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SURRENDER, VICTORY and Part of the PRICE PAID (Parts 50-55)


VC-10 in which many flew home from Ascension

on to 52. British Ships lost


By the time of the surrender, a number of ships were already well on their way north or had reached the UK, including nuclear submarine "Splendid", destroyer "Glasgow", frigates "Alacrity" and "Argonaut", RFA "Fort Austin", some of the BP tankers and the "Queen Elizabeth 2" to her great welcome. Although more ships would soon follow, a first priority was to start getting the land forces home as soon as "Canberra" and "Norland" had played their part in taking the large number of Argentine POW's off Britain's hands and back to their homeland. First to leave were 3 Cdo Bde and the attached Paras, with 5th Infantry staying on (most of 2nd Scots Guards moved to West Falkland) until the arrival of the first garrison troops, 1st Battalion, The Queen's Own Highlanders who reached the Falklands in mid-July on "Norland":


3 Commando Brigade

40 Cdo, 42 Cdo and Z Coy 45 Cdo on "Canberra", departed on 25th June from Falklands and arrived Southampton on 11th July

45 Cdo including X and Y Coy on RFA "Stromness", late June from Falklands. Arrived Ascension 7th/8th July and flew home by VC.10, landing near Arbroath on the 8th and 9th July

M Coy 42 Cdo on "Nordic Ferry", 8th July from South Georgia. Arrived Ascension and flew to RAF St Mawgan

2 and 3 Para on "Norland", 25th June from Falklands. Arrived Ascension 5th July and flew by VC.10 to Brize Norton on 6th July


5th Infantry Brigade

2nd Scots and 1st Welsh Guards on "Norland", c19th July from Falklands. Arrived Ascension and flew by VC.10 to Brize Norton on 29th July.

1/7th Gurkha Rifles on "Uganda", 18th July from Falklands and arrived Southampton on 9th August.


Ships and Aircraft

Some ships sadly would not be returning - destroyers "Coventry" and "Sheffield", frigates "Antelope" and "Ardent", LSL "Sir Galahad" and the "Atlantic Conveyor" - but by the end of August, most of the others had left the Falklands area (some later made a second trip) to be replaced by a smaller number of destroyers and frigates and other vessels mostly on their first journey south. Amongst these were four merchantmen, two minesweepers and their support ship "St Helena" all of which which sailed from the UK before the surrender. MCMS "Brecon" and "Ledbury" arrived in early July to relieve the five minesweeping trawlers, and spent the next five weeks hunting for any ground mines laid by the Argentines, none of which were found.

Of the major warships, assault ships "Fearless" and "Intrepid" set sail a week and a half after the surrender, and arrived at Portsmouth on the 14th July after first unloading Marines and Sea Kings of No.846 NAS at Devonport. As for the carriers, until the arrival of the RAF Phantoms at Stanley, only their Harriers could provide much of the air defence still needed by the Falklands. Following the surrender, "Invincible's" first priority was to sail well clear to the north, escorted by frigate "Andromeda" in order to change a main engine. "Hermes" remained behind until "Invincible" was back, and on the 4th July sailed with escort "Broadsword" for Portsmouth, arriving on the 21st to another great welcome. Well before then, on the 2nd July, Admiral Woodward was relieved as Task Group commander by Rear Admiral Reffell flying his flag on destroyer "Bristol".

But there was no relief for "Invincible" which had to await the arrival of newly-commissioned sister ship "Illustrious" carrying a reformed No.809 Sea Harrier squadron and the first early airborne warning Sea Kings. Reaching the Falklands on the 27th August, and after a day's vertrep, "Invincible" was at last able to head north on the 28th accompanied by "Bristol" and later RFA "Olna", arriving at Portsmouth on the 17th September to be met by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. After 166 days at sea, "Invincible" claimed the record for the longest continuous carrier operations ever.

The Sea Harriers and most of the Navy, Marine and Army helicopters went back to the UK with the returning ships. As for the RAF, mainly based at or flying to Ascension, the few Vulcan bombers flew home by the time of the surrender, and the last Nimrod MR.2's continued operating from Ascension until August, but even then, there was little let-up for the other aircraft. VC.10's maintained the air-link between the UK and Ascension, returning with many of the troops from there. Hercules transports flew south regularly, and from late June were landing at Stanley. (By then, two members of 47 Sqdn had earned gallantry awards for their air-drop missions.) And for many more months, Victor tankers and later Hercules conversions refuelled the extended range Nimrods and Hercules deep into the South Atlantic and on to the Falklands. On the island itself, a number of Harrier GR.3's of 1(F) Sqdn once again fitted with Sidewinder for air defence, were based at Stanley, but in October, 29(F) Sqdn Phantoms flew down from Ascension to the newly opened RAF Stanley to start taking over from them.

