Went to action stations torpedo alarm on Hermes
I was in the SCC at the time, no explanation means they haven’t got time to tell us, which means missiles which means amidships which means run aft to after section base (above the avcat fuel and below the ammo store much safer)
Glamorgan attacked planes came to limit of range and fired 1 of there 10 air launched Exocet then went away as they had no in-flight refueling
Got flown over to the Hermes for a dental appointment. Senior rate jumped out told me ?get a haircut? Big ship routine. An old girl compared to ours.
This adventure is a bit of strain and just a little unreal some how. The whole thing is about principle and the position and standing of UK in the world today. With every day that goes by, it seems more and more unlikely that Argentina will move their troops off the Falklands. Our “reading” of the way things will go from here is:-
1. The Argentineans disregard for life and haughtiness/fiery temperament will not allow them to withdraw without at least trying to use force against us.
2. They are not well practiced in multi-coordinated attacks and don’t like night operations either on the sea or in the air.
3. We cannot re-take the Falklands by simply landing an army to fight their army so a blockade of sorts is required.
4. We don’t think it is likely they will commit their naval forces initially; rather we believe they will attempt one massive air attack on the group and then review the situation. If they have broken our defences then send in Navy etc if not then probably start negotiating!
It is rather pathetic but this war will be over quickly (one way or the other).
Our intention is that noting tomorrow (Fri 30th) is the establishment of the Total Exclusion Zone at 1100 to complete all liquids and solids replenishments then and approach within 500 miles of TEZ (to the East). Late PM tomorrow may be the first Vulcan strike on Stanley airport.
Overnight Fri 30/Sat 1 we will insert troops on the Falklands for assessment of enemy positions prior to the main landing. To this end, we have just joined the Invincible/Hermes group for the first time and disembarked 80 SAS men and an “incredible” amount of their kit to Hermes for this operation.
Saturday we made an overt (everything on) passage and are fully prepared for any Argentinean reaction – Obviously it is to our advantage to try to taunt them into attacking us as far out from their home and bases from which we expect the attack to come.
Despite Stanley and Argentina being Z-3 hours time we are keeping Z time (1 hour behind you) so we are half way through our forenoon before dawn even breaks -a little disconcerting! The navigator remarked that the forenoon may soon have to be regarded as a night watch! (Civil Twilight) (The first lightening of the sky (at Stanley is 1037 (our time) and sunrise 1107 (our time) = Sunset is 2046 and (Civil Twilight 2116. Thus 0827/2236 local is Civil Twilight.
By dusk on Saturday we will have approached to the edge of the TEZ and a second (or perhaps first) Vulcan raid will be conducted. Naval gunfire support and Surface Action Group ships and Anti-Submarine Warfare ships will be dispatched as required. The bombardment of Stanley will begin – Brilliant is earmarked to defend Invincible from air attack and hunt out submarines. The group will be operating to the NE of the Falklands with the “Carriers” at about 80 miles from land.
Sunday the 2nd will be our first day in the TXA with total reaction to the Argentinean response. After this well….?
Perhaps it being Sunday will help – the RAF don’t fly much then!?! It is a good plan? God knows but if we can produce enough military pressure quickly while keeping our losses to a minimum the Politicians will be able to talk again! If we win it certainly means
M. Thatcher becomes a “steel” lady and presumably secures the next election! If not then presume she loses – nothing like success to breed success!
Life on board – we are all in good heart but it is a rather false feeling and conversations about this issue leaving us asking “Why”? The organization of the ship is good. We are working easily as a team but could be a little sharper. As you know I am v difficult to satisfy re: Ops Room organization! Most certainly our Portland training will have helped particularly as the majority of that team are still here.
We are most certainly at risk – considerable risk (even at war with Argentina). It’s really all about shore based air cover – we will see…
Now 1130pm – have had hot shower after completing a long final RAS and its time for bed.
Fri 30th 1600 (commenced)
C-Day has been advanced. It is now tomorrow and we will attack at dawn. I am in no doubt that the Argentineans will respond with their Air Force and perhaps with their Navy. We do not know the rules of engagement for our submarines – but Roger Lane-Nott, who is I/C of Splendid is shadowing the Argentineans carrier “De Mayo” – Sinking her alone would be a major loss of prestige for the Arg’s but doubtless they feel the same way about Invincible!
Seemingly Invincible is v. pleased to have us back from South Georgia as we are providing their direct protection. Our pilot was talking to Prince Andrew about South Georgia and he told him that on sailing from Portsmouth he had had to leave the flight deck to receive a telegram from Prince Charles wishing him well and that he wanted to come too!
Invincible have seemingly taken up all cushion covers and there is not a mirror anywhere. We have not done this and I feel we are right. The whole organization is working well and apart from “better people” we will be a ship very much “all of one company”,
Well fairly naturally absolutely no time to write anything yesterday. It was very exciting and pretty heart stopping on occasions. We went boring into the Total Exclusion Zone and a Vulcan attacked Stanley runway with several 1000lb bombs from 8000ft.
This was a noble effort but regrettably only one hit the runway – having said that, it made one hell of a hole.
After this (at dawn) 9 Harriers went in with various bombs – some of them cluster. They made a line of shallower holes all down the runway and one Harrier on seeing some 400 troops in tents dropped a cluster bomb on them and flattened the field. In this engagement one Harrier had a bullet through one wing but returned quite safely. It was then a combat air / missile direction exercise and it went well.
