Neville Oldham  1935 - 2015

RIP Neville



Whats New


Shipwrecks added since November 2014

SS Newholm
SS Ambassador
SS Mendi
SS Skaala
Privateer Dragon 1757
MV Napoli
MV Lucy
HMT Caroline
German Submarine U-260
SS Basil
Glenart Castle
SMS Margraf











Neville was born in Cheshire in1935 where he spent his time on the family farm followed by the family pub before joining the Grenadier Guards at the age of 18. He served as an Assault Pioneer Sergeant in the Suez  where he was introduced to diving. Later he became an instructor on the rifle ranges.

On leaving the army he started his own building company specialising in the reservation of older buildings and dry stone walling. Even at the age of 77, he was still building dry stone walls in Salcombe.

On leaving the army he helped found East Cheshire Branch of the BSAC and has remained a member ever since. He held many posts in the branch including Chairman, Training and Secretary and was made an honorary club member in 1979.

With a break from the building business Neville moved to Hope cove running a dive boat as well as providing his services as a professional diver. This has given him an unparallel knowledge of the wrecks of the South Devon coast spurring him on to write a book on his search for the Armada wreck of the San Pedro El mayor. His books can be found on “amazon”

Neville was an early member of the Nautical Archaeological Society and started an International Shipwreck Conference now IMASS which has been running for 33 years with him at the helm as chairman. In 2011 Neville became a “Fellow” of the Marine Archaeological Society

His Bigbury Bay investigation group teamed up with divers from Northampton to form the South West maritime Group and become an English Heritage licensee for both the Erme Estuary and Moorsands protected wrecksites. There sites have revealed artefacts that have provided a unique window into the maritime trade back 3000 years. The 17th century wreck had hundreds of rare Moroccan gold coins and jewelry. Neville and the team featured on BBC films including “White Slaves Pirate Gold” , “Digging for Britain with Alice Roberts and  “Ancient Britain”  with Neil Oliver” Details of these including links to the British Museum can be seen on the website.

Over the last five years Neville has been running projects sponsored by the BSAC Jubilee Trust 

He  has visited the Palace to see Prince Phillip in four of the five years having won a Duke of Edinburgh Prize. On his last visit in 2014 he won the “Gold” prize for his Bigbury Bay project. Some of his projects can be seen at


Neville has developed a wide network of friends across the diving, shipwreck and archaeological spectrum and will be sadly missed by all.