10/04/82 - 23/04/82


0400 Lat 01° 42′ 19 Long 16° 23′ 8 W 14Knots 160° Sea State 2323.5 miles
Today had to stop the ship in the water to do maintenance on the 1006 radar at the same time they fixed a CARL Gustav (anti tank weapon) to the pacific and endeavoured to sink an oil drum, nigh on impossible in that heavy sea, so they tried the LMG in the helicopter with better success. Mail we have been told is going off tomorrow morning at 0730 none incoming though.

Track south

Flight Log

11-14 April:   Transit South

As the situation continued to worsen in the Falklands and on the diplomatic front , the remaining five ships departed the Ascension Island area a number of days earlier than originally planned. As CTU 317.8.2, BRILLIANT led a silent high speed dash South without a tanker, in an attempt to ‘become lost’ in the South Atlantic.  . . .  . . ter   flying and other active exercises were kept to an absolute minimum to maintain  a passive posture; however towards the end of the period a number of ………………………… sorties were flown to give the force some measure of ……………………….. EA tanker re-routed from the Indian Ocean provided much needed fuel……………..rendezvous with RFA FORT AUSTIN, with Skua Lynx embarked plus a detachment form 815 Sqdn provided us with our OJT on Skua. The flight was also back to pilot strength with the addition of Lt Cdr J N Clark, formerly of the Lynx simulator, and the Ops team was reinforced by Lt Cdr R EDWARDS, formerly ARGOAUGHT  Flight Commander.

On 22 April , BRILLIANT detached to join the Antrim group and Operation PARAQUAT , relinquishing  the CTU duties to SHEFFIELD. XZ 721 (Skua) was exchanged with SHEFFIELD’s aircraft, as the expected role was briefed to be trooping and basic radar and ESM. By that evening the flight was prepared in all respects for the invasion of South Georgia.

11th April (Chris)

I wish I could tell you more about what’s happening but I really don’t know anything. There’s so many rumours flying around, but no-one, not even the Captain, really knows. We’ve just got to wait, keep our fingers crossed, and hope everything will be alright. As for what I think will happen when we get down to the Falklands I can’t say. It seems hard to believe we’ll go to war over it all, and when this blockade of the islands comes into force on Monday (tomorrow) something may be sorted out then. I hope so. I don’t want to be away from you for any longer than I have to, and the sooner this is all sorted out the better. I’m a bit apprehensive about the coming weeks, not knowing what will happen, but I’m not panicking. The worst thing is being away from you and worrying about our wedding.

11/04/82 (Bill)

0400 Lat 06° 57′ 79SLong 15° 12′ 68W 15Knots 120° Sea State 

3228.59 miles

Arrived Ascension island embarking stores and ammo, hammerhead sharks divers down, doing inspection



Photo Bill                                                                                         First view of Ascension Island

12/04/82 Steve Tinney (Taff) 

See  Crew Reflections to see why Steve joined at Ascension Monday 12th April.


The first person I seen on Asscension was our pilot walking across the tarmac, ” Hello boss come to pick us up then”, ” Afraid not, I’m no longer on Brilliant, sorry”. So we had to wait for our Lynx to come in for us, I was surprised to see the ship was painted grey all over as we came in to land. 

Once onboard Paddy Davidson was waiting to welcome me back and bring me up to date with the situation onboard. Whilst I was putting my kit in the cabin, I noticed a lot of hairy faced, long haired Ships Company walking around, the First Lieutenant being one of them, He asked why I had shaved my set off? I told him what the Reg Office had said, He laughed and told me to grow it back as he didn’t want me scaring the younger lads, ( cheeky b…..d I thought). I also found out that we were on food rationing and that my first meal would be mash potatoes and mushy peas. So good to be back!!!!!!!

Photo Kirk                                                                  HMS Antrim, Sheffield and Coventry of Ascension Island

Photo Mark Offord                                                            Sailing south with Coventry 13/04/82

Photo Kirk                                                            Sailing south with Coventry 13/04/82

14/04/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)

0400 Lat 07° 50′ 26SLong 15° 08′ 72W 10Knots 125° Sea State 2

204.04 miles

Brilliant i/c ordered South at 25 knots along with Glasgow, Sheffield, Coventry and Arrow. We were also issued with Dog Tags and a Morphine Ampoule, started to think this is getting serious..

14/04/82 Bill

Sailed from Ascension with Glasgow Sheffield Arrow and Coventry proceeded at 25 knots to a position 1200 miles south of Ascension island.

