HISTORY OF THE POOL
The swimming pool itself has an interesting history, having been built around 1905 as part of the Royal Marines Barracks in Portsmouth. It is notable for its role in training the Cockleshell Heroes, that band of brave men who, in 1942, canoed 70 miles up the River Gironde to Bordeaux, sank one ship and severely damaged several others with limpet mines. The disruption to the Nazis was sufficient for Winston Churchill to claim that the action shortened the war by six months.
Canoeing is an activity that still takes place in this pool but, thankfully, there are no limpet mines today.
Another claim to fame is that Eastney Swimming Pool is where the very first games of Underwater Hockey, or Octopush as it is often known, were played in 1954. The sport was started with the aim of keeping members of Southsea Sub-Aqua Club from abandoning the new club during the winter months in which it was too cold to dive in the sea. The first octopush competition between clubs was a three-way tournament between teams from Southsea, Bournemouth and Brighton in early 1955. Southsea won then, and they are still highly ranked at a national level today.