him disgusting for posting the human remains of a British sailor on his website for all to see. What would US reaction be if he acted in a similar way to a sailor lost on any US warship in any recent conflict? Please answer this point.

Moreover, you were the one that acted in a condescending way, not just towards my father, but to many other vets by referring to them as 'grandpa's': who we shouldn't really tell that much to in case they get upset.

Finaly, you talk of the preservation and understanding of history and how AG perpetuates this. Well, I'd like to see one morsal of evidence to support your stance - the guy AG has used to dive Repulse (Vidar Skogli) is regularly monitored by Singapore and UK authorities because he has removed items from the ships in the past, present and no-doubt future also. Furthermore, I went to Singapore last year with my father (keeping him blinkered at all times lest he became unsettled)in order for him to assist in the unveiling of a memorial to both ships: I never seen AG at the service, surely this would have helped him to gain greater 'personal' knowledge of the ships and their crews. I have also never seen any attempts by AG or his associates to contact our association, to incease their knowledge of the ships - many UK divers have acted in this way and several were welcomed to our annual reunion in 2003.

Let's be realistic AG is only interested in exploiting a loop-hole in international law - for his own ends. Don't attempt to tell me that I'm being judgmental against AG, his actions speak for themselves. If you admire him good luck to you- if you don't like my attitude over this issue - I won't lose sleep over it - if you expect me to accept that it is within the bounds of decency- repsect and historical investigation to condone the actions of AG when entering Repulse - filming (and I would suggest -re-arranging human remains)- boasting to the diving world that his team was the first to enter Repulses 'elusive' engine room, then I would say that you are not interested in the preservation of history nor is AG, instead your only goal is that of personal kudos within the diving world - you have no true repsect for the final resting places of the men that that fought and died on Repulse and Prince. You may accused me of being emotive - I make no excuses for that because every year I attend our reunion - every year I witness the wives, relatives, loved ones and shipmates of men that died on these ships shed tears over thier loss at our service - and now I have to put up with the insensitive, callous, self motivated actions of AG and his cohorts who believe it right and proper for them to enter the final resting places of these men.

Moreover,in recent years I've been privileged to watch relations grow between our association and responsible divers and organisations in the UK and Singapore - primarily due to the hard work put in by Andy Wade and others such as Jack Ingle and John Thornton. Contrastingly, the actions of AG (and possibly you also) is having a damaging impact on this situation. Hence, I am now in the process of writing to every major UK based dive organisation to gain their support for our cause. What's it like to be out on a limb?

By the way my post of 'Double Standards' remains unanswered - perhaps you or AG would like to issue a response.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Re

OK.
They are only different becaue the ban on diving the USS Arizona can be enforced. More's the pity.
They are the same because they both contain the human remains of men who died defending our freedom.
They are both deserving of our respect.

Kevin, we know more about the wrecks than you do, some of our Association members were on them.

Your last sentence hits the nail on the head Kevin:

"As it is the best you can hope for is that the people diving the wreck are respectfull of the heritage and attempt to affect it as little as possible".

That's all we wanted in the first place.
We only differ in the manner by which this is achieved. Staying out of HMS Repulse would give the remains of the men who died in her, the same protection as the men who died on USS Arizona.
Andrew Georgitsis broke into the wreck and videoed remains, which we think is disturbance. Your view of the details of this may be different. I don't deny your view, but you seem to be seeking to deny our view, or at least dismiss it.
Why not speak to someone who you know personally that might understand how we feel? Maybe they can explain it to you.
Hopefully you have a Grandfather who will know what we mean.

Kind regards,
Andy.

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Replying to:

What part wasn't clear/concise? I explained clearly how the Arizona and the Repulse are different. Dont just dismiss it as "twaddle and semantics" explain how I am wrong.

How have I been disrespectful toward your father? My whole point is he is an 84 year old man who should be enjoying his salad days. Why wind him up needlessly?

The truth that is staring you all in the face is that people have dove and penitrated the Repulse and quite frankly will continue to do so for a long time to come. Lukily it sank in a spot that is very dificult to get to and requires a great deal of skill to dive as otherwise there probably would be no part untouched by human hands. As it is the best you can hope for is that the people diving the wreck are respectfull of the heritage and attempt to affect it as little as possible.

Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Re

They dove the wreck. They went in. They filmed and phototgraphed.

This is what you consider "breaking in" and "desecrating", correct?

We are not talking about people using cutting torches to gain entry. Or trampling on the site (PADI style). Or removing any artifacts. Right?

When you described these events to the survivors and family members of the lost, did you use the terms "entered the wreck, filmed and photographed" or did you use "broke in" and "desecrated"?

Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Re

Hi Purple Tang

How do we know their method of entry - we weren't here. Where you? Desecration is desecration the kind of thing America divers (rightly can't ) conduct against thier own vessels - such as USS Largarto.

See you.

Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Re

They forced open a door to get in, it says this on Andrew's website.

'Desecration' is a subjective view. You may not view it as that. As you well know, your bubbles cause damage just by their very existence inside the wreck.

The thing is, I don't think that many people had actually entered the wreck so far inside before Andrew Georgitis and his crew. They forced open a heavy door to gain access. Can you put hand on your heart and say you think they closed the door afterwards?
I don't think they did, I am a diver and I know that once access was gained they probably wouldn't have closed it again, because they'd want to come back another time.
Every diver that comes after will have easier access to the inside of the wreck, which is bound to cause more disturbance.
We see headlines of the outrage when a few youths push over a few headstones in a local cemetery, may I ask, what really is the difference?
Andrew Georgitsis justifies his right to enter by saying he's an explorer who just wants to document.
He might have asked first. He would have been told no and he knows it so he didn't ask, but just entered. Then we find out he's selling the CD on ebay, with the bit containing human remains edited out. This is for profit, not on behalf of historical record. This is another reason why we question his argument.
It easy to sit at your computer and say you have the 'right' to enter the wreck and look around, but I very much doubt any of you would come to the memorial service and try to justify it to the men and the relatives, who's shipmates remains have been filmed. I doubt you'd have the guts to do that.

The men of the Survivors Association found out quite by accident a few years ago that the final resting place of their shipmates had been disturbed, they also found out that someone had salvaged one of the props many yars before. They had imagined that the grave would have just been left to decay naturally, and that their friends would have just faded away. This is clearly not the case, and entering the wreck is just an intrusion that can't be justified in any name.
We occupy the high moral ground because we just respect the dead, we list their names and remember them each year. Sometimes a relative contacts me and supplies a picture which I use on a memorial page in the crew biographies section of our website. We have around 900 of these, so people are interested in remembering.
To hear that people think it's justifiable to disturb them is saddening. Not only that, but they have insulted us from the start. We didn't start that argument.
Divers also remove items from HMS Repulse, we've seen them for sale on ebay.
There's a picture of one stealing a plate here:

http://www.whitemanta.com/gallery/v/trips/Crew-Travels/Malaysia/HMS+Repulse+June+2004/IMG_0305.JPG.html

Kind regards,
Andy.

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Replying to:

They dove the wreck. They went in. They filmed and phototgraphed.

This is what you consider "breaking in" and "desecrating", correct?

We are not talking about people using cutting torches to gain entry. Or trampling on the site (PADI style). Or removing any artifacts. Right?

When you described these events to the survivors and family members of the lost, did you use the terms "entered the wreck, filmed and photographed" or did you use "broke in" and "desecrated"?

Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Re

Okay, so this thing now comes down to whether or not they closed a door? Isn't that something completely different than

And this issue around headstones, you guys have been arguing this point for at least two years. What it comes down to is that wreck divers always dive grave sites. Only the purposefully sunk wrecks (by far the minority of wrecks visited by divers) did not take lives on their way down. So you see, I struggle to understand why you would condone the diving of any wreck for the same reason. Whether or not I agree with Mr. Georgitsis and his team, at least I understand that he has a consistent view as to what is respectable and what is not.

