Latvian underwater workers are at the bottom

With this article, we continue the series of articles about Latvian divers history. Let's preserve the history of Latvian underwater sports! We invite Latvian underwater sports veterans to apply, or people who know underwater athletes or harbor divers. The article contains excerpts from newspapers (1920-1930) and book entries made about divers in Latvia and the underwater work done by divers, as well as "treasure hunters". The underwater diving club "" collects diving equipment from earlier times, for creating an exhibition exposition, the first "Museum of divers' work and equipment in Latvia“.

Latvian underwater works manager Kārlis Lasmanis

"The rescuer of various drowned goods was in the port of Lasmanis known as the sole specialist. Exeven fished for watches and ladies' bags", 1929. wrote about this underwater work performer The new onewhat News

By profession, Kārlis Lasmanis was an anchorman, or, the leader of the rafts within the borders of Riga. According to the rulethe rafts coming down the Daugava in the spring were yesstops at Jumpravmuiža in front of Kadakalns, and further Pilots took over guiding the rafts to the harbor and sawmills - anchors

Latvian diver Valentīns Pāvuls cooperates with Kārli Lasmani

From these jobs in his spare time, Lasmanis engaged in fishing, but as an additional concern over the years biif you have developed an ability with crutches and other primitive tools to bring out from the Daugava various metal scraps, which were handed over byroads. Vivid evidence of this Riga underwater work performer in his In 1987, published in exile in Canada, the book of memories "Neptuna servant" wrote well-known diver in Latvia, later also an exile painter Valentin Paul for the accomplished underwater works in his youth days, in the early 1930s, Pavuls worked in the Lasman company.

Memories of underwater works in the sea and Daugava

As Valentin wrote: "Lasmanis was a man from whom a lot could be learnedknow and learn. He, sitting in the boat, with various napoked the bottom of the Daugava with hooks, hooks and hooks and pulled out everything you could touch. Without denying his father skill, I found Lasmani much more skillful. He had special ability to find sunken anchors, slaves, clockfor exploding bridge irons and various boats
without speaking," Paul wrote. 

Technologies used in underwater works

Lasmanis earned a special ukme with the fact that he himself never used a diver's maskand basically hired them only if it was not possible otherwise: "There is no art in diving under water and feeling with hands, what do you want. To try to do it from the top!”. LAsman's implements were various kegs of sunken goods for feeling and special claws, the so-called "claws", with which grabbed the drowned property and brought out the sunken. By all accounts, “claws” could resemble those of Lasmani's fellow rafters frominherited by cleaning the Daugava river bed from dangerous to navigation stones. If necessary, he also used the milking machine cups in a long stem, for these, but if it happened to be bigger in size, a primitive road crane was used - a pulley and chains.
The rascal, whom many thought was simply crazy, livesin the ballast dam. In his memoirs, Valentin Pavuls writes that Lasmani's yard was full of somefor those scraps caught, but in their own he never let anyone at home and never told anything about himself either.

Underwater values in Latvian waters

In the early 1930s, Lasmanis' specific talents began to be noticed journalists who wrote that they were lifting a sunken objecthe has been doing this since the beginning of the 20th century. Ithis connoisseur of the depths of the Daugava pays attention earned right around 1930 and the following years, when he undertook clean the water area of the Port of Riga from explosives items: all kinds of ammunition, artillery shells, for coils of barbed wire and other military devices, which from osit was put into storage there in September 1917in kumas, for the demoralized by the revolution Russian army fleeing from the German-threatened Riga. It can be said that around 1930 Lasmanis had reached maturity in his profession and with skillmu earned by the Ministry of Finance responsible for shipping
Attention and trust of the Maritime Department.

Things sunk during the First World War were raised

The first pathe solar war ensured that work in underwater objects was highlighted would not be missing. In the same 1917 fall retreat in panic of Russia withchanged Dzelzs had exploded in Riga the bridge over the Daugava, which fell apart after the war hindered navigation in the years, but the SeafarersThe Department of Education could not find anyone who would willingly commit to to deal with it until such a man was found. Prothat, Lasmanis! In 1928, he with sathe details of the sunken structures of the bridge were highlighted using these methods 11,000 pounds (about 180 tons) in total. Maritime Departmentment paid Lasman a considerable amount of money for it. Also LasI was picked up by an earlier pontoon on behalf of the Riga city boardwell, the chains and anchors of the bridge, as well as three sunken Russians the tsar's army bridge pontoons, which were useful for both the Maritime department, and Ministry of War (Defense) Bruto the administration. In March of the same year, he from Daugavas bottom near the AB dam pulled up well-preserved cannon carriages on two wheels given by Kara mifor Nistria. 

