HMS Fearless Falklands 40th Anniversary Book - HMS Fearless - Falklands War

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Foreword

    The foreword is written by the former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones GCB DL  who, as a Sub Lieutenant in Fearless, became the First Lieutenant of the requisitioned Motor Vessel Monsunen which attempted to rescue the stricken Landing Craft Foxtrot Four, before it sank on the 8th June 1982.
    This year marks the 40th anniversary of the campaign to repossess the Falkland  Islands. It was largest British amphibious operation since D Day in World War 2.

    The Ship’s Company of HMS FEARLESS, command ship at the amphibious landings in San Carlos Water, has produced a record of their role in the operation. It includes contributions from the  Captain Jeremy Larken DSO to the most junior 16-year-old seaman. It is a remarkable story in many ways, from the preparation of the ship before sailing, to an astonishing homecoming marked by cheering crowds and a grateful nation.

    The book is liberally illustrated with pictures, many published for the first time. This is not just a record of tactics and dry statistics: it gives vivid accounts of young men under fire growing up fast, seeing part of their force sunk by enemy action. Many have contributed previously unpublished memories and anecdotes. It also examines the practical problems and political pressures encountered in any combined service operation.
    Image of free DVD
    A FREE DVD WILL BE INCLUDED WITH EACH BOOK entitled "A Sailors Story of The Falklands War" by Captain John Kelly.

    All profits from the book will be equally divided between three charities:

    The Falklands Veterans Foundation (FVF) to maintain the Liberty Lodge in Port Stanley for the benefit of the returning bereaved, veterans and their families.

    The Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel (FIMC) Trust at Pangborne College for the benefit of the bereaved, veterans and their families.

    The Trinity House Maritime Charity for the education, support and welfare of mariners and their dependants.
    Read extracts from the book
    Foxtrot 4
    Image HMS Fearless in Portsmouth
    Leaving Portsmouth with 4 LCUs - “only 3 of which were to return”....what happened?
    HMS Sheffield
    HMS Sheffield
    All this damage done by an Exocet which did not explode.......why?
    HMS Antelope
    Antelope prior to exploding
    Antelope anchored in San Carlos Water 300 yards from Fearless with two Unexploded Bombs (UXBs) onboard.
    Lieutenant Ricardo Lucero
    Fearless near miss
    Fearless was the only ship to have shot down and rescued the same pilot, that had attacked her.
    Goose Green
    At Goose Green again
    2 Para with 690 men defeat an enemy force of 1200 taking 961 prisoners.
    LSL Sir Galahad
    Galahad on fire
    LSL Sir Galahad and Tristram were not bombed until six hours after their arrival at Fitzroy.
    Fearless at anchor San Carlos Bay

    About HMS Fearless

    HMS Fearless (L10) served from 1965 until 2002.  She was the first of two purpose–built amphibious assault ships, designed to land troops from sea by landing craft and helicopter.  Equipped with an internal dock accessed via a stern gate, the latter could be lowered in port to allow vehicles to drive into the internal vehicle decks. At sea, her ballast tanks were filled to lower the ship partially by the stern in order to flood the dock, which allowed her 4 larger landing craft (LCUs) to enter and  exit via the lowered stern gate.  Up to 5 troop carrying helicopters could  be operated from her flight deck, while 4 smaller landing craft (LCVPs) were launched and recovered from davits on the superstructure.
    Fearless was designed to carry an embarked force of 400 troops plus the staffs of the Commodore Amphibious Warfare and the Commanding Officer  3rd Commando Brigade.  On sailing to the Falklands, in addition to her own ship’s company, she had never less than 1200 embarked and peaked at over 1700 for 48 hours before the landings in San Carlos.
    Foxtrot 4

    "On 8 June 1982 HMS Fearless Landing Craft Utility F4 was transporting Army personnel and equipment from Goose Green to Fitzroy in the East Falklands. It was attacked by 2 Argentinian Air Force Skyhawk aircraft.  Six crewmen died and there were 11 survivors.  F4 was last sighted many hours later at 0640 on 9th June further out to sea.  An accurate timing and position of the attack is established within the book, in a 5,000 word  paper which has only been published previously by limited subscription. It analyses the events from the time of the attack, over the next 7 hours and 25 minutes,including the rescue of survivors and attempted salvage by MV Monsunen, until F4 was abandoned.”

