Sladen Suit


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 Siebe Gorman & Co. Ltd. Universal

Date: 31 Januari 2003

Sladen Suit used on human torpedos 

JW. Bech


Siebe Gorman & Co. Ltd.





Land of origin



Special Note: 

Used on human torpedos

See universal rebreather

User group



Part no:



Working principle

Constant Mass Flow / SCR


Gas type

Oxygen / Nitrox


Cylinder volume

2 x ??ltr


Max. cylinder pressure

150 bar later 200 bar


Material of cylinder

Steel / inconel / aluminium?


Counterlung inspire



Counterlung exhale



Dive time duration



Operating temperature



Magnetic signature



Weight ready to use in Air



Weight ready to use in water






Scrubber material


Radial design








Over the shoulders



Pendulum with shutt off valve



Yes, neck extension to bottles







Great story on divingheritage, a must if you like this subject. Great photo’s and a great site!







If you have any information to add this sheet please mail it to References to source and names will always be added!  


Info found: R.H. Davis Deep diving and submarine operations





The "Universal" is a variant of the "Amphibian" apparatus; it is on the same regenerative principle, and has the same triple-purpose uses. It is designed so that it may be adapted to the requirements of special operations, e.g. it may be used as an ordinary shallow water apparatus with continuous oxygen supply, or for clearance diving or similar deeper work it may be altered to supply oxygen/nitrogen mixtures or, thirdly as a breathing' apparatus for use in poisonous atmos­pheres. It consists of:  two oxygen cylinders joined together, , one of them being fitted with a special neck extension on which the main supply control valve, automatic reducing valve, by-pass valve and supply tube to breathing circuit are fitted, with the object of ensuring the valve group being completely under the control of the diver, the whole arrangement as originally designed and patented by H. A. Fleuss and R. H. Davis; water-tight breathing bag containing:  CO2 absorption canister of the radial design,  as originally made by Siebe, Gorman & Co. Ltd., for diving apparatus known as the "Human Torpedo" type;  flexible rubber hood, and  face piece with full vision window; mouthpiece and nose-clip; com­plete diving dress; lead weights arranged for quick-release, partially or wholly, for buoyancy and ascent to surface; suitable harness for carrying the apparatus.


 The Human Torpedo or “Chariot”  (Sladen Suit & Re-breather)

For the last 12 years I have only studied the human torpedo story and am therefore fully conversant with the above items that were developed for use with this craft. The Sladen suit you seem to have covered but if you want to see one I have one on display with my three human torpedoes at Eden Camp Museum, Malton York. The men who had volunteer for dangerous missions became trainees for the human torpedo project. Nicknamed “chariot” the men became known as charioteers. They sat astride a torpedo shaped submersible with an explosive warhead that could be detached and placed beneath the hull of an enemy ship. Dropped outside an enemy harbour at night by submarine they travelled at 3 knots for three or four hours before entering the well guarded harbour and finding a suitable warship to blow up. 

In simple terms the re-breather was the DSEA set was adapted in 1942 to give 6 hours supply of pure oxygen and not allow tell tale bubbles to rise to the surface as the divers sitting astride the human torpedo entered an enemy harbour. Admiral of Submarines Sir Max Horton instructed Siebe Gorman & Co. to carry out various tests on the 60 volunteer divers and experiments were carried out from August to December 1942. The experiments on these divers discovered that “Oxygen Pete” struck at depths of over 30 feet the divers experiencing twitching lips before unconsciousness.

The breathing apparatus consisted of a flexible corrugated rubber tube from the mouthpiece to the centre of a rubber breathing bag on the diver's chest.  Pure oxygen was fed into the bag from two horizontal bottles on the diver's back.  On the connection to the breathing bag there was a reducing valve. The bottles fed oxygen at a rate of about one litre per minute. These bottles were in fact taken from crashed German aircraft. They were made from aluminium and could be pumped to a pressure of 2,400 lbs per square inch, far superior to our own apparatus.

To mount a successful attack no bubbles should come from the diver, and therefore, expelled air went through a canister at in the centre of the bag at the joint with the breathing tube absorbing the CO2 (lime crystals- Protosol) before going back into the bag.



Chairman Underwater Heritage Trust




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