JIM
Suit

BADGES

The sticky, as opposed to the digital, type were very popular in the diving industry during the 1980s. They were put on various submersibles by commercial organisations as part of their brand image, becoming a collectable art form in their own right. A badged flying JIM can be seen in image 1.

CONFERENCES / EXHIBITIONS

Among the many exhibits at the Brighton Subsea Conference in 1983 JIM attracted much attention, being a significant area of interest at the time (image 2). JIM was also a visitor to an Armaments Exhibition at HMS Excellent, Whale Island in 1983.

On one extraordinary occasion JIM didn’t actually have to go anywhere to be seen. This was when HRH Prince Michael of Kent visited UMEL’s Bordon factory on 15 Dec 1982. In image 3 you can see Mike Borrow (far left), Mike Humphrey (with his back to the camera) and Andy Price (far right). Image 4 gives a better view of both Mike Humphrey and Andy Price.

FILMS

JIM featured as the ‘baddie’ in the James Bond film For your Eyes Only (1981) and as the ‘gentleman’ in the film Ein Herr und ein Hund, made by Austrian biologist and diving pioneer Hans Hass in 1983, the ‘dog’ being UMEL’s Remotely Controlled Vehicle (RCV) SEA PUP.

Images 5 and 6 are credited to Ein Herr und ein Hund. (1983). [DVD]. Directed by Hans Hass. Germany. Image 5 shows JIM and SEA PUP filmed together in the tank at the Admiralty Experimental Works (Haslar). Incidently, it was SEA PUP, under the control of Mike Humphrey, which took the first pictures of the wreck of the RMS Lusitania. In image 6 Hans Hass can be seen emerging from the JIM suit, which also rather neatly answers the question of the mystery man’s identity on this website’s Home Page.

SCHOLARLY ARTICLES / PRESS / MAGAZINES

Unsurprisingly, there does not seem to be a great deal of material on public release from RNPL itself. However, the following paper references some of the early work carried out at the establishment in relation to JIM: Carter, R.C. (1976) Evaluation of JIM: A One-Atmosphere Diving Suit. Navy Experimental Diving Unit Report 5-76.

National (as well as local) press mentioned the planned role of JIM in a series of recovery dives to the wreck of the RMS Lusitanea which sank in 1915 off the Irish coast in approximately 98 m (320 ft) of water after being torpedoed by a German U-boat, Simpson, C. (1982) Big Jim from 007 transformed into deep-sea detective. The Sunday Times. 16 May, p. 5. Image 8 depicts an updated JIM, Andy and Richard in the local press, Shepheard, C. (2019) Diving duo reunited following a successful Peeps appeal. Bordon Herald. 2 May, p. 17.

Gulf Publishing Company’s Ocean Industry magazine recorded JIM setting yet another record: Anon (1976) JIM sets a record in the Arctic: works 14¾ hours at 900+ feet! Ocean Industry, GPC. May, no page numbers. In November 1992, following a print run of just over 26 years, the very last issue of Ocean Industry magazine was published.

TV

One of JIM’s local television appearances was on the children’s quiz programme RUNAROUND, produced by Southern TV and presented by Mike Reid. Episode 16 originally aired on 14 Jan 1981 and was repeated by Talking Pictures TV on 8 Nov 2020. It featured ‘deep sea diving suits’. So JIM and WASP accompanied by Tony, Richard, Angus (who did the interview) and Spike (who tried WASP on for size) went along to the studio in order to take part in the fun and talk about the different capabilities of the submersibles (image 7).