Finally there was the question of the last resting place for those British dead not buried or lost at sea. The policy had long been for those killed on active service to remain in the country where they fell, but many families chose to bring their men home. In October, LSL "Sir Bedivere" left the Falklands carrying over sixty back to the UK.

Another sixteen however, including Lt Col Jones VC, stayed in the Falklands.



15th-20th June 1982, Week Twelve RN - SSN Conqueror, FR Arrow, -
21st-30th June 1982, end of Month Three RN - DD Antrim, Glamorgan, FR Brilliant, Plymouth; Assault ships Fearless, Intrepid; Ambulance ships Hecla, Herald

RFA - RFA Blue Rover, Olmeda, Resource, Stromness; LSL's Sir Geraint, Sir Percivale

MN - Transports Canberra, Elk, Europic Ferry

MN - Transport Astronomer, Tanker G A Walker
July 1982, Month Four RN - SSN Courageous? Spartan, Valiant; SS Onyx; CV Hermes; DD Cardiff, Exeter; FR Broadsword, Active, Ambuscade, Minerva, Yarmouth; IPV Endurance; Despatch vessels Dumbarton Castle, Leeds Castle; Minesweepers Cordella, Farnella, Junella, Northella, Pict

RFA - RFA's Engadine, Tidespring; LSL Sir Lancelot; Support tankers Appleleaf, Pearleaf, Plumleaf (already in Central Atlantic); RMAS Goosander (from Ascension)

MN - Transports Atlantic Causeway, Contender Bezant (makes 2nd trip), Nordic Ferry; Hospital ship/transport Uganda; Tankers Balder London, Eburna; Repair ship Stena Seaspread

RN - DD Birmingham, Southampton; FR Apollo, Bacchante, Danae, Diomede; MCMS Brecon, Ledbury and support ship St Helena

RFA - RFA Olwen

ARMY - RCT landing craft Antwerp, Arromanches

MN - Transport Avelona Star, Laertes

August 1982, Month Five RN - CV Invincible; DD Bristol; FR Avenger, Andromeda, Penelope; MCMS Brecon, Ledbury and support ship St Helena; Ambulance ship Hydra

RFA - RFA's Olna, Regent, Tidepool (to Chilean Navy); Support tanker Bayleaf

MN - Transports Geestport, Laertes, Tor Caledonia; Dispatch vessel British Enterprise III; Mooring vessel Wimpey Seahorse

RN - CV Illustrious; FR Amazon, Battleaxe; Survey ship Hecate as ice patrol vessel
September, Month Six RN - DD Birmingham, Southampton; FR Apollo, Danae, Diomede

RFA - RFA Fort Grange; RMAS tug Typhoon

RN - DD Glasgow (2nd visit), Newcastle; FR Phoebe, Sirius

RFA - Fort Austin, Olmeda (both 2nd visit)

October-December 1982 RN - CV Illustrious; DD Glasgow (after 2nd visit), Newcastle; FR Battleaxe, Brazen Amazon, Bacchante (to Royal New Zealand Navy), Phoebe, Sirius

RFA - RFA's Fort Austin (after 2nd visit), Olmeda (after 2nd visit), Olwen; LSL Sir Bedivere; Support tanker Brambleleaf

MN - Transports Astronomer, Avelona Star (makes further visits); Tanker British Avon; Dispatch vessel Iris; Tug Irishman

RN - DD Antrim (2nd visit), Liverpool; FR Brazen, Ariadne, Charybdis, Minerva (2nd visit)

RFA - RFA Fort Grange, Tidespring (both 2nd visit)

1983 and after - Departures from South Atlantic RN - DD Antrim (after 2nd visit), Liverpool; FR - Ariadne, Charybdis, Minerva (after 2nd visit); Survey ship Hecate

RFA - RFA's Fort Grange (after 2nd visit), Tidespring (after 2nd visit); LSL Sir Tristram

MN - Transports Baltic Ferry, Lycaon, Norland, St Edmund; Tankers Anco Charger, British Esk, British Tamar, British Tay, British Trent (all after reloading trips north), Alvega (Ascension base storage), G A Walker and Scottish Eagle (both Stanley base storage); Water tanker Fort Toronto; Repair ship Stena Inspector; Tugs Salvageman, Yorkshireman

  RAF Hercules which played such an important part
carrying some of the forces into battle, and then home
(Courtesy - MOD, RAF)

on to 52. British Ships lost
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revised 31/5/13