A 3 bolt 4 light Heinke
helmet. The faceplate is hinged
and the spitcock is located on the diver's left hand
side to facilitate operation by the diver's right hand.
|The rear view of the helmet clearly displays the large comms connector characteristic of the Heinke brand. This helmet also has 2 air exhaust valves.|
Photo courtesy of the Clint Greene Collection.
Heinke Mine Recovery Outfit (MRO) Prototype Helmet
MRO was developed for recovery of mines (especially magnetic mines) to a
depth of about 55m (180ft). The outfit is a self-contained, semi-closed
system that uses a mixed gas supply of nitrox. The system was
successfully trialled for the Royal Navy and was to replace the older
Siebe Gorman MRS diving apparatus. In 1961, C.E. Heinke merged with
Siebe Gorman, but the MROs were never produced in commercial numbers, as
new technologies and diving equipment soon superseded it.
Views of the sides and rear of
the helmet clearly showing the copper breastplate.
The Mine Recovery Outfit
undergoing trials at sea for the
Ministry of Defence. The rebreather canister can be
seen attached to the rear of the helmet and the four
high pressure air or nitrox cylinders can be
seen mounted inversely below the canister.
The equipment for the MRO was
packed in wood chests
and contained all the small parts required.
Photos and Text courtesy of Dr Mike Burchett
Heinke Mine recovery helmet (MRO)
is made of brass /bronze and has a lifting eye on the top of the bonnet.
There are four windows the faceglass being hinged in common with other 3
bolt helmets. There are 2 exhaust valves one is operated by the diver
externally by adjusting the black star knob and the other is by the
diver pressing his head against a knock valve to the rear of the helmet
internally. There is a rebreather canister mounted on the rear of the
helmet by 2 connectors and the helmet attaches to the breastplate or
corselet by 3 bolts which are hinged on the corselet. There are 4 high
pressure cylinders mounted on the diver's backpack and the diver wears a
canvas suit which accommodates a lead weight system . He also wears
rubber boots rather than the traditional heavy brass toed boots although
the rubber boots do have lead inner soles. The outfit is believed to
date back to 1958 when it was designed to supersede the Siebe Gorman
mine recovery suit. These Heinke outfits were made as prototypes and
there were only some 18 made for The Royal Navy . At that time there
were still many marine mines located in shipping channels and these
outfits were built using anti-magnetic materials The MOD or maximum
operating depth was around 60 meters and it used an oxygen enriched
breathing gas now known as nitrox with varying concentrations of oxygen
depending on the working depth. The diver breathed normally in the
helmet without the use of a mask or breathing tube as was necessary in
the Siebe Gorman Deep Diving Helmet. Shortly after these sets were
produced Heinke was acquired by its larger rival Siebe Gorman and the
sets were never produced in commercial numbers.