Despite their inferior speed the Harriers proved more than a match for the Argentineans. 4 Argentinean Mirages were downed by Argentinean shore AA guns! Ha! Also one Canberra and another Pucara dropped weapons in the water before running away.
As the day progressed, the Carriers together with the Type 42s providing air defence stayed pretty much away from the action at 50 miles from Stanley.
We were sent with Yarmouth fairly close off the NE shore to limit their submarine San Luis which we did by deliberately making underwater noise and as “target” for a while. The aim being to draw him out from the shallow water or else to entice him to give away his position by having a “go”.
During this phase, which lasted the whole afternoon and evening until 1am we HIFR fuelled 3 Seaking helicopters who were acting as screening Units and they gobbled 1 months worth of Avcat fuel at Lynx flying rates!
Now while all this was going on Glamorgan, Arrow, Alacrity were tasked to conduct Naval Gunfire bombardment of key targets around Stanley in broad daylight. Hermes provided Harrier CAP under Glamorgan control for this little exercise which was only some 40 miles from our position (across the eastern edge of the Islands)
It was not long before the Mirages etc came over the hill and our ships were attacked by an 8 A/C raid at about 4pm. All the ships sustained damage but of a minor nature. I do however feel they should have been better served with air defence cover in the shape of a 42 or maybe even us.
Fortune favours the brave – or God is on the side of the good or something for both we and they got away with this. Overall the Argentineans appear to have been pretty easily repulsed. They fired weapons at extreme range, dropped bombs when harassed and have not really ventured forward. The loss of their A/C and casualties on the ground will not have helped morale.
Today started with an early fuel (Dieso and Avcat) replenishment for us (pitch black night) and this went well. We had been told De Mayo, their carrier, had entered the NW of the TEZ and that we had moved away to the East – again to ensure their A/C had to operate to maximum range.
It was the intention, I understand that Spartan and Splendid who are believed to be marking De Mayo would attack her as soon as she commenced her launch. The idea being to leave the A/C in the air with no airfield to return to! (Pretty miserable trick – huh!) Since then however there has been a strange lull – the dawn strike we expected and were very prepared for did not happen and we have waiting till now 3pm to see what happens now – but nothing has. As I write therefore we have reversed course and are no heading NW again, in the general direction of the Carrier.
My assessment is:
a) There has been a major change of Argentine political intent or
b) They only intend to act in a defensive role or
c) Everything stopped because it was Sunday
But whatever, unless someone says something soon, we are about to take the war back to them when they like it least (at night). The Captain got v. little sleep last night so I am standing in for him at the moment.
All is very well on board; many of the men are v. tired because yesterday we were up and down from action stations like bell boys in a lift! The NAAFI has run out of T. paste and shampoo and only had for days of “nutty” left! Also run out of razor blades – a lot are growing beards (except me and the CO!
Continued Sunday 11pm
It has certainly turned out to be a low pressure day. We are amused and amazed at the Argentinean news re: Hermes being badly damaged etc and loss of A/C. The one thing that is true is that we did not attack them on the Falklands today. It seems the Admiral was under tight control from No. 10 – presumably to gauge the political reaction on all sides. We are therefore dubbed incapable of continuing further action! What a hoot!
Anyway… Glamorgan + have been detached to exercise a short sharp period bombardment of Stanley defences tonight while a second wave of helicopters inserts SAS/SBS on the island for advance recce. The intention tomorrow is to retire SE again and await developments – watch this space…. This war diary will make interesting reading for me later!
The ‘lull’ continues. Overnight Conqueror torpedoed (2xMK8) the Cruiser, Belgrano. She was being escorted by two Fletcher class destroyers and all were Exocet fitted. Belgrano was attacked due south of the Falklands and seemingly attempting an outflanking manoeuvre on our Group, or perhaps, about to attempt the re-capture of South Georgia. Either way she had to go despite the fact that world opinion is probably now against us.
Also during the night the NGS group were recalled because we suspected an attack by A69 French built frigates (also Exocet armed). We attacked a Patrol Craft with Sea Sesqua and sunk it – and this with a missile which has not yet been accepted into service
Tuesday 4th (12/mid-day)
Yesterday was very quiet but then the weather was terrible (high wind and very low visibility). We did not pose any threat to the Args who probably had their minds on the sinking of the Belgrano and we were operating someway from the coast.
There were numerous sonar contacts during the night and one was actually attacked but no real relief of S/M threat. Today so far, one Vulcan attack has been carried out pre-dawn and a Sea-Harrier attack is planned. We are currently 96 miles SE of Stanley and pretty invunerable to air attack. The Admiral is obviously concerned to enforce the blockade with minimum loss of our assets (particularly Harriers) and in this he is succeeding but we will have to exert pressure to prohibit their overflights of Stanley by Mirage soon.
Apart from anything else, we will all be due a lot of leave on return and have a lot of cleaning to do on the ship. Goodness knows how we will catch up with any aspect of our programme – It might very well mean that I will miss COST of course!
I note that May also represents my being a Lt Cdr for 6 years and that at some stage the Government will announce our pay rise (backdated to 1 April). All this should make the bank a little happier!
Having just listened to the world news it seems amazing how fickle is public opinion because we haven’t lost any lives in this campaign and we sink Belgrano suddenly we are the aggressors! We are operating at extreme range from our bases and repair facilities with the bare minimum of aggression and v. limited resources and suddenly we are the aggressors! It’s a great pity Splendid did not attack the De Mayo earlier. I suspect that she will not be allowed to do so now….
