Falklands War Diary 1982
anniversary of the Falklands war in 2007 I thought it was about time
after 22 years to get out my day to day diary and write up the events of
which I had witnessed while serving as the captainís petty Officer
Steward on HMS Broadsword which is a type 22 frigate. So itís now time
to put pen to paper and pul my diary into book form. The book starts
off in 1982 whilst we are alongside Gibraltar and with a very slight
breeze on a warm Sunny day broadsword slipped away from the jetty and
set sail towards what we all think to be a most enjoyable trip visiting
exciting foreign countries around the hall for the next six to eight
months whilst proudly showing the British flag. This however will not
be the case as the book explains. As from April 5th 1982 my
diary comes into action, we receive the signal from London whilst on
passage to