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Chamber divers : the untold story of the D-Day scientists who changed special operations forever / Rachel Lance.

Lance, Rachel, (author.).

In August 1942, more than 7,000 Allied troops rushed the beaches of Normandy, France, in an all but-forgotten landing. Only a small fraction survived unscathed. It was two summers before D-Day, and the Allies realized that they were in dire need of underwater intelligence if they wanted to stand a chance of launching another beach invasion and of winning the war. Led by the controversial biologists J. B. S. Haldane and Dr. Helen Spurway, an ingenious team of ragtag scientists worked out of homemade labs during the London Blitz. Beneath a rain of bombs, they pioneered thrilling advances in underwater reconnaissance through tests done on themselves in painful and potentially fatal experiments. Their discoveries led to the safe use of miniature submarines and breathing apparatuses, which ultimately let the Allies take the beaches of Normandy. Blast injury specialist Dr. Rachel Lance unpacks the harrowing narratives of these experiments while bringing to life the men and women whose brilliance and self-sacrifice shaped the outcome of the war, including their personal relationships with one another and the ways they faced skepticism and danger in their quest to enable Allied troops to breathe underwater. The riveting science leading up to D-Day has been classified for generations, but Chamber Divers finally brings these scientists’ stories—and their heroism—to light.
"This is a previously classified story of one group of scientific researchers-men and women-who exposed themselves to extraordinary risks to make D-Day a success"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780593184936
  • ISBN: 0593184939
  • Physical Description: 438 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Publisher: [New York] : Dutton, [2024]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 325-418) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Prologue: "A piece of cake" -- Professor Haldane and Dr. Spurway's problem -- Brooklyn Bridge of death -- Devil's bubbles -- Subsunk -- Love, cooking, and communism -- Drunk and doing math -- Everyday poisonous gases -- The blitz -- The piggery -- The littlest pig -- Lung maps -- Nerves -- The inevitable solution -- The midget subs -- Airs of Overlord -- The operations -- The longest days -- The unremembered.
Subject: Deep diving > Great Britain > History > 20th century.
World War, 1939-1945 > Commando operations > Great Britain.
Great Britain. Royal Navy > Commando troops.
World War, 1939-1945 > Naval operations > Submarine.
World War, 1939-1945 > Amphibious operations.
Midget submarines > Great Britain > History > 20th century.
World War, 1939-1945 > Naval operations, British.
Haldane, J. B. S. (John Burdon Sanderson), 1892-1964.
Military research > Great Britain > History > 20th century.
World War, 1939-1945 > Campaigns > France > Normandy.
Genre: Informational works.

Available copies

  • 0 of 1 copy available at Indian Valley. (Show)
  • 0 of 1 copy available at Indian Valley Public Library.


  • 2 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Indian Valley Public Library 940.54 Lance History (Text) 39427103796546 Nonfiction Room: Adult Nonfiction Checked Out 05/31/2024

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