Just a handful of men have been responsible for turning diving in British waters from a pastime for a few to today’s hugely popular sport for all.
One of the original members of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC), he was eventually elected Chairman of this pre-eminent diving organization in the United Kingdom.
Editor of a major newspaper in London, he used his communication skills to promote diving among Britons both off their own shores and overseas.
His own expeditions, articles and lectures introduced British divers to many of the world’s important diving destinations.
Kendall McDonald’s highly significant contribution to the growth of the sport has particularly been in the field of communication. His enthusiasm for the underwater world, expressed in more than 30 books, numerous TV appearances and radio prrogrammes, and a multitude of by-lined articles for the world’s press, have spurred thousands of Britons to take up scuba diving.
He was the scriptwriter and presenter of the first British TV series about diving, introducing viewers to the “new sport” of diving. An early British Sub-Aqua Club member his number is 23 he fulfilled many roles within his own BSAC branch and within the Club’s National Diving Committee, before being elected to the highest role of all, that of Chairman of the BSAC. He carried out that work to such effect that he was elected Club Vice Present, an honour he values to this day.
After service in the Royal Armoured Corps, Kendall turned to journalism after his demobolisation, learning his trade on North of England newspapers before arriving in London and finally becoming a Fleet Street editor on the one-million-copies-a-night best seller, the London Evening News. His first contact with the underwater world came in 1949 when, on holiday in the South of France, he was taught to snorkel. Then, under the tutelage of France’s speafishing champion Raymound Bethoux, he took up spearfishing.
His introduction to the aqualung put a stop to all that and his enthusiasm for diving with a lung began. And so did his authorship of books and articles about diving, which, as a long term and regular contributor to Britain’s DIVER Magazine, continues to this day.
Kendall was one of the main organizers of the 2nd World Congress of Underwater Activities in London in 1963, an event run by the BSAC under the patronage of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He was one of the first journalists to dive on the wreck of King Henry VIIIs famous warship Mary Rose, shortly after its discovery. And at the end of his BSAC chairmanship he roamed more freely along the world’s diving sites, introducing British divers to Florida, the Bahamas, the Caymans, Turks and Caicos, and the Virgin Islands through his articles. Kendall and his wife, Penny, live in an 18th century cottage at Thurlestone, near Plymouth, Devon, whose cottage windows overlook three much-dived wreck sites!