In the spring of the following year, "The highlighter of Daugava's belongings” operated in the depths of Ågenskalns bay, where he got two During the tsarist era, city traffic was driven by the propellers of steamboatsnus and one propeller, which was probably made of brass and could bring significant income.

Part of the occupation was from loading steamers during the process, the coal that collapsed in the Daugava, as well as those that have sunk a long time ago lifting logs in historic raft stands. For that Lasmani had a special permission from the authorities. Newspapers wrote, that in 1928/1929 in the winter of less than 25 tons of coal that could again sell either to steamboat owners or residents of Riga approxto whom On the other hand, in the summer of 1931, Lasmanis faced Smith for the cement factory (nowadays Daugava krast Podraga i.elas area) brought out around 1,500 sunken logs, which, as approxguaranteed newspapers, had a great value of timber. Sometimes gasomething exotic also happened - in the spring of 1932 near Klieversala The "property fisherman" picked up a two-meter long "Brazilian colored tree trunk", which has been lying in the river for 30 to 50 yearsdu. It was said that it was once intended for a factory in the time of the tsarkai for the production of dyes.

Daugava demining works

As mentioned, the glory days of Lasmans began in 1930, when, on behalf of the Marine Department, he set about Systematic cleaning of the Daugava riverbed from explosives objects and substances, as well as wartime scrap. In the stage from the end of Valdemāras Street to the then building of the freezer the work lasted intermittently until at least 1934. Approxvouched that the bed of the Daugava there is said to be littered with for cannon shells, grenades, ammunition boxes. Works biif started earlier when they were done by divers. in 1926 prese wrote that more than 500 arti were raised from the bottom of the riverlerium grenade, the charge of which was packed in silk bags smokeless powder. However, there were many shells in the river near Eksportosta.

They often ended up in the scoops of scavengers, nobieputting the workers at risk and hindering the dredging of the port jobs. It was clear that it could end in great misfortune, and the bed had to be actually mined before deepening. In a personwho would be willing to perform such a risky operationwell, it wasn't much. Department of Maritime Affairs
Lasmanis won the announced lowest bid and his hired assistants. It was also the time when the peculiar treasure seeker invited ValenTina Pavula. To feel the shells at the bottom of the river was Lasman's mission. "When Lasmanis had the ball groped and pulled up to the surface of the water in such claws, man it had to be dragged into the boat or raised on a raft so that the balls onthe end wouldn't stand up and explode," Pāvul wrote in his memories.
"With For buckets, the entrepreneur first skims the sand, includes grenades in tongs and lifted out of the water in wire nets. The working area is rockygot red flags and no other ships nearbyallowed.” At the beginning of the work, the briefing was carried out by the Latvian army specialist of the main artillery depot, but in the process itself he did not dare to assist. "Great concern Lasthe purchase of a barge provided for me for placing highlighted grenades, because noone does not want to rent a boat for this purposemother At the work of extracting grenades will employ 4 to 6 workers; a job lasted about 10-14 days. To at sunk grenades could atto become, first harvest about 4 ftdas thick layer of sand. After when all grenades will be lifted, in this place the Daugava will be deepened with dredges up to 28 feet.” The barge was refused to Lasmanis even the Riga Stock Exchange Committee, which will be interested in the works at the port, noteshow to. Also, no insurance company agreed approxsecure the vehicles involved in this operation and workers, “fearing that the ferry with all the workers do not run into the air”.
By mid-September, 129 six-inch (15.24 centtimemeters) caliber artillery shells. Tachu Lasmanis continued his care in the following years as well. Dangerous jobs The work of Lasman and his assistants was dangerous not only because could "run into the air". No one knew who it was ammunition used to come fromsubmerged Daugain It could happen various surprises.