And as far as DVDs for sale, I do not know him very well at all but I have had occassion to see how he lives. He is a man of modest means. I will tell you that he might be selling these DVDs for a profit but honestly, I doubt he has ever recovered the cost of the trip based on the sales of these DVDs. Not to mention that he no doubt ever got any compensation for the significant risk he assumed to undergo this expedition. Tell me, are you also condemming the Cousteau society for putting out an episode on diving the Britannic (for which, I am sure they made money) or after National Geographic for documing the tomb of the kings in Egypt? According to them, the team took nothing. They distrubed no human remains. They took pictures and video and that's it. If you have proof that they did otherwise, then please provide it. Otherwise, I am inclined to think that you are doing more harm than good by making claims that you cannot back up.

And while other divers might have removed items from the wreck (which by the way, no one condones, not even Mr. Georgitsis), you are passing judgement on one person for the actions of another. Why even discuss it in this thread?

If you want to condemn wreck diving (penetration), I can respect that. Every wreck is the site of someone remains and can be viewed as sacred. But if you are telling me that you oppose the penetration of the Repulse but not the penetration of every other wreck (Andrea Doria, HMS Britannic, U-boats, etc.) and your only justifcation is an edict by the government of the UK, then I would ask you to think twice about your moral high ground.

Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Re

PURPLE TANG, I AM A RELATIVE AND I DONT CARE IF YOU CALL IT "ENTERING THE WRECK, FILMED AND PHOTOGRAPHED" OR "GRAVE ROBBERY AND DESTRUCTION" NOBODY HAS ANY RIGHT TO ENTER THAT SHIP, NOT MYSELF OR MY MOTHER AND WE ARE RELATED A MAN WHO WAS ONBOARD THAT SHIP. EVERYBODY SHOULD ALL STAY THE HELL AWAY, NOT ALL THE SURVIVORS OF THIS SHIP HAVE PASSED AWAY, THERE ARE SOME STILL LIVING AND WHO WILL BE DISCUSTED BY THESE PATHETIC DIVING MISSIONS. WOULD THESE PEOPLE GO TO THE LOCAL CEMETARY AND DIG UP A GRAVE?...... SUPPOSE THE SICKO'S WOULD

Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Re

Got that Andy? Everybody stay away from the Repulse. That means you and your buddies too. Penetration or no penetration. Leave the wreck alone.

Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Re

Purple Tang

Do me a favour have some repsect for the feelings of those that lost men on the ships, if that is, you are capable of thinking in such way towards those not involved in your small world of diving. These people have a valid point, if you cannot answer them in a reasonable manner then don't bothe responding at all. You'll note also hat we've granted you the right top respond to our comments - unlike 5thD forum; they've stopped Andy Wade from posting any comments - I though you lived in the land of freedom of expression?

Moreover, despite at least two requests, you still have to respond to my posting 'Double Standards', come on stop being so coy put your views in writing, I can then criticise you.

Re: Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

Hi Kevin,
Thanks for replying.
Your confusion is understandable. HMS Repulse is indeed in international waters. However, the remains of the men are inside her. IMHO this is a grave just as much as a cemetery in another country would be. The only difference is that people can't see it openly. It takes a special kind of person to just get to the wreck, much more to actually have the skills to enter. But it also means that they can't be seen opening the graves up and disturbing the remains inside.
We have targeted our appeal to Andrew Georgitsis because he made a video of his penetration of HMS Repulse, which was made after the designation was brought into place. He's also a well known instructor within the DIR ethos and we'd like him to think carefully about his actions. Personally I'd like him to declare that he's had a change of heart, and that he'd like to teach people not to enter this wreck (and that of HMS Prince of Wales too). I'd like him to organise his trips with a different viewpoint. Not one of "We're the best divers around, let's enter the engine room of HMS Repulse and see what's in there" How about he teaches some of the history of why these wrecks are there, and instill a feeling of respect for the men who died in them defending his freedom?
Is it too much to ask?

On the subect of the Protection of Military Remains Act, it specifically states that no person should enter the wrecks. But they may visit them and swim around them.
Now as you might expect, because the wreck is in international waters, the act only applies 'in law' to UK citizens, but Andrew Georgitsis is a US citizen and 'technically' it doesn't apply to him. But morally it does. He's in a position do become a protector of these wrecks, and to teach more respect for the men who's remains lie inside them, but he chooses to enter them and disturb these remains. I'd like him to think again.

