Friday, 8 June 2012

8 June 1982, Going round and round in squares.

Log Book entry:  Surface search 4.15 hours

So at first light we get airborne and starting at the datum point of the airdrop commence the longest expanding square search of my life.  The sea was quite rough so being able to see anything like a half awash or even broken up stores crate was not going to be easy. Even so we did find at least one or maybe two of the missing  stores packages but the SAS guys never got their full complement of stuff.  By the time we got back on deck I could hardly stand.  You would have thought that at £4 million a copy Westlands could have designed a helicopter that didn't cripple you with back pain after a couple of hours.
By now the ship was full of SF clothing drying out.  The Marine Engineer Officer wasn't too amused when the stuff they hung up in the engine room to dry out included ammunition which promptly fell out and ended up in the bilges.  Knowing how much they all loved being in a grey Pussers War Canoe, we told them that if we went to action stations they should all come up to the hangar where we had stowed their personal weapons and they could help us take pot shots at the enemy.  That afternoon on the way in to San Carlos exactly that happened.  I have never seen such a diverse number of weird looking rifles, grenade launchers and the like.  Luckily it was a false alarm.
In hindsight being delayed in delivering our new chums may have been a blessing in disguise because while Bob and I were going cross eyed looking for stuff in the water the Argies had another serious go at us ashore.  HMS Plymouth was hit by four bombs but survived.  Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram were hit in Fitzroy with a horrible loss of life.  Despite all the subsequent explanations I still cannot understand why the idiot in command didn't get them ashore while it was still dark.  We also lost a landing craft but on the plus side three A4s were shot down.  We were beginning to wonder how many of the damn things they had.  So that evening we anchored in Bomb Alley for the first time.  More tomorrow on another busy day....

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