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WEEK NINE, British Task Force Movements, 24th-30th May 1982

Tug "Salvageman" at South Georgia

on to 37, "Coventry" & "Atlantic Conveyor" sunk


Disposition of British Ships, Aircraft & Land Forces, including those Departing

UK Departures
Scottish Eagle, Capt A Terras and NP 2040
British Enterprise III, Capt D Grant and NP 2090, Lt Cmdr B E M Reynell RN

Ships and Aircraft in Ascension Area
Ships Returning to UK
Tankers British Avon, British Esk
RAF Aircraft
Phantoms of No.29(F) Sqdn, Harrier GR.3's, Vulcans, Nimrods, Victors, Hercules, VC.10's, Sea King, Chinook
RAF Harriers on Way South
Arriving GR.3's of 1(F) Sqdn
Other Ships at Ascension or Reaching the Area on the Way South
RFA's Engadine, Fort Grange
Tankers Alvega (base storage), Balder London
Mooring vessels RMAS Goosander, Wimpey Seahorse

Support Tankers in South Atlantic or in Tanker Holding Areas
RFA's Appleleaf, Bayleaf, Pearleaf, Plumleaf
Anco Charger, British Dart, British Tay (sails for Ascension), British Test, British Trent, British Wye (attacked at 48S, 39W), Eburna
Water tanker Fort Toronto

Departing South Atlantic
? SSN Splendid
DD Glasgow

Arriving in South Atlantic
DD Bristol, Cardiff
FR Active, Avenger, Andromeda, Minerva, Penelope
RFA Olna, Tidespring
Transport Atlantic Causeway
5th Infantry Brigade Equipment - Transports Baltic Ferry, Nordic Ferry

RCB - Red Cross Box
Hospital ship Uganda; Ambulance ships Herald, Hydra, Hecla (to Montevideo)

TRALA - Tug, Repair & Logistic Area
Repair ship Stena Seaspread; Tugs Irishman, Salvageman, Yorkshireman

Part 37: 24th-26th May - Falkland Area Operations
Part 39: 27th-30th May - Falkland Area Operations

Submarine Force
SSN Conqueror, Courageous? Spartan, Valiant, SS Onyx

In and Around South Georgia Waters
IPV Endurance; Minesweepers Cordella, Farnella, Junella, Northella, Pict; RFA Blue Rover
RMAS Typhoon; Transports Saxonia, Lycaon; Despatch vessels Iris, Leeds Castle
M Coy 42 Cdo
At time of transfer of 5th Infantry Brigade
Transport Queen Elizabeth 2; Transports Canberra, Norland, RFA Stromness

Ascension - More ships passed by or called in on their way south including RFA's "Engadine" and "Fort Grange" and mooring vessel "Wimpey Seahorse", but now two tankers headed back for the UK to reload. On Monday 24th it was "British Avon" after picking up Lt Cmdr Astiz, and then on Wednesday, over-crowded "British Esk" which first got in with more then 260 "Sheffield" survivors who flew on home. Apart from all the usual RAF activity, two Phantom fighters of 29(F) Sqdn flew down on Monday from Coningsby, followed on Wednesday by a third to take over air defence from the three Harriers. These in turn were joined over the weekend by six more GR.3's from Wittering before later continuing south. Then late on Friday in "Black Buck 4", and with the usual Victor support, a Vulcan armed with Shrike anti-radar missiles took off to attack the Stanley command and control radars. Refuelling problems stopped the mission, but late on Sunday, "Black Buck 5" went ahead successfully.

South Atlantic - By Wednesday morning (26th), the "Bristol" group had joined the Task Force to more than make up for the ships lost. With "Bristol" herself were type 42 "Cardiff", type 21 frigates "Active" and "Avenger", and Leander's "Minerva", "Penelope" and Sea Wolf-armed "Andromeda". Some of them screened the carriers by day, and by night bombarded Argentine positions or escorted transports to and from San Carlos Water. RFA fleet tanker "Olna" arrived with them to start refuelling duties, and she was joined by RFA "Tidespring" at last back from her South Georgia mission. Finally by the end of the week, support ship "Atlantic Causeway" had arrived with her much needed Sea King and Wessex helicopters.

Now the first warships returned north. With the arrival of "Cardiff", damaged "Glasgow" was patched up by "Stena Seaspread" and sailed on Thursday 27th with engines under manual control. Also around this time, nuclear submarine "Splendid" presumably left her patrol area to get home by the second week in June. On Friday, tanker "British Tay" with survivors from "Atlantic Conveyor" headed first for Ascension, but all this time there was still the danger of attack. Not content with flying supplies into Stanley and refuelling air strikes, FAA Grupo 1 Hercules made the only apparent attempt to cut British supply lines. On Saturday a single C-130 dropped eight bombs on "British Wye" to the north of South Georgia. One hit, but bounced into the sea without exploding and the tanker continued her lonely refuelling duties.

The Red Cross Box was particularly active and early in the week, "Hydra" sailed to the east to pick up San Carlos casualties from "Canberra" for transfer to "Uganda", and "Herald" finally arrived after having diverted to Rio de Janeiro to land a sick crewman. Later, "Hecla" headed for Montevideo with the first British and Argentine casualties for repatriation, and "Uganda" moved closer in to pick up the wounded from the Goose Green battle. The TRALA was also in business, with both "Glasgow" and "Brilliant" there, and the ships in residence were joined from Tristan da Cunha by "Irishman" and "Yorkshireman".

South Georgia - "Endurance" played host to probably the largest tonnage of shipping the island had ever seen, with most there to meet "Queen Elizabeth 2" which could not be risked closer to the Falkland's. Before her arrival, "Canberra" (with "Ardent's survivors), "Norland" (with "Antelope's") and destroyer "Antrim" left the TEZ on Tuesday 25th, and RFA "Stromness" (with "Coventry's") followed them from San Carlos Water. On the same day, despatch vessel "Iris" reached Grytviken from Ascension with Lt Mills RM and his men for "Endurance", and loaded scrap steel from the whaling stations for delivery to the TRALA. Other arrivals there to help transfer the troops from "QE2" were despatch vessel "Leeds Castle" from the TEZ and the five minesweeping trawlers of the 11th MCMS.

North east of South Georgia on Thursday 27th, "Antrim" picked up General Moore and Brigadier Wilson before heading back for "Fearless", and "QE2" continued on into Cumberland Bay East. Over the next 24 hours, the Scots and Welsh Guards moved to "Canberra" and the Gurkhas to "Norland", and on Friday, "Stromness" arrived to take on board more troops, together with ammo and Rapiers from the newly-arrived transport "Lycaon". When the transfers were completed, including the two No.825 Sea Kings from "QE2" to "Canberra", the Falkland's bound ships departed. "Queen Elizabeth 2" then headed back north on Saturday with the survivors. "Leeds Castle" followed her but only as far as Ascension to take over as guardship. And in a week that saw 3 Cdo Bde moving out of San Carlos Water, 2 Para's victory at Goose Green and the battle for air supremacy being won, transports "Baltic Ferry" and "Nordic Ferry" approached the Falklands direct with helicopters and equipment for 5th Inf Bde.

HMS Cardiff, one of the "Bristol" Group joined
the Task Group in Week 9 (Courtesy - MOD, Navy)
  Lieutenant Colonel J F Rickett OBE, commanding officer,
1st Welsh Guards, which now reached South Georgia
(Courtesy - Brigadier J F Ricketts)

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revised 31/5/13