On disturbance of remains.
The skull on the steps in the video made by Andrew Georgitis had been placed there. Now if you look closely at the video you can see that this skull has little or no silt on it, therefore I propose that it has very recently been picked up and placed on the step for visual impact.
I know who I suspect of this.
There are pictures on another website (White Manta) of skulls inside HMS Repulse , and they all have a layer of silt over them. This is something that only time can produce, you can't move a skull and then deposit silt on it to look as if it has been there all the time. That's the kind of evidence I am talking about.
The current version of the video for sale on ebay has had this bit taken out. I wonder why?

We attribute a position of responsibilty to everyone who dives on these wrecks. They should all show respect for them. Just because the PMRA may not apply to them if they are not UK citizens, doesn't mean that they should be any less respectful does it?
There are countless wrecks to dive on out there, but only a handful have a war grave designation. Shouldn't this be respected?
Andrew Georgitsis organises training and trips to dive these wrecks, and is in a position to come on board our side and help to protect the memory of the men who died defending his freedom. I think it's about time he did.
Any others? Well, we'll talk to them as and when we find out about them. Thanks for the link, I'll have a look at it.

We would like this to be a process of education rather than confrontation. The Survivors Association was created by the men who survived, we are just friends and relatives of the men who care enough to try and protect their shipmates' memory. We don't go around trying to find these survivors, they are already members of their own association.
Please look at our website for more information about the Survivors Association. Hopefully you'll see that we are just trying to remember what they gave up on our behalf.

Kind regards,
Andy.

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Replying to:

I am a little confused. The HMS Repulse seems to be in Singapore's teritorial waters. How does the British goverment declairing it a war memorial have any effect on a wreck outside its waters. Conversly the Arizona is inside U.S. waters and further more control wreck has been given to the National Park Service. They control who does what.

Second you keep mentioning that human remains were disturbed by the diving. Can you give specific examples where the dives in question caused this disturbance. Lets also contrast this to the disturbanced caused by time and the Sea.

Third, what exact position of responsibility do you ascribe to him? He is a Naui instructor. True he has done increadible dives, but then so have many many other people.

Why exactly are you targeting him? There are others who also perform penitration on the wreck? For example: http://www.recntec.com/diveshop/scuba_diving_faqs/faq/technical_diving_faq.html

Finally I would suggest to you that by going around finding survivors of a wreck that happened over 60 years ago just to let them know that "someone is desicrating grampa's remains" is more then likely causing more emotional harm than any 10 dive trips to the repulse.

Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

OH MY GOD, We are the daughter and Granddaughter of George Thomas who was a survivor of the repulse sinking and although our father/grandfather has sadly now crossed over he would turn in his grave to discover these disrespectful idiots were diving to disturb these war graves, have some respect you sick idiots, its amazingly obvious you never had relatives onboard this ship or for that matter any other ship during the 2nd world war, may your ancestors who fought in wars to allow you to breathe today be greatly ashamed of you

Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

So you are saying that no divers should enter any wrecks as pretty much all of them are grave sites, right?

Andy, you got that, right? Wreck diving with penetration = idiots. So be clear that the next time you penetrate a wreck or you condone one of your peer's efforts to penetrate a wreck, you yourself are supporting an activity that one of the Repulse crew family members find "disrespectful".

I am not one who advocates one way or another on wreck penetration. I am opposed to people like Andy who condemn the penetration of the Repulse but on the same breath will tell you that penetrating another wreck is okay. There is a term that sick idiots like myself use for this kind of mentality...

Re: Re: Re: (Diving on USS Arizona) - Disturbing the human remains inside HMS Repulse

At it again eh.

When did Andy ever condone or support any penetration of any undersea war grave - the answer never. People like you have me at a loss to comprehend - fence sitting - being critical - but never having the guts or conviction to put their heads above the parapet to stand up for something they believe in. Perhaps you're problem is you don't believe in anything. Poor thing.

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