Philip Johnston recently published “The Rediscovery of UC-42” , which launches this Thursday, November 30th in Cork City Library on Grand Parade, Cork City.

We asked Philip about his love of diving and the sea, history and the launch.

The Start 

“I learned to dive in 1993 and since then I have learned a lot about diving,” he says. “Over the years I did some diving exams and in 2011 I became a First Class Diver with the BSAC the British Sub Aqua Club this is the highest award in diving. I kept at it and in 2016 I became the only National Instructor in Ireland again for the BSAC. I teach new instructors how to teach and examine others at a very high level.

Away from diving, Philip runs a small fire company called Southern Fire Services which service fire extinguishers and he trains people on how best to tackle fires during fire training.

Diving off Cork

“Over the years I have dived around the world as far away as Singapore on the HMS Repulse to Egypt and the Red Sea, Spain and the UK but to be honest it’s the water around our own coast I like the most. I have dived on  some great shipwrecks like the Aud which was scuttled outside Cork with 20,000 guns and 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition which was on the way to the 1916 Rising,  supplied by the Germans but  captured by the British and the while being escorted into Cork the captain gave the order to scuttle the ship with the guns. I have dived on a wreck from 1775 which was on the way to the American War of Independence which was lost near Kinsale, but it was in 2010 that I was one of a team of divers who found the UC-42 out from Roches Point lighthouse in 29m of water.”

The Story

We asked Philip why he wrote this book and he replied “The story had interested since I took up diving because it was always said that a U-boat was there but no one knew where. When we did find it and we did some research we discovered lots of plots and some sub plots which we were not expecting so when I finished my exams I started writing the story, first for the Holly Bough but then I got hooked and after some lonely nights in my office I had the makings of a book. Then I passed it to Aedin to read and she made me write some more, then to some friends to see if it flowed, then I had to rewrite it again… It’s finished now.”

The Launch

The launch is in the City library in Cork on Thursday 30th of November and it will be hosted by Gerry White, the famous Cork historian. Philip will show some slides and a short video of what the wreck looks like now and try in the time allowed to tell some of the story. “Yes I must say I am looking forward to it.” Says Philip “I am not expecting to make any money from the book but as one man who has written some books in the past has said to me, ‘You won’t make any money from stories about history but you will make some new friends’ I’ll be happy with that.”

About the Book

A German U-boat lies in wait, still ‘on patrol’ outside Cork Harbour. The rediscovery of the UC-42, a mine laying submarine, made the news throughout the world in 2011 after a group of local divers announced the whereabouts of the wreck. After years of searching they found an almost intact U-boat in just 29m of water just outside the harbour.

This is the story of some of the events, which led to its rediscovery. It sheds light on why Cork was under attack by the Imperil German Navy during the First World War. It outlines the connection between submarine designs and a former Christian Brother who taught in ‘the Mon.’ It also gives a glimpse at how the U-boat looks now one hundred years after its sinking.

About the author

Philip Johnston is not a historian, he is a scuba diver with a love of history. He is married to wife Aedin, who also has written a book, which is called “Finding James”. It is about her Great Grand-uncle who died during the First World War, his struggles during the war and Aedin’s battle with breast cancer while writing the book. They have three sons.

If, like Philip, you have a story you would like to have told, is here to help. With a wide range of packages on offer, we can tailor a book to your liking and bring it to market exactly how you like.

The Rediscovery of UC-42 can be purchased on and is available in Waterstones.