Well the Royal Navy no longer has an HMS Sheffield. My thoughts were for the Families at 9pm when the news was announced. I’m sure it will have upset them.
I had given the Admiral credit for fighting a war of attrition- I now withdraw that compliment. The man is an idiot! We were steaming almost due south of Stanley (and heading West!) in broad daylight and good visibility with little swell – presumably to “demonstrate” the TEZ “belonged” to us. Certainly there was no military logic or advantage to us being there. The Argentineans fired two of their air launched Exocet missiles at Sheffield who was:
Coventry 305 degrees
Glasgow 230 degrees Main Force (18 miles away)
Sheffield was acting as a radar picket and fighter control platform and the part wing of the Force. The whole force was within the un-refuelled (AAR) range of the Super Extended A/C with their Exocet missiles! It is our belief that the Force position is “known” rather inaccurately by the air defence/fighter control radars on the Falklands who “see” the Harriers launch and therefore can reasonably pinpoint the carrier.
The strike against Sheffield was at the limit of its range and slightly off line for the main group and fired at the first unit they had contact with. This, in itself, shows how vulnerable the two other T42s are who still provide “air defence” against the threat. Regrettably only T22s (us) have any measure of protection against these missiles which come in very low and just sub-sonic.
The Electronic Warfare detection of the Etendard radar and the fleeting radar contacts were judged “spurious” by the Force Weapon Coordinator! as concerned to mistakenly engage a returning Harrier CAP aircraft! I really hope we have learnt a lesion – particularly the Admiral. He put us into danger during our ASW hunt off the NE coast and even more put Glamorgan / Arrow / Alacrity into danger during their Gunfire Support.
Sheffield Casualties: There appear to be about 30 but doubtless there will be more. I gather the WE and Supply Officer were among the dead and what now politically? The British wanted a “skirmish” the Americans said of us much earlier. Well there has been a skirmish. I am quite clear we cannot provide a military solution so what now? We cannot defeat their air superiority without taking the battle to the mainland of Argentina which means a declaration of war and the loss of political credibility and backing that goes with it.
We would have “done better” had a successful attack on De Mayo been conducted but, for whatever reason, our submarines failed in this and she and her Group have now retired to the north inside their coastal areas.
The battle, if you will, is between their Air Force and our limited air cover. Having spent the whole of my naval career fighting Air Defence battles I feel terribly frustrated with the ineptitude if our commanders and those taking charge of the various nets. The saving grace is data link and one feels so sorry for those ships without it.
Our radar and weapons system is so short range that we are not really involved in the action. So what are we doing? Well we are right in the centre of the force (so the threat has a long way to go to get to us) and providing close range air defence to Invincible (which of course the Admiral really does not want to lose).
On the face of it we should not get too exposed and even more important; our weapon system (which is working well) gives us a much better change of defence than any other in the Group. In addition, we have the best sonar set in the fleet and a submariner Captain to flight the ASW battle. As much as I can be, I am content!
I intend to conclude this entry because after the Belgrano/Sheffield Tit-for-Tat we can look for some shifting in political position/resolve.
It might be useful to note:
a) It was the RAF who “proved” the RN did not need carriers as it could be supplied with air defence by them
b) The vast number of survivors from the Sheffield even after fighting the fire for many hours
c) The days of British Imperialism are long gone and the Conservatives have given the world a clear demonstration of this
d) The RN is now a “home guard” force and ought to be structured accordingly.
Well, my darling, it’s Tuesday evening, and doubtless you’ve heard what happened today to the Sheffield. I can’t believe it. Up until now I don’t think anyone had really accepted what the stakes were, so to speak. I don’t think we thought it could happen to any of the ships down here, but this brings it home to you in the worst way possible. The thing now is, we’re all waiting to see what happens next. At the moment our role is in the centre of the Task Force, so I guess we’re as safe as anyone, but it can all change so quickly. To be honest, when I first heard that Sheffield had been hit, my first thought was that the news would disclose the fact that a ship had been hit and lives lost, but not give the name, and I know how much you worry. So I was relieved when the news gave her name – very selfish of me really.
04/05/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)
Quite night again. A/S at 1415,Sheffield was hit by Exocet, badly damaged and crew taken off by Arrow. Two major fires out of control, Exocet failed to explode, apparently the fires were started by the missile efflux???? Lost Firemain, Major Fireball. It appears they were totally unprepared for the attack, at least 20 dead!!!!!! It is bloody TRAGIC, really feel down, could so easily have been us!! My God what a shambles, I know you can’t expect to fight a war without loosing men / ships etc but should this of happened?????????
My guts are churning so much the ache, we are closed up again at A/S Section Base very quite no one wants to talk, all lost in our own private thoughts and I’m thinking who is next?
DID NOT TAKE LONG FOR THEM TO REACT.
The Argentine surface fleet began to turn and seek safe haven in mainland waters whilst the air threat mounted. The Lynx were tasked for ESM surface search sorties around the clock. With the task force divided into several groups, night identification techniques became an art well practiced by both crews. It was with some satisfaction the Flight’s former Skua Lynx XZ| 721 was welcomed back having escaped from the blazing Sheffield whilst XZ725, the veteran of Soputh Georgia , returned to HERMES.
05/05/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)
Ships company walking around in a numbed silence the tragic incident with the Sheffield brought home theft we are not indestructible.
Brilliant detached from main group to be inshore for special ops from the 5th to the 12th. Carried out various tasks including recon of Port Howard and providing air cover for HMS Glasgow whilst she carries out NGS of Port Stanley Airfield.
