Friday, 22 June 2012

10 September 1982

Home at last.

As we approached Plymouth we were given three cheers by Eurylas as she steamed past.  Quite moving.

Our Penguin which some of the lads made and put on top of the Sea Wolf launcher.

Mum entering Plymouth sound.  We were in company with Avenger and Penelope, the last three ships back.  Plymouth were having a festival of the sea that weekend and made our entrance one of the highlights.  Plymouth Hoe was absolutely packed.

We really wanted to come alongside with the ship but had to fly back to Portland.  All three Lynx flew past the frigates and around the corner of the Hamoaze past the dockyard where all the families were waiting on the dock.  I swear to this day I could hear them cheering from inside the cockpit.

Sometimes the more you want something to happen the longer it seems to take.  We sailed for the Bahamas on the 31 December 1981 and apart from five days at home had been at see continuously for the whole year.  The ship had done 138 days at sea with no support - a record for a steam frigate.  When we got back to Portland - 3 Lynx in formation, Fiona said she knew which one was us as we were so far away from then other two - I never liked flying in close formation with another helicopter and was damned if I was going to make a mistake now.  For months I had dreamed of the moment when the rotors stopped for the last time and finally  it happened.

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