History box

Message from the "Cultural Heritage and External Relations" commission
Marseilles, March 11, 2013

You have all been part of the Comex Adventure.
So it is up to you contribute to preserving the memory of the Comex Saga
The CACx gives you the possibility to add your part to that story.

When we think about the human and industrial adventures in which we all participated during our years at COMEX we are forced to admit that today there are very few remaining traces of our incredible adventures!
It is true that Alain Tocco and Michel Plutarque have classified and archived thousands upon thousands of photos. Equally a number of stories have been published in the Ludion magazines over the last few years but they have only been accessible to those who read French. Certainly some of the great epic COMEX films – Seabex, 3DP etc - are now available in DVD format. However the COMEX Saga was much more than this! There are so many other stories to be told and documents to be conserved which are essential parts of the COMEX Saga.
In fact it appears that there are very few remaining archives which can be readily accessed and which contain documents relating to those remarkable years during which COMEX was at the forefront of the human conquest of the oceans and underwater engineering. Consequently the COMEX Saga is dispersed among all the ex COMEX personnel, each person having his own part of the story stored away in his memory or his personal archives. Certainly when trying to conserve the COMEX Saga, we have access to the “memories” of the French speaking CACx members living near Marseilles. But COMEX was much more than Marseilles and the French personnel living near Marseilles! COMEX was also COMEX Houlder Diving at Aberdeen, COMEX do Brasil at Rio, PT Komaritim in Indonesia and many other subsidiaries throughout the world who managed their own projects with their own personnel and spoke their own languages.
All those who worked in the subsidiaries have very probably in their memories projects, operations, events, and anecdotes etc which are often not well known at Marseilles but which are an integral part of the global COMEX Saga to which we all contributed.

We came to the above conclusions during the last General Assembly of the CACx on 16th September 2012. These conclusions were re-confirmed during the CACx Administrators Committee Meeting of 21 September 2012 during which it was decided to create a Cultural Heritage and External Relations Commission under the responsibility of Alain Lepage and John Blight.
During the Administrators Committee Meeting of 30 November 2012 the Administrators confirmed their determination not to let the COMEX Saga fade away with time and to make a determined effort to render it accessible to all including future generations.
With this objective in mind, the following decisions were taken:
- In order to incite all of our ex-colleagues of all of the COMEX companies & subsidiaries to make available their part of the COMEX Saga, we will use the CACx web site (www.anciencomex.com) as a means of communication ACCESSIBLE TO ALL OF YOU !!!!
That you are English, Norwegian, Italian, South American, African or Asian makes no differance.
- Part of the web site will be in English so that non-French speakers can actively participate and make their contributions to the re-constitution of the COMEX Saga
- A list of subjects for which we seek contributions (stories and anecdotes, documents, photos etc) will be updated periodically on the bilingual site. The list will integrate the ideas and suggestions of the different contributors and participants.
- Everybody will be able to submit written texts (events, anecdotes, technical developments, projects, operations etc), any documents or photos which they may have etc. They will be able to propose ideas and additional information to correct or complete the information already on the web site, the objective being to bring together the maximum amount of information and detail on all of the subjects being treated.
- All the contributions on each subject will be reviewed by an editorial committee in order to provide a coherent text using all the information, documents, photos etc that has been made available and which will be made accessible to all on the web site.

We hope that all ex COMEX personnel will support this initiative to re-constitute the COMEX Saga before it is too late by sending us their ideas, suggestions and contributions, be they modest or ambitious. To this end and to get « the ball rolling » we propose the following first list of subjects for which we are looking for your first contributions and which, we hope, will inspire you to start digging through your memories and personal archives etc.