Action Stations aircraft closing Evening otherwise a quiet day
It’s been a bit hectic down here we’ve had a number of air attacks most of which were chased off by Invincible’s harriers. My ships about the safest in the fleet, against aircraft and submarines anyway. The sea wolf system should take out an Exocet which is what the Sheffield was hit with. The reason she got hit before they could fire chaff up was their bloke in charge of the ops room thought it was a spurious contact and ignored it. Chaff by the way is shredded fibreglass which is sent up in 3″ rockets the missiles radar for the larger mass and misses. It works too; if it hadn’t HMS Arrow would have been a gonner to, as two Exocet missiles possibly three were launched.
The fact that their Exocet missiles are not chaff discriminating is very encouraging. God knows when I’ll be home now. This sort of lark means you have to rethink everything you have ever believed inespecially when you’re sat in a fear nought suit with an ICABA strapped to your back. I received letters from my parents and grandparents and one of from my step grandfather a real fire and brimstone the wrath of god and all that I never knew he was like that. Tomorrow we the Broadsword and 2 type 42’s are going close into the Falklands to try and draw out their air cover out so it should be pretty hot stuff. All we have to worry about is the Super Entards which come in under the radar, fire their missiles and disappear at supersonic speed back to Argentina. The missiles aren’t as big as ship launched Exocet (thank god). They travel about 600 mph about 7 ft above the waves which is relatively slow as the Seawolf travel at 2,000 mph.
Well the politicians have their sacrificial lamb what are they going to do now? There are buzzes the Argentineans are going to agree to a cease fire. If they don’t pull their army out I don’t see much coming of it.
There have been some hilarious moments in all this gloom. One of the 42’s fired a torpedo without switching off its 182 ( a noise making machine that’s streamed behind the ship to deflect incoming torpedoes by making 100 times more noise than the ship. So the torpedo ran straight at it and blew it up at least we know they work. There have been a few torpedo attacks on us but none have hit yet. The sub hasn’t been heard of for the last few days so hopefully it’s sunk.
Were still on rations and the NAAFI is down to polo’s, still we should be razzing tonight so nutty should come on board as well as spuds.
06/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
We are hoping to get mail today and we did some chocolate form mum among other things and a couple of letters it was a lovely surprise nothing from Gay- Gay mind you I got two off her last time. Again another quiet day I?m glad that talks are again under way we are still in a worked up state throughout the force. We had a couple of planes in the area. We have had a couple of planes in the area but apart from that nothing. Some bad news this morning two harriers had a mid air collision or piled into the sea in very foggy conditions no trace was found of either of them. Still thinking if Brian is alright It must be terrible for Wendy. The Sheffield is still afloat, burning in some places red hot. I think they are going to sink her tomorrow. We might be going on a dangerous mission with four other ships in a days time I hope not. The weather is good except for the fog and the food is getting better after the doc had a word someones ear that it wasn?t enough.
Action stations around 1200 aircraft closing.
Another quiet day because of the fog only one action stations today because of an unidentified aircraft. We are listening to the news a lot and hoping for a settlement but as always there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. We should get some more mail today, may get the chance to send mail. The food is getting better. Im not sleeping to well beginning to worry about Gail it looks as if we are here for a long time we might even brake the record for time spent at sea. I wonder if she can wait that long. It must be very hard. A women has to be very special to wait for a long time like this. I hope she can hack it.
Action Stations morning and evening aircraft bumbling about no attack Plan for tonight is we are going off on our own in between main islands launching helicopters armed with sea skua to sink whatever floating in one harbor Were also going to be close enough to use our bofors 1500 Yds
Expecting grat issue of saaki and white bandanas with a red dot, a few prayers to the mighty emperor might come in handy about 5 other ships 42s and fearless are going to bombard Port Stanley.
It’s Saturday afternoon and we’ve just had another scare but nothing came of it and now, with a couple of hours left before I go on watch, I thought I’d write to you now, as I may not get a chance later on. Apparently we’re going in close into land tonight to try an attack on one of the harbours on the islands, so I’ll let you know what, if anything, comes of that tomorrow.
08/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
Nothing much happened during the day except a couple of false alarms about aircraft coming in. At 20.00 we detached from the rest of the force and went to the North of the island so our helicopter could carry out some reconnaissance. At the same time Alacrity was down near Stanley bombarding the airfield again then we are returning before it gets light tomorrow.
BRILLIANT detached during the night of 8 May to conduct operations on the North of Falkland Sound, to search for enemy shipping and to harass enemy positions in the Port Howard area. The task required two Skua armed Lynx and MAD fitted to 342 (BRYANT/BUTLER) changed places with GLASGOW flight. An initial search of the Sound by 341 (CLARK/McKay) proved uneventful and the second Lynx was called in to assist in waking up the troops of Port Howard. A combination of flare drops and GPMG straffing about the enemy locations served its purpose but yet again BRILLIANT was foiled in her attempts to fire a Sea Skua. During the daylight Hours of May 10/12 BRILLIANT and GLASGOW proceeded to a gunline position to carry out NGS of installations around Port Stanley. Both crews took turns as aerial spotters directing the bombardment and not surprisingly from a position close to shore, were engaged by medium calibre artillery fire , but fortunately the gunners were poor shots and the fire did little more than make a few splashes. It was interesting that the RA spotter in the aircraft seemed to have rather more respect for Argentinian accuracy than did the aircrew.
