Between 1935 and 1939 René Commeinhes had developed several respiration apparatuses for use with fire brigades and with the french military for use in gun turrets. These respiration apparatuses were 2 compressed air tanks on a frame with a demand valve built between them. Somewhere around 1940 his son George redesigned one of his fathers apparatuses to be able to use it under water. His version of this breathing apparatus was babtised ‘Amphibie’ and officially named the GC42 ( George Comeinhes 1942 ) It was tested in presence of the german occupying forces in France during WW2 when George dived it in the Mediterranean sea near Marseille to a depth of 53 meters. Shortly after the apparatus was taken in production, many were supplied to the french navy. In 1944 George Commeinhes joined the Allied forces after these had landed in Normandie to fight against the germans, he got killed in 1944 in the north of France. When Jacques Cousteau was asked by reporters about George Commeinhes invention ( which dated from well before Cousteau’s ‘Aqualung’ ) he simply suggest that Commeinhes had died when using it. When in the nineteen fifties George Herrail from Blagnac ( Toulouse ) entered the market with a miniature version of Commeinhes ‘Amphibie’ which he called ‘Poumondeau’ Cousteau took him to court, accused him from having copied ‘his invention’ and had him banned from the market. ( see also the chapter ‘Poumondeau’ in this index )

René and George Commeinhes


the scrapbook of diving history