    Foxtrot 4
    Sheffield on fire
    HMS Sheffield
    Look carefully and you can see, although the Exocet punched a hole midships  through her starboard  side, she was very  largely still intact after the attack.

    Her Captain Sam Salt explained to our Captain, Cdr(E) John McGregor and myself a few days later what had happened when he came over by jackstay, while we were refueling from the RFA taking his crew back to Ascension.

    HMS Antelope

    The attacking pilot had flown so low through her mast shearing off his wing tip before crashing into the sea, that the two 1000ibs bombs had insufficient time to arm before they struck the ship.
    We had only two experienced Royal Engineer Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) experts within San Carlos Water. They had already defused UXBs successfully in Antrim and Argonaut. After two attempts in Antelope, they were returning for a third when, tragically, the UXBs exploded; one was killed instantly, the other seriously injured.                               

    Discover then, how men from Fearless and the Fleet Clearance Diving Team, neither qualified or experienced in EOD, devised a way to remove UXBs safely from other ships.    

    Antelope exploding
    Ricardo Lucero

    Lieutenant Ricardo Lucero

    Fearless was the only ship to have shot down and rescued the same pilot, that had attacked her. His bomb just missed, falling into the water 30 yards off our port bow.
    We shot him down with a 1940s vintage 40/60mm Bofors gun, manned by 3 seventeen year old Able Seamen; none of whom had been born when it was made.
    He parachuted into the water 300 yards from Fearless, as his abandoned A4 SkyHawk crashed and sank. We rescued him by landing craft, patched up his dislocated kneecap and ensured his safe return to Argentina.
    29 years later, four us tried to meet  him while visiting Buenos Aires.
    Read how he describes his attack on Fearless and how he was treated onboard.
     
    Lieutenant Lucero was a brave man….
    At Goose Green

    Goose Green

    The 114 inhabitants of Goose Green had been locked up together for 30 days, irrespective of gender ranging from 80 plus to a baby, with only one lavatory and two washbasins to share between them.

    Fearless gave them much needed medical assistance, food including freshly baked bread and whisky, for which her crew was  later awarded the  Honorary Freedom of Goose Green.

    Galahad on fire

    LSL Sir Galahad

    The Welsh Guards should not have stayed onboard as they did. If the unloading had started a few hours earlier, as was ordered and ignored, not only would people’s lives have been saved, but valuable ammunition and other stores would have been available to the troops.
       
    In the North, two RFAs were running a similarly unescorted shuttle delivery service through Salvador Water.
     In a complex situation, you have to take chances. We needed to get the troops forward to keep the whole momentum of the battle going, and there was tremendous political pressure

    Images from the conflict, some of which appear in the book. Click on the image to enlarge.

    Crew of HMS Fearless

    Young crew.jpg

    Land battles map of the Falklands War

    Map.jpg

    The Atlantic Conveyor

    Atlantic conveyor.jpg

    The Atlantic conveyor after being hit by an Exocet missile

    Atlantic conveyor after.jpg

    Sandbags filled at Ascension Island were used to protect improvised GPMG positions

    Machine gun.jpg

    None of the 18 year olds on Fearless were born when this 1940s vintage Bofors gun was made

    bofors.jpg

    HMS Fearless diving team

    divers.jpg

    HMS Glamorgan undergoing repairs after being hit by an Exocet missile

    glamorgan.jpg

    The crew of HMS Antelope arriving on Fearless shortly before two unstable bombs exploded and destroyed their ship

    Antelope crew.jpg

    HMS Coventry bombed and on fire, before sinking

    Coventry.jpg

    The sinking of the General Belgrano

    belgrano.jpg

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