It was during a gunline patrol the BRILLIANT and GLASGOW came under attack from two waves of Skyhawks. During the raid BRILLIANT fired Seawolf missiles and claimed three aircraft , but some managed to penetrate the defences and release bombs narrowly missing both ships. Glasgow did receive an unexploded bomb to the dismay of the CLARK/McKay team who had landed for tea only to find themselves involved in a damage control evolution. On the night of May 15 both crews took part in a raid on an Argentinian supply ship alongside in Fox Bay settlement. It was the intention to drop a ‘Homemade’ bomb with a short delay fuse from one Lynx whilst the second aircraft prepared for a Skua attack if the vessel had moved to the more open water’s of the bay. This helo would also act as a decoy to cover the escape of the first Lynx from the defended Port. 344 (BRYANT/BUTLER) armed with Skua and 342 (CLARK/ McKay) with the SHERMAN BOMB (named after the diving officer, inventor of the bomb) carried out the raid, after some outstanding night formation flying to reach Fox Bay . 341 detached to a holding position outside the harbour whilst 342 approached the settlement from inland. Within sight of the target and preparing to fuse the bomb 342 came under heavy AA fire and abandoned the mission eluding the barrage and adding support to the notion that the enemy could not shoot straight.
Today Coventry and Broadsword stood off Port Stanley bombarded the Airfield to try and draw there Air force. They came bombing about 5 Mirages and 2 Hercules. The Hercules tried to land stores but disappeared when the Coventry Tid them. They did manage to shoot down a Puma Helicopter. The good news is we are taking over from Broadsword 0300 tomorrow morning only we don?t get a 42 with Sea Dart only HMS Arrow.
On the question of how long I’m going to be down here it’s an extremely dodgy situation. It now appears the Navy have requisitioned a refit boat from one of the oil companies which they are going to base alongside Ascension Island so that we will only have to go to Ascension when we need an AMP. With luck they should fly us home for a couple of weeks whilst there, but it all depends on how long this caper lasts. The PO writer is working out all our pay up to September but that doesn’t mean a lot.
Last night the 42’s and the other 4.5″ gunned ships went to bombard Port Stanley whilst we on our own went up the strait between the main island to sink any ships in port. The two choppers went off dropped a load of flares but couldn’t see any ships. Soothe whole exercise consisted of machine gunning a few Argentineans dug outs just to stir them up.
Tomorrow in broad daylight we and the Glasgow are going to stand just off the coast to try and draw their air force out. The Glasgow will shoot down the planes and we will shoot any missiles they manage to launch. We thought it was a hair brained scheme but the Coventry and the Broadsword survived today so it shouldn’t be too bad. Last night also the SBS toddled off with a fishing boat god knows why; probably fill it full of explosives or some such thing.
Reading the two week old papers is quite funny. The island of South Georgia is supposed to be in “perpetual darkness, the hurricane was sheer hell” it was a bit choppy and windy but not exactly hell. The booty’s probably had to put on an extra pair of socks on too. How a troop carrier got down there is beyond me all I could see was the Endurance, Yarmouth, Glamorgan and the courageous bumbling about or was it the Conqueror? one of the two. At the moment it is relatively calm no 25 lists tonight and the cloud quite high on Friday we were surrounded in fog, the sea like glass.
I will finish this for now, I’ll write again when we close up for action stations.
Remember I mentioned an attack on a harbour yesterday? Well it turns out there was nothing there, so that was all a waste of time and effort. Tomorrow we’re going in close to land again to prevent any aircraft using the airstrip at Port Stanley, amongst other things, so we’ll see what comes of that, shall we.
09/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
Broadsword and Coventry have stayed near Pt Stanley to stop aircraft from landing at the airport if they still can. Its our turn to go down there tomorrow and do the same thing with Glasgow I?m not looking forward to it. I managed to get some fresh air this evening George and myself did a RAS for fuel this evening. One of there helos has been shot down and a fishing boat has been taken over by the SAS.
10/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
We arrived down by Port Stanley at 04.00 this morning Glasgow started to bombard that general area and points of land where they thought some radars might be We were there to guard her against air of missile attack. We were all expecting something to happen, but nothing, did not a dicky bird. Acouple more bombardings from Glasgow, then we will relieved by Broadsword and Coventry. It looks as if we are working 24 hours about. To give both groups the chance to re-ammunition.
Well the Sheffield has sunk there was a brave attempt to save her, Yarmouth was towing her out of the 200 mile zone when she started taking on water, keeled over and sank. I have got a feeling that an invasion will be soon within a week. The weather is really good at the moment I hope it lasts. Hurray the Chief ops is not in my watch any more. We have a PO in charge of us who is a lot better I actually enjoy being on watch sometimes now.
10th May (Chris)
The raid we did today was fairly quiet because of the weather, so what will happen tomorrow is anybody’s guess. Wait and see, I suppose.
Action Stations never happened which is quite amazing since we were only 10 miles or so from Port Stanley but it was very bad visibility in the afternoon and the Arge’s need to be able to see their target for bombs.
They couldn’t fire their Exocet because we were so close to land. I’ve now been put back on chippy’s party for three weeks which is a dam site better than watch-keeping more time off for one thing. It seems that we are doing 24 hrs about with the Broadsword on this bombardment job. Changing over around 3 ‘o’clock in the morning. I hope the weathers just as bad for the next week or two.
