Part 9 1-7 June - Falklands Conflict Recollections 30 Years On By Veteran David Ramsden
18th June 2012
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Tue 1:RAS(S) and (A) otherwise very quiet.  After sunset escorted Sir Galahad and Bedivere into AOA(Area Of Action).

After a couple of days with the Main group, we were finally sent back to San Carlos Water, escorting the landing ships Sir Galahad and Bedivere.

We spent the next few days in San Carlos by day and escorting ships in and out by night. The weather had deteriorated with poor visibility and rough seas, at least this gave us some respite from air attack.

Fri 4:No air raids.  Vis very bad.    Escort duty over night.

Our days were spent in San Carlos Water, either sailing amongst the ships at anchor, or at anchor ourselves but all the time ready to provide anti-aircraft cover if an air raids to take place. This was the boring time, six hours on watch on the bridge and then six hours âoff watchâ but closed up as an additional lookout on the bridge roof, all throughout daylight hours. 

While the weather was too bad for the Argies to carry out air raids the time dragged and it was incredibly boring!

As darkness fell our role changed to that of escort. Ships transiting in and out of San Carlos to and from the Main Group with reinforcements and supplies were great targets for enemy submarines and therefore needed protection. In stark contrast to the boredom of the âquietâ days in San Carlos these escort runs were carried out as quickly as possible, as fast as the supply ships could manage but also, most of the time the ships were totally darkened and radar and radio silent.

This was a real test of the metal of the Officer Of The Watch and other watch keepers and provided many heart stopping moments as from time to time a single sweep of radar would display the positions of the other ships in our care and not always where we expected them to be! Sometimes too close for comfort and others almost too far away to have been under our protection at all!

I am glad to be able to report however that we never lost any of our charges during these high speed silent dashes and it provided a welcomed change to the daily routine.

Sat 5:Again vis bad, day quiet and boring.  Big push on Stanley planned for tonight.  Did not come off, short of ammo!!

Sun 6:Weather gale force and rain.  Very little achieved.  A/S(Anti-Submarine) patrol and escort duty.

Mon 7:A better day weather wise, today.  One air raid of 2 x Canberraâs â Sea Dart took one out at 39000 ft.  Escort Intrepid to Bluff Cove.

After a period of very little engagement with the Argentines around San Carlos or at sea, although the troops ashore had been very busy making slow but certain progress towards the ultimate goal of Stanley, we were tasked with escorting the troop landing ship HMS Intrepid around to Bluff Cove, with the two troop ships Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram. 

Earlier that day, as the weather had improved somewhat, the Argentines had attempted a high level bombing raid using 2 Canberra bombers, their attempts had been unsuccessful but HMS Exeter had managed to engage one with her Sea Dart missile system, it was quite a sight as the missile launched in a cloud of smoke and flame disappearing into the blue sky, exploding on contact a few seconds later at over 30,000 feet. A cheer went up from all around the upper deck, as weâd all been transfixed watching the spectacle!

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