Photo Mark Offord                                                                    Coventry and Sheffield astern

Photo Mark Offord                                                                                          HMS Arrow

15/04/82 (Bill)

0400 Lat 10° 0′ 32 Long 16° 03′ 96 W 12Knots 110° Sea State 2
557.47 miles
Were on the move again, looks as though we’re going to beat the main body at the 25 knots were travelling its more than likely. Yesterday we saw one of those bear Russian surveillance aircraft, probably telling Argentina who and how many are where. I’m not supposed to tell you where we are going but I’m dammed if you’re not going to know where I am. We’re razzing with the Fort Austin who will take our mail back to Ascension Island sometime these next few days.


16/4/82 (Bill)

0400 Lat 18° 49′ 62 Long 20° 51′ 04 W 15Knots 147° Sea State 2
RAS with Fort Austin offloaded WE 177A (1) live boosted fission weapon 0.5-10 KT NDB (Nuclear Depth Bomb) second (training weapon) offloaded 3rd of June Fort Austin (Source MOD)16 April 1982 rendezvoused with RFA TIDESPRING for a fuel transfer and to transfer food, ammunition and the SAS/SBS teams to the destroyer HMS ANTRIM and the frigate HMS PLYMOUTH and to transfer a full RN Surgical Support Team to RFA TIDESPRING in preparation for the retaking of South Georgia

Fort Austin Log

16 April 1982 rendezvoused with TG 317.8/11 consisting of the destroyers HMS’s COVENTRY, GLAMORGAN, GLASGOW and SHEFFIELD and the frigates HMS’s ARROW and BRILLIANT which was also joined by RFA APPLELEAF(3). Razzed with HMS BRILLIANT
21 April 1982 arrived back at Ascension Island to re store
23 April 1982 sailed Ascension Island to rejoin the Carrier Battle Group
26 April 1982 entered the TEZ (Total Exclusion Zone) around the Falkland Islands
3 May 1982 rejoined the Carrier Battle Group
4 May 1982 embarked 170 survivors and the Lynx helicopter from the stricken destroyer HMS SHEFFIELD after the Exocet attack on her
9 May 1982 RASed with HMS HERMES
16 May 1982 recovered a number of Special Forces and their equipment which had been parachuted into the South Atlantic from a Hercules transport aircraf

Operation Corporate The Carriage of nuclear weapons assembled by the task group for the Falklands campaign – MOD


16/04/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)
Still heading South, R.A.S Stores and ammo from Fort Austin, it went into the early hours and we had so much Ammo that it was lashed down everywhere and anywhere (safety regulations went right out of the window that’s for sure). Did not appear to R.A.S much food???

17/04/82 Steve Tinney (Taff)
New Rules of Engagement issued!!!!!! Any ship/ Aircraft within 25 miles is a Target.

18/04/82 (Bill)
Gone into State 2 condition Yankee I’ve been landed with Yankee patrol 12 Hrs / Day day

18/04/82 (Chris)
0400 Lat 25° 02′ 3SLong 24° 54′ 08W 15Knots 340° Sea State 2

Well my love, I don’t suppose you’ll get this letter for quite a while, as we’ve been told mail won’t be going off for quite some time and I don’t know how long that will be. I’m afraid I can’t say what we’re doing now or for the next few days as mail may be censored. I do know, but I’ll not say anything in case this letter goes off earlier than expected.
It must be awful for you at home, waiting for letters or news, not knowing what’s going on or where I am. I send letters off every chance I get but still you’re going to have such long waits in between letters. I wish I could re-assure you more often that I’m o.k. and that everything will be alright but we’re just not going to get the chance.

19/04/82 (Grahams Diary)
0400 Lat 29° 42′ 42SLong 27° 45′ 69W 20Knots 173° Sea State 4
278 miles
At about 15.00 we had a fire in in one of the Port engines it was successfully put out with little damage. Expecting rough weather have even been told to expect icebergs and constant storms. We will probably make our way to the Falklands with the main force South Georgia is looking favorite. News does not seem to promising, final comment was that time was running out.

19/04/82 (Chris)
0700.We’ve started a 6 hour on, 6 hour off routine now we’re starting to get closer to the Falklands. You know, I’m still finding it hard to believe that all this is actually happening to us, that we’re being kept apart in this way. You may have gathered that my opinion of the “Argies” has dropped somewhat. They’re keeping us apart and may force us to miss our wedding, so you can imagine I’m not too impressed with them at the moment to say the least!

19/04/82 (Steve)
On watch when Tyne caught fire, it was soon put out, no major damage. Other ships in company are also having snags!!!
Reached 40 degrees South and awaiting fuel from tanker.