Chemical gas bombs are found in underwater works in Daugava

Lasmani's team, for example, also raised about a kilogram heavy bottle bombs filled with tear gas or something other munitions. Rust had eaten away the iron casings of the shells, but the inner lead shells with the filled gas were preserved. Lead worked, but what about gas? To get rid of it, the felt grenade should have been right there at the bottom of the river with a hook puncture so that the contents flow into the water. "Workers must be very careful, because the gas in the balls is still there causes the eyes to water; also poisons fishthat. Some of them burst, and some with signs of poisoning rises upden on top to breathe fresh air. Zivis was said to be possible to catch even with roto whom The release of gas bombs was taken bypoor Lasmanis was forced to stop,
for it was vigorously protested against by the surrounding steamers workers, whose eyes also began to water. The gas bomb highlightswill be restored when there are no ships nearby," dated 1931 On September 17, the newspapers wrote - Absorbed with gas the lead shells were piled right there on the ostbank after being lifted, and riesoon the smell of them spread throughout the immediate area. That year by winter, Lasmanis brought out about a hundred chemicals from the Daugava the ball. No one tried to identify the content, but it leaked from the shells laid ashore. It was also brought out from the Daugava
around 50 tons of barbed wire rolls, which were said to be full of small lampreys.
Until October, there were saaccumulated around 300 fired artillery shells. Also highlighted on the planehere are supposed to be balls that have not even rustedthis. Police claimed this explosive 'wealth' immediately move somewhere else. Then the dangerous barge moored in Ķīpsala, but later towed to Daugavgrīva saforeheads for disposal.

In 1932, from May to September, Lasmanis Eksportin the port area continued to be engaged in the extraction of ammunition. At the beginning of September, he removed about 16 kilograms of pyroxylin in different packages. “It was found that the highlighted pyroxylin after standing for a few days is suitable for blasting. It fromplaced at the disposal of the war department," So reported on September 9, 1932social democrat. "It must be shown that businessman Lasmani and his
League work is very risky, because at the slightest carelessness, or the occurrence of adverse conditions can occur in garnet or grathere would be an explosion of the capsules," the newspaper added. Also in the next one In the summer of 1933, about 1,300 artillery pieces were placed in Eksportosta shells, mines, boxes with grenade launchers and rifle cartridgesand "most other war goods". That year Maritime the department began to categorically request the work of the insurerwell, but received a refusal: "Lasmanis scolds that while working for such works, paying too much insurance premium.” Apparently, no one else was willing to take the risk, and as late as 1934, Lasmanis continued cleaning the Daugava in Exportost, again raising a large number of hand grenades, about a hundred kilogs of smokeless powder and other ammunition.

Army projectiles and coal lifting works in the Daugava river

Along with the ammunition, the searcher for the drowned belongings was full manual work also in other directions entrusted to him by Jūrnieeducation department. So at the end of 1930, Lasmanis decidedto find the First Worlds that sank in the Daugava and the sea blown up during the war Daugavgrīva lighthouses cast iron conetruction parts, however, were apparently engaged in highlighting other people.

In 1930, in the port area of Bolderāja, he searched for the wreck of the tugboat Dwin, sunk during the war, because fishermen lamented that their nets were regularly torn on it. 1931In July, Lasmanis at the mouth of Mīlgrāvja in Ķīšezera highlighted a sethese iron barrels with oil, which were rusty in places, already with leaks. The oil most likely came from the late 19th century Elrich oil refineries built in Jaunmīlgravi A. Oehlrich is Со. A barge during the First World War was sunk nearby with oil and fuel oil.
In the summer of 1932, the tireless river bed remekpourer, collecting during unloading at the Sloka paper mill the coal that has sunk over the years in Lielupe pier, came across a large amount during the First World War fromsubmerged ammunition and weapons. None of the local people ncould tell how they got there. It is not clear whether Lasmanis started highlighting this "wealth", but on Septimbre newspapers reported that his gain was a large amount coal, "lost" vel. during ice breaking in springhorse Maulihse propeller worth 500 lats and more than A 30-kilogram barrel full of grenade fragments.

1In 935, Lasmanis still received the Maritime Departmentment's permission to view the sunken ship Saratov on the coast, Wrecks of the Livonia and motor yacht Jugeborg. Plan pasaw the wrecks of sunken ships raised.

