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WEEK SEVEN, British Task Force Movements 10th-16th May 1982

HMS Cardiff

on to 28. Pebble Island Raid by SAS


Summary of British Ships & Aircraft Departing

Royal Navy
Active, Cmdr P C B Canter RN
Avenger, Capt H M White RN
Andromeda, Capt J L Weatherall RN
Bristol, Capt A Grose RN
Cardiff, Capt M G T Harris RN
Minerva, Cmdr S H G Johnston RN
Penelope, Cmdr P V Rickard RN

Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Engadine, Capt D F Freeman RFA
Fort Grange, Capt D G M Averill CBE RFA
Olna, Capt J A Bailey RFA

Merchant Ships
Atlantic Causeway, Capt M H C Twomey and NP 1990, Cmdr R P Seymour RN
Balder London, Capt K J Wallace
Queen Elizabeth 2, Capt P Jackson and NP 1980, Capt N C H James RN
Wimpey Seahorse, Capt M J Slack (awarded OBE) and NP 2000

No.824 C Flt - 3 Sea King HAS.2A's, Fort Grange
No.847 A Flt - 4 Wessex HU.5's, Engadine
No.848 B Flt - 2 Wessex HU.5's, Olna
No.845 C Flt - 2 replacement Wessex HU.5's at Ascension, Tidespring

8 Sea King HAS.2A's of No.825 and 20 Wessex HU.5's of No.847 on Atlantic Causeway
2 Sea King HAS.2A's of No.825 on Queen Elizabeth 2

Task Force Departures from Monday 10th May - The week saw the departure of the first (and the last) major sea and land reinforcements, starting on Monday with the "Bristol" group of ships which hurried down in two weeks. Type 82 destroyer "Bristol" and RFA fleet tanker "Olna" left from Portsmouth and type 21 frigates "Active" and "Avenger", and Leanders "Andromeda", "Minerva" and "Penelope" from Devonport. On Wednesday, type 42 "Cardiff" departed Gibraltar following a Persian Gulf patrol and by Friday had joined the group. RFA helicopter support ship "Engadine" also sailed from Devonport at the same time as the "Bristol" ships but made her own way via Gibraltar carrying four Wessex. The remaining 20 Wessex from reformed No.847 NAS and eight No.825 Sea Kings followed on Friday in RO-RO container ship "Atlantic Causeway" after her conversion to helicopter ship complete with flightdeck and hangar.

On Wednesday 12th, an even more important departure was the bulk of 5th Infantry Brigade on "Queen Elizabeth 2" from Southampton direct for South Georgia. Then on Friday, RFA fleet replenishment ship "Fort Grange" headed out from Devonport, followed on Sunday by offshore support vessel "Wimpey Seahorse" following earlier work on her at Rosyth. More tanker movements also took place with "Balder London" sailing from Portsmouth, RFA "Brambleleaf" getting in to Portland later in the week for repairs to the damage received off South Georgia, and "British Tamar" reaching Gibraltar on Friday to reload.

Ascension - As "Leeds Castle" headed on south, "Dumbarton Castle" arrived to begin her duties as a despatch vessel. Arriving on Wednesday 12th from the other direction with the South Georgia POW's was RFA "Tidespring" and escorting frigate "Antelope". After "Tidespring" picked up two replacement Wessex, she and "Antelope" headed back south over the weekend, hardly a week before the frigate's end. On Saturday in a record-breaking flight of 19 hours and 8,300 miles, an RAF Nimrod crewed by 201 Sqdn reconnoitred the Argentine coast for any warships that might threaten the approaching Task Force, but on Sunday the Vulcan "Black Buck 3" raid on Stanley was cancelled.

South Atlantic - RFA fleet replenishment ship "Regent" joined the carriers and around the end of the week, submarine "Valiant" (and "Courageous"?) arrived to start patrolling off the Argentine coast. To the north of Stanley, the Red Cross Box came into operation with the arrival of hospital ship "Uganda" on Tuesday 11th followed three days later by ambulance ship "Hecla", the first of the three to arrive. Off to the east of the Falklands, tug "Salvageman" arrived in the TRALA where she was shortly joined by repair ship "Stena Seaspread" which just now reached South Georgia. And that Sunday the bulk of 3 Cdo Bde caught up with the LSL Group only five days from the landings at San Carlos.

Transport "Elk" and one of the two assault ships, hull pennant number painted out. (Courtesy - MOD, Navy)


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


UK Departures
RFA Engadine, Fort Grange
Transport Atlantic Causeway
Tanker Balder London
Mooring ship Wimpey Seahorse


UK Arrival
RFA Brambleleaf

Gibraltar Arrival
Tanker British Tamar


Ships on Passage - Central Atlantic

Queen Elizabeth 2
Transports Baltic Ferry, Nordic Ferry

DD Bristol, Cardiff
FR Active, Avenger, Andromeda, Minerva, Penelope
RFA Olna

Ships and Aircraft in Ascension Area

RAF Aircraft
Harrier GR.3's, Vulcans, Nimrods, Victors, Hercules, VC.10's, Sea King, Chinook

Other Ships at Ascension or Reaching the Area on the Way South
DD Exeter
Fr Ambuscade
LSL Sir Bedivere
MCMS Cordella, Farnella, Junella, Northella, Pict
Despatch vessels Leeds Castle, Dumbarton Castle, Iris
Tankers British Avon, RFA Bayleaf
Transports Lycaon, Saxonia

Fr Antelope, RFA tidespring (returning to South Atlantic)

Support Tankers in South Atlantic or in Tanker Holding Areas
RFA Appleleaf, Pearleaf, Plumleaf
Anco charger, British Dart, British Esk, British Tay, British Test, British Trent, British Wye
Water tanker Fort Toronto


Boat on Passage - South Atlantic
SS Onyx

3 Commando Brigade and Amphibious Group Ships
Assault ships Fearless, Intrepid
RFA Stromness, Tidepool
Transports Atlantic Conveyor, Canberra, Elk, Europic Ferry, Norland
FR Ardent, Argonaut

joins up with LSL Group
Sir Galahad, Sir Geraint, Sir Lancelot, Sir Percivale, Sir Tristram
DD Antrim, FR Plymouth

Red Cross Box
Hospital ship Uganda
Ambulance ship Hecla

TRALA - Tug, Repair & Logistic Area
Tug Salvageman

Carrier Battle Group
CV Hermes, Invincible
DD Glamorgan, Coventry, Glasgow
FR Alacrity, Arrow, Brilliant, Broadsword, Yarmouth
RFA Fort Austin, Olmeda, Regent, Resource
with SBS and SAS

Submarine Force
SSN Conqueror, Courageous? Spartan, Splendid, Valiant

South Georgia
IPV Endurance
RMAS Typhoon
RFA Blue Rover
Repair ship Stena Seaspread
M Coy 42 Cdo RM


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revised 31/5/13