20/04/82 (Bill)
1400 Nautical miles East of the River Plate
12.32 342 Airbourne surface search
0400 Lat 33° 32′ 54SLong 30° 49′ 11W 5Knots 145° Sea State 3
318.3 miles
Contacted surface ship / submarine by helicopter came back loaded with torpedoes and went with orders to sink it if it were found to be a contact was firstly asked to identify itself (switched its lights off) found to be a trawler.

Tue 20/05/82 (Grahams Diary)
We are still heading South the weather today is not bad, Two albatross have been following us all day I hope it is a good omen. Wish the main force was with us with their air cover we are still two days ahead of them. We are really on a sneaky beaky, nobody knows where we are and how far South we are. Its not so tense now we are allowed some time off every other watch to play cards and read some books and maybe watch a film if there is one. I spend a lot of time thinking about home and everybody. Gail is always on my mind when I’m awake and in my dreams. That’s another thing my dreams seem so real until I’m awoken into the existence we are living at the moment. A lot of people are beginning to flash up because of the tension and uncertainty of what may happen./>”The lull before the Storm” racing to an early grave.

21/04/82 (Bill) 

0400 Lat 38° 22′ 40 S Long 33° 0′ 70 20Knots 285° Sea State 2

264.2 miles

Hanging around here Invincible steaming north to RAS with omega to replenish aviation fuel , Randy,s down in the dumps.

21/04/82 Steve (Taff)
Brilliant ordered to detach South at 25 knots to assist Antrim, Plymouth Endurance and RFA Tidespring in the retaking of South Georgia. the group will be landing SAS,SBS< and Royal Marines. Argintine Sub Santa -Fe known to be in the area, so we are going silent and in Defence Watches. May come across Ice tonight???????


21/04/82 (Grahams Diary)
Russian AGIs in the area keeping silent all the way as we transit South hoping that the Russians have not detected us as they will inform the Argentine Navy of our whereabouts, we are still on a sneaky beaky. We reached the rendevous position 40 00 S 38 00 W at 1200hrs The wind got up during the day but has calmed down a bit now no sickness yet. We are now waiting for the main force before we move South again they are 4.5 days away and they will have mail for us hopefully I’m glad to say the Albatross are still with us. We have started a set growing contest in the mess, just call me scurves. We have got a Raz this morning and if not this morning it will be tomorrow. The Argentine Navy is spotted off there coast not as close to us as expected

22/04/82 (Bill)
0400 Lat 39° 27′ 30 Long 34° 58′ 10 W 18Knots 320° Sea State 2
212 miles
Raz with Appleleaf 0906
Buzz that Falklands being invaded 1st of May ,ordered to sail South alone. 

22/04/82 (Chris)
Hello again my love. Thursday’s almost over now and I’m feeling a bit let down at the moment. We’d been told that when the aircraft carriers caught up with us that we’d be getting mail on board, probably on Monday, but now we’ve had orders to sail south – alone – so we won’t be getting mail for who knows how long.

22/04/82 (Grahams Diary)
Lucky we had a RAS this morning we have just been detached by ourselves to go down to South Georgia to rendezvous with Antrim Plymouth and RFA Tidespring who are already down there. They have lost two helicopters so require our two helo’s with what we think an invasion of the island The SAS and SBS are down there also. So we are heading South into a force nine now, I’m not affected at the moment but don’t know how much sleep we will get as we are bouncing all over the place. Its getting pretty cold as well and we can expect it to get worse, we have another three and a half days until we get there, still no one knows where we are no mail coming on or off for a long time, Sorry Gay Gay ? I love you.

RFA Tidespring

23/04/82 (Bill)
0400 Lat 42° 08′ 0SLong 35° 23′ 06W 12Knots 210° Sea State 4
426.8 mile
Skipper just broadcast that we are being detached to go and help Antrim and Plymouth on South Georgia Two Wessex helicopters have had to be ditched as they hit a blizzard and crash landed in the snow They will use our two Lynx. Weather here is lumpy but warm Weather is Supposed to get interesting as the skipper calls it We are going away from the South Westerly warm current that goes down the East coast of Brazil Now traveling at 20 Knots to get to South Georgia at 0800 tomorrow morning will have to slow down when we reach the ice. This isn’t really all that bad news since there are no planes ships or subs to worry about(don’t have to worry about getting sunk) Albatross have been flying with us for the past few days + smaller type of bird all black (a good omen I hope)


Wessex Helicopter crash on the glacier Transporting SAS, South Georgia

Craig McDermott                                                                       Barograph Trace HMS Antrim

23/04/82 Steve (Taff)
Met up with Antrim and others, still 200 miles from South Georgia, need to RAS Fuel from Tidespring. It has got much colder over the 24 hours, did not sleep well last night(Very much on edge).