War items brought out from the Daugava

The audience's attention was more attracted by Kārlis Lasmani's workin the Daugava in 1932 In February. In 1931, the businessman had asked for a Monument the board and the Maritime Department are allowed to highlight the year 1812 Cast iron cannons of various calibers of the Napoleonic era balls. It was discovered in the summer of 1931 by a diver, liean underwater telephone cable is buried in the bed. It turned out that the round balls had sunk Daugava. Locals knew how to tell that in earlier times, long agothey were also found in the nearby Pelite river and its surroundingsin those fields. It was assumed that the bombs once sank in the Daugavaor sunk with all boats. It was also said that "Napoleon goods of war" intending to buy some abroadfarmers, which was not a court. Readthe highlighted metal orbs wanted me put for remelting, but to them would be, he should have applied again at the diver Valentina Pavula. Minus ten degrees in the island rivers a hole was cut in the ice above the respective places through which the diver descended to a depth of approximately eight meters at balls. It turned out to have grown considerably over the centuriesshas" near the stones and can be moved from the place only with hammer and chisel. The separated projectiles were placed in a special diver in the net and then lifted the goal to the surface. Highlighted on the first day 400 bombs with a total weight of more than three tons. That was all intended for remelting. The balls were two to 12 kilogramsmu heavy, some hollow, some monolithic. Highlighting works do notit happened completely in vain, because Lasmani lost every bulletcent was to be paid to the Marine Department and, pdecorative, for diver. Pavul finished the work by himself and then up to Yekabpils still participated in the construction of the bridge during the First World War needs in the laying of railway tracks in the bed, which It seemed more profitable to Lasman. The rails are overheated right there on the spotthat the local hosts. It should be noted that the old cannonballs in Daugava near Jēkabpils could uziet ap in the later decades. For finding them and handing them overnewspaper reported to the museum in 1967.

I find the old iron balls on the "terraces"

Valentin Pāvuls in his notes - "I find the old iron balls on the "terraces" behind the stones, small in ravines by one, two and whole piles. That most are so deeply embedded in the rock that only visible small hills. Bombs sunk in the Daugava from ice or some boats because so many balls together cannot be shot. I estimate that there will be several hundred of them at that moment not yet knowing that they number in the thousands. With Armed with sharp steel chisels, I started forging balls out of the rock. I find them in three types: one full massive weight up to ten kilograms, intended for masonry and for destroying castles; the other - for empty middles and holes on different sides - ancient shrapnel; at others - small ash trees and the ends of rusty chains. They are fired of the cannon in threes together to tear things off with the chains. The lightest ones weigh only two kilogramsus. I work every day from morning to evening, but the profit comes out to me only four centimes per ball, and Even less for Lasmans, because Jūrnie also has to pay the feeto the Education Department. Got another signalman and continue to count boombas and pennies. The profit will also lievarnish. Bomb stocks are running out, no more bombs to be found. In the first days I have highlighted up to 600 per day, the last only a hundred, until the day comes when I can't find any more. How much I have picked up the ball completely, I haven't counted it, but a couple of wagons have been loaded and taken to Riga for cast ironvei, who pour out of them grave fences and monuments. They cannot be used elsewhere. Too brittle and hard.”

In the Daugava, oak trees and cannons are found and highlighted for the museum

By cleaning and inspecting fairways from time to time and the depths of the quays, the port services in the Daugava came up
sunken trunks of hundred-year-old oaks and other trees. They had apparently arrived there with the palis or leso brought. In June 1930, newspapers reported about Saran ancient oak tree sunk into the Kandaugava estuary
the trunk raised with the help of a floating crane. Relatively often, interesting finds happened in Eksportosta
in the district. In July 1932, the lands of the Riga Stock Exchange Committeethe smoker Cyclops picked up "an old Swedish cannon,
ancient war-axes and most grenade canisters'. The cast iron gun was stuck in the diggerso that the workers only got it in the field with great effort. The cannon was placed on the dam of Kurpnieku Island, but the newspapers did not report what happened next.

Earth diggers in the Daugava, several meters underground

In 1929, while working in Daugava near Bolderāja, landAnother interesting thing happened to the scavenger at a depth of about two meterssuch a find - 165 centimeters tall, 83 kilograms a heavy bronze cannon bearing a coat of armsnis and year number "1747". The cannon was handed over by Piemifor the board of directors. Rumors about "old sudraba money" for dredging of the river at a time. For example, in September 1932 it was rumored that such, working between the White Church and Vecdaugavu near Mangalsalas, they are said to have gone up to the "Kurzeme" slaborers.

Participate in the creation of the divers' museum

At the moment, the collection of the "Waterskiing Museum" exposition is taking place, if you want to participate in its creation, the place of creation of the collection is Pinki, Mārupe district, LV-2107, phone 220-77-202.

All supporters who help in creating the collection will be entered in the list of honored guests of the "Diving Museum" and will receive a gift card for diving club services.