- Uncle John on Alwyn & Frigg at the end of the 1980s
- The first hyperbaric weld with THOR on Alwyn
- The COMEX developments for SEAL
- PT Komaritim, its history and its projects
- The 701 Barge in 1976 in the North Sea
- The step by step development of habitats and pipe alignment equipment for hyperbaric welding
- Core drilling by divers at COMEX EQUIPMENT
Your contributions (ideas, suggestions, texts, photos scanned documents etc) should be sent to us by e-mail to the » following address :

We look forward to receiving your first contributions in the near future. Now it is up to you to start sorting out your memories, photos etc and getting them “onto paper” – figuratively speaking! See below for requested formats for your contributions.

A final note – this call for contributions is addressed to all personnel having worked at one time or another for a COMEX company or subsidiary. It is not limited to members of the CACx so please forward it to any and all of your ex-COMEX colleagues wherever they may be and in turn ask them to forward it on to other ex-colleagues. Again we reiterate - we are looking for contributions from all ex-COMEX personnel whoever they are and wherever they may be!

For the Cultural Heritage and External Relations Commission

Alain Lepage / John Blight

Requested Formats for your contributions:

In order to readily integrate your contributions on the web site, it would help us if your contributions are sent in the following formats (this is a request but not an “absolute requirement”):
Text: Word (.doc or .docx), Simple Text (.txt) or Rich Text (.rtf)
Photographs and other fixed images: JPEG (preference) but we can also handle PNG, PDF and GIF (minimum resolution 300ppi for a 400 pixel image in its smallest dimensions)
Movies: MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV
Scans (newspaper articles and other documents etc): PDF (typical minimum resolution 300ppi and 700px for portrait formats and 900px for landscape formats)
Please note: try avoiding sending photos, scans or other images of more than 1.5Mbyte (unless special case).


UNCLE JOHN in Edinburgh, 1977

Images sent from Canada by Claude Boyer, ex CHDL

If you can provide us with more information on this subject, please send a message to: historybox@anciencomex.com , we shall make a good use of it.

Click on a slide, then use the controls which appear at the top-right of the full size image (next, previous, slide-show, etc).

Uncle John 1977

Comex submarines

The COMEX submarines on board M/S SPRUT , Murmansk, 1983

Posted by Vito Lentini, 30/03/2013

Photo inside the mess room on board M/S Sprut:
  The 4 ladies are the interpreters
  Superintendant: Seze
  4 diving instructors: Dalmosso, Houles, Ledissez, Vito
  2 submarine pilots: Popof , Brice
  All other are technicians

Photo on board M/V Sprut in Murmansk, July 1983:
  Briefing before diving with Moana or SM370

Refer to Issue N°11 of the Ludion and learn more about this project

If you can provide us with more information on this subject, please send a message to:
historybox@anciencomex.fr , we shall make a good use of it.

Click on a slide, then use the controls which appear at the top-right of the full size image

Posted by Vito Lentini, 30/03/2013

Here are the latest information sent by our friend Vito Lentini who provides us with a modified photo of the personnel operating the submarines, with the following indications:

To make it simple, I have given each person an identification number and their corresponding name hereunder.
This was in july 1983 in Mourmansk, on board M/S Sprut.

N°1 Gérard Seze Supervisor
N°2 Ivan (alias Popof) Tchernomordyk, pilot of the submarines
N°3 Brice co-pilot of the submarines (Moana and 370 lockout sub) 
 - Four divers from COMEX SERVICES
N°4 Jean Paul Dalmasso diving instructor
N°5 José Houles diving instructor
N°6 Patrick Ledissez diving instructor
N°7 Vito Lentini diving instructor
 - Two ATS (Saturation technicians, formerly called "Caisson Masters")
N°8 Jean Paul Gerin ATS
N°9 Alain Borione ATS
N°10 Fernand Gondolo technician
N°11 Stéphane Tollet technician
N°12 Roger Perez electrical technician
N°13 Fabrice Bectarte short base navigation specialist
N°14 Engineer, nickname "Head of the class"
N°15 Natacha chief interpreter 
N°16 Irina interpreter
N°17 Natacha interpreter
N°18 Galina (the house keeper, with her gold teeth, also keeping high the morale of the french crew !)
N°19 The "unknown photographer" (nobody recalls his name)

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