Introduction ] Broadsword ] Foreward ] The Gathering Storm ] Our Story ] Diary ] Surrender ] Convention ] Newspapers ] MIscellaneous ]

T H E   P A S S A G E   S O U T H
Longcast 1982 ] Ascension Island ] [ The Passage South ] The Falklands ] Action ] Seawolf ] Invasion 21st May ] Bomb Alley Day One 21st May ] Bomb Alley Day Two 22nd May ] Bomb Alley Day Three 23rd May ] Bomb Alley Day Four 24th May ] Coventry 25th May ] Total Exclusion Zone ] The Advance Ashore ] Bluff Cove ] Victory ] Epilogue ]

As we continued south the warm weather of the Tropics quickly disappeared and the cool South Atlantic breezes began to pick at our faces. Most of the ships ordered their men to shave off, but fearful of the Buffer's wrath the First Lieutenant decided against this rule in BROADSWORD, and promptly a beard growing competition took place. Lieutenant Paul Coatalen produced something akin to a Worzel Gummidge special. Lieutenant Commander Roy Birch a D'artagnan masterpeice and words fail me in a description of Chief Petty Officer Dave Rook's! This proved to be one of the First Lieutenants better decisions because it soon became clear that to shave and then go on deck in the cold produced many chapped faces. Anyway the Argentineans had no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons so tight sealing Anti Gas Respirators were not going to be essential although they did prove useful in some ships enabling men to see in smoke filled compartments.

As we continued south, BRILLIANT who had been leading an advance force of three type 42s plus HMS ARROW, was sent to join ANTRIM, PLYMOUTH, ENDURANCE and RFA TIDESPRING. Their task was to retake South Georgia. The type 42s and ARROW joined our group on 24 April and for the first time we looked like a well balanced force with Anti Air-warfare defence.

 On 25 April we held a church service onboard and just before the start of the service we received a signal informing us that the attack on South Georgia had commenced. HMS antrim's Wessex was carrying out a surface search along the coast when the crew spotted the Argentine Guppy class submarine, SANTA FE, on the surface. The helicopter attacked with Mark 11 depth charges which caused sufficient damage to prevent the submarine from diving. brilliant's Lynx attacked with a torpedo and finally when the submarine was alongside the jetty at Grytviken, ENDURANCE's wasp attacked with AS 12 missiles. With the submarine crippled and listing the way was clear for the ships to shell the Argentine positions ashore. The enemy positions had been recconnoitred earlier by the SAS, so knowing the enemy's whereabouts, the order to attack was given and a helo assault by men of the SAS and Royal Marines took place. Against odds of three to one, the troops overran the Argentineans and they surrendered without any losses. 130 prisoners were taken, later to be returned to Argentina via Ascension and after an abortive attempt to refloat the SANTA FE, BRILLIANT and PLYMOUTH rejoined the main group.

On 29 April we held a Service of Dedication Before Action and on 1 May we entered what was now called the TEZ (Total Exclusion Zone). This was merely an extension of the Maritime Exclusion Zone to include aircraft. It was now become apparent that the negotiations were not going to resolve the dispute so it was decided to put military pressure on the Argentines.