The past few days have been a bit quiet mind you all they can attack us with and not get shot at in super Entendards with Exocet, there only supposed to be another 4 or 5 of them left. It wouldn’t surprise me if they landed in the next few days, (as in our lot) as the Arge’s are in pretty bad nick apparently.
Raz Fuel. Spent the afternoon getting goffered on the boat deck
There’s a buzz going around that the Alacrity sunk an Argentinean tanker last night, with its 4.5 gun from about 5 miles away.
11/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
Early this morning Arrow and Alacrity went through and between West Falkland and East Falkland. Alacrity engaged one ship which came out in the news later as being a tanker used by the Argees After that the day was really quiet with the sea getting a bit rougher and very thick fog unsuitable for any aircraft to fly I should think I managed to get some fresh air this morning while doing a RAS for fuel.
Afternoon action stations around 5 o’clock attacked by 3 aircraft sea wolf shot down 2 third went away 4 came in second time round 3 Bombs dropped two bounced over the top of us One hit Glamorgan AAMR went straight through. Sea Dart on Glasgow packed in Our Sea wolf so finely tuned to exocet didn’t ti the second lot
Action Stations again Aircraft coming in. Just after two aircraft shot down 2 planes we had a rogue missile in launcher so it was shot off without guidance Went straight up in the air and came down at us. There was a pipe take cover a rather tense moment; it hit the water about 300 yds astern.
This next raid is a bit bad since Sea Dart is no good and our Seawolf isn’t retracked. Hope snoopy’s (mascot sent down)keeping up the good work. First time didn’t get much warning Action Stations piped then Seawolf fired apparently there planes came from where CAP patrol had just gone and came from over the mountains Glasgow damaged HP air bottles Tyne intakes and 1 RV Tank 1 casualty suffering from shock.
Action Stations, Leap out of my pit, charge up the ladder with 20 other blokes, shut the bulkhead doors and hatches, on with fearnought suit, check breathing apparatus sit down with back to a big steel cupboard, headsets going on, lads settling down. Closed up in 4? minutes Pipe ?hit the deck? everybody throwing themselves onto the floor ,seconds pass glance up, one lad still sitting his hands clasped in front of him staring into space.
Well today was more exciting, we were attacked around 5 o’clock the Glasgow’s sea dart packed up so we shot down two planes and one more ditched through damage from parts of an Argentinean aeroplane. Then our Sea wolf packed up when the second wave came two bombs exploded twenty five feet away and one went straight through the Glasgow’s AAMR.
The only casualty was a stoker suffering from shock since the bomb flew over his head. (It seems one design principle of these tin cans has been proved).
Nothing much been happening for the last couple of days, there’s been a force 9 blowing. After another razz where a load of diesel was put on the boat deck (the seamen now call it the diesel deck) all the off watch stokers had to be up there scrubbing the deck with detergent. I’ve never seen such a more comical sight, ten stokers including myself scrubbing the decks nearly getting blown off our feet, the torrential downpour of spray coming over the side sluicing all the detergent off. The back end was going under the water every now and then, needless to say the heli’ wasn’t doing much flying.
There has been no mention of what we are doing tomorrow, hopefully goalkeeping for one of the carriers. Nothing much happened in the past few days landed some SBS to blow up a few planes. We should be landing in the next few days as we are with the Canberra, Fearless etc. there’s a re strong likelihood of a few air attacks but that will be old news by the time you get this. The box is just something I carved up, I’m going to put made off the Falklands. (I still have the box) It’s made out of a piece off the beading that goes round the ship (not what I made off Gib).Also the little piece of rock inside is a piece of South Georgia.
Now bumbling between Invincible group and the Hermes group. Supposed to be going in tomorrow night around eight o’clock a good idea since the planes don’t attack at night, but still enough light to see by. There’s a buzz our Phantoms are already in Chile. As soon as we take back the airfield, rebuild it with bulldozers on the Fearless they will come in. They can’t use Chile as a base for attacks as that would bring them into the war. I don’t believe there’s any chance of the talks coming to anything.
I’m going back on DC patrol in a week or so. I enjoy being chippy’s party it’s a lot more healthy (more exercise). Not as much work or maybe we are working for 12 hours so it seems less. the only really hard graft is scrubbing the diesel spillages in howling gales and that’s more fun. Received letters from my parents and a couple of paintings off my mother (just postcard size) Modern art jobs I don’t really understand them, but more the ideas that are behind them, I think anyway I liked them.
My oldest sisters got herself a boyfriend she tells me in all innocence she’s not into the bird’s skull in his bedroom. My mum and dad are going to have hell on these next few years, 3 girls god you have to watch these female. I told Sandra if she brought a sailor home when I was there I’d fill him in (jokingly). I now what they’re like if you see what I mean. Anyway this guy is a nice respectable Henry or so she says. I won’t be the big protective brother, not that she’ll take much notice of me.
It’s quite impressive up top the horizons covered with ships, comforting in one way, more targets in a callous sort of way. Definitely brings you down to reality I’m not getting morbid or losing my sense of humour don’t worry. It gives you time to think about life and your own place in it.
Photo James Oconnell Seawolf splash 2 A4s
Photo Glasgow shipmate Seawolf splash 2 A4s
An A4 about to put a bomb through the AAMR of Glasgow Picture taken from the flight deck of Brilliant
Audio Nobby Clark HMS Glasgow ships broadcast during attack Click image to start and stop
Photo Kirk Glasgow after attack
Photo Bill Glasgow after attack
LWEM (R) Jimmy Bond 12/05/82
3P Mess HMS Glasgow
Back in on station with the Brilliant. The Captain tells us we are running silent so that we can try and splash an Argentine surveillance aircraft that has been reporting the position of the main force to the mainland.
No sign of him so we relieve our frustration by lobbing 50 rounds at the Argentine positions around Stanley. We start to head back out to sea, Action Stations!
Nothing happens and we start to open up the ship again. The alarm sounds “Stand to at Action Stations!” 4 A4’s pop up from nowhere, Seadarts go up on the launcher which is directly above us. The A4’s close and two are splashed by Sea Wolf missiles from the Brilliant, a third dives into the sea while taking avoiding action and the fourth drops a bomb about 100 yards astern of us.
A second wave of four A4’s comes in and our Sea Dart goes duff – now of all times! The 4.5 opens up for a few rounds and then stops. Then we hear the Oerlikon firing and we know they are almost on us. I don’t remember if I said a prayer or not. I remember asking myself “What the f*** am I doing here?” We hear a dull thud and I say to Mo “That was close”. As it turned out it could not have been any closer as a bomb had passed clean through the ship. Third wave of A4’s turns away,
First aid repairs are made to the holes but there is severe flooding and extensive damage to equipment in the after engine room. We head back out to the main force to count our blessings. The skipper holds a thanksgiving service in the dining hall.
Argentinian account of attack12 MAY 1982 – 14:00 hours:
Three formations of Argentine Aircraft arrive. The HMS Brilliant (Type 22 frigate) and the HMS Glasgow were attacked with bombs and 20MM Cannon, with near misses causing damage to the Glasgow.
Air Force Grupo 5 lost 3 of 4 Skyhawks during the attack.
Flight Leader Primer Teniente Oscar Bustos (C-246) and Teniente Jorge Ibarlucea (C-208) were shot down by Seawolf Missiles from HMS Brilliant, and Teniente Mario Nivoli (C-206) crashed into the sea evading a SAM. Only Teniente Alfreez Jorge Vazquez survived the mission and returned to base.
During the second wave of the attack, Argentine Air Force Grupo 5 A-4B Skyhawks again attacked the HMS Glasgow and HMS Brilliant. Capitan Zelaya, Primer Teniente Fausto Gavazzi and Primer Teniente Alfreez Dellepiane attack the Glasgow and Teniente Juan Arraras attacks the Brilliant.
HMS Brilliant is not hit when Arraras 500 lb bombs skip over the Brilliant when they strike the water.
Gavazzi dropped a bomb that struck Glasgow in the side at the water line. The bomb passed through Glasgow without exploding within the ship but left Glasgow with two large hull holes on the water line.
While egressing the area Gavazzi’s Skyhawk (C-248) was shot down by Argentine flak near Darwin, killing the pilot.
The other returning aircraft experienced what was to be a common problem for returning Skyhawks in that their low level flying had caused salt spray to form a crust on the canopies causing difficult landing conditions.
Believing HMS Brilliant had been sunk, her name was painted below the canopy
Photo Kirk Tiny Davies and jack Russel 12/05/82
12/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
Well it was our turn again to go close inshore, we arrived there this morning and messed around for most of the morning. There was some helicopter activity Ashore they were probably lifting stores around. At about 17.00 we had four hostile fighter aircraft came from the direction of the islands carrying bombs.
Glasgow’s weapon system went duff so we could not start taking them out at long range. Glasgow started firing her gun by this time the aircraft were at two miles both our trackers locked on to the planes. Two of them were taken out by our missile system and we believe another by Glasgow’s gun. The last plane turned away and headed West from where he had come not before releasing one bomb which bounced astern of Glasgow. A second raid came in about 20 minutes later consisting of three aircraft this time our system did not lock on, several bombs were dropped exploding near to us one bomb went right through Glasgow just above the waterline without going off, very lucky indeed no one was injured either only one person with shock. Another 42 bites the dust.
These aircraft then also opened out to the West. Another air raid was expected but never turned up. We are returning to the main force, slowly as Glasgow has a small amount of damage to her engines.
I was in the ops room when all this was happening actually seeing the radar contacts of the aircraft coming in. My whole body was tingling I hope this all ends soon, if we are going to invade lets get it over with. But I?ve got that deep down feeling that we will be down here for quite a time yet. Ships like this one with her weapon system will be the last to leave. The weather today has been pretty rough but that is the last of my worries still I don’t know what?
Photo Kirk Glasgow after the attack, hole above the waterline
12/05/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)
Went in to take up position on gun line
11.00hrsGlasgow Starts NGS
16.50hrs Action Stations air attack by Skyhawk’s 8 in number. Came at us in two waves. Four aircraft in each wave. Seawolf wipes out two third Skyhawk ditches fourth turns away
Second wave comes in almost imediateley open up with bofor’s and machine guns. Three bombs dropped at us all miss by a few feet, one bounced over us. Glasgow is hit by one bomb goes in one side and out the other does not explode. No casualties. Skyhawks do not return. We were very lucky but Brilliant proves the Seawolf missile. First ship to take out enemy aircraft.
Really felt like we had our lot today Never want to come that close again. Now we have proved Seawolf we will get all the dirty work. We have to put ourselves between the enemy and any other ship we are goalkeeping on.
Cleaned Boat deck of Diesel after raz a force nine gale blowing and gofers coming over the flight deck it was a hilarious afternoon Capital Radio reported that we had been torpedoed.
13/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
We rejoined the main force early this morning, a little bit later than expected because Glasgow was taking in water through the bomb holes that were only temporarily bunged up, she has been doing more substantial repairs today. I am not so sure about these type 42 Destroyers that?s the second one that has caught most of the damage because there weapons have failed. It all seems to go for a bag of worms when the action starts. Maybe or should I say hopefully they will work next time. We tried to do a RAS today but there was still quite a swell after the storm yesterday so the stores were lifted on board using the helicopter. Also mail came on board today which was great I got a couple of from Gail and one from mum. Also we got some papers up to the 28th of last month and some porn as well, that soon disappeared I must add. One of our liners is down here now the Uganda the one that Gail went on in the Med. We heard that radio victory had been misinformed about HMS Brilliant getting torpedoed it was just propaganda that?s all, it must have given you a bit of a stir if you heard about it, sorry about that. We also got a mention on the radio in connection with the air attack yesterday I?m glad we are getting a bit of recognition back home instead of Hermes and Invincible all the time. Two months away from Plymouth and 46 days at sea since Gib Good Buzz invasion one week from today- watch this space. All in all a very quiet day today. Believe it or not we are still hoping for a peaceful settlement I don?t see why they don?t see sense and realize how much they are losing.
13/05/05 Steve Tinney (Taff)
Quiet night RAS stores and fuel today nothing happening, goalkeeping on I Invincible.
We received mail and papers today. What a load of rubbish in the papers the reporters must be at a different war. Theyve got it all wrong anyone would think they were reading a film script, boy what a load of bull. We heard today we had been sunk.
Got dragged out of bed to range helo impossible in the weather conditions eventually persuaded commander when water came up to his shins in the hanger.
14/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
Nothing much happened to us today except the weather is getting worse. The Captain told us last night to expect on or around the 20th of this month The invasion is looking good. Some SBS went into the western side of the island tonight also more Harrier raids.
14/05/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)
Very quiet day continue to goalkeep Force 12 building up will be a rough night.
SAS went in blew up 11 planes on Falklands we were going to land 10 SBS but weather conditions to bad.
15/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
Again a very quiet day, bad weather is still with us. Early this morning another raid done on pebble island with 11 aircraft destroyed. The rest of the day was pretty quiet until about 20.00 when we are told we have to deatach ourselves down to the South western part of the island to find out a merchant ship that is meant to be alongside at a place called Fox Bay. We will arrive there early tomorrow morning.
16/05/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)
Our helo fired on while on op in Falkland Sound otherwise very quiet.
Sun 16/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
We arrived at this bay at about 01.00 and sent out the helicopters in to check it out and if it was a merchantman they were to sink it. But when they came close they came under fire so the whole thing was cancelled, we recovered the helos and made a mad dash back to the protection of the force3 before dawn. Lter on this morning some Sea Harriers went in and did the job we could not do and imobilised the merchant ship. Also there were some more raids on Port Stanley airfield. Yet another quiet day with a RAS in the afternoon. We then detached ourselves again with Alacrity along the North coast this time and attempted to land some SBS but lights were spotted on the foreshore where they were meant to land so another mission was cancelled and we are returning to the main body. Only 3 more days to the invasion personally I think they will wait until the other taskforce is down here eg the Bristol group and that is not until next Monday. We will just have to wait and see. We are getting news reports every day and keep on listening to the news.
16/05/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)
RAS fuel Head in to Fox Bay on a sneaky raid.
Sun 17/05/82 (Grahams
Diary)We returned to the main force by 10.30 this morning the weather is very calm and flat seas at the moment.
Nice to say it was another quiet day, and was able to get some sleep in the afternoon without any interruptions. Most of the other ships are here including the landing force I will write you a list of the ships here. Or that will be here at the start of the invasion.
We did another large RAS and gave me a chance to get some fresh air after being cooped up for a couple of days. Just after the RAS at about 23.45 one of the Hermes Sea Kings helicopters ditched. We picked up the survivors no one was hurt and lucky it was still calm but very very cold. Because the helicopter would of got in the way we were told to sink it, another one bites the dust. The good thing is we get mail tomorrow form Fearless who left the Ascensions about a week ago, so we should get some papers too. 60 Days at Sea today.
With Thanks to MEM(M)Andrew Devonportort HMS Hermes 82 HMS Brilliant 83
I currently work with a lad (ex-Lt) Nigel Porter, who was also on the Hermes as a Sea King pilot.
Nigel was ferrying (troops) to the islands under radio silence and the arrangement was to rendezvous with ‘mother’ on return at a pre-arranged co-ordinate. We (H) came under attack whilst he was away and had to ‘relocate’ following counter-measures. When Nigel returned to the pre-arranged location, very low on fuel and finding no ‘mother’, he was forced to break radio silence and request guidance from a passing Harrier CAP from Invincible. They advised him where to ditch and await rescue. He ditched his SK after running out of fuel with no serious casualties and spent 6 hours awaiting rescue. (This wasn’t your your rescue was it??)
For this he was hauled in front of Sandy W and received a severe bollocking! .
17/05/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)
Raid called off lights seen onshore taking SBS lads back to main group awaiting the arrival of Alacrity from her raid she is adrift and needs us for air cover as we will be in range of enemy aircraft come daylight.
Flying operations continued with the harrier and surface search tasking with BRILLIANT back in the main carrier group. The Amphibious Group with INTREPID and FEARLESS joined and a period of cross-decking took place in readiness for the landings. A Medivac was flown on May 19 to transfer an injured seaman form HERMES to the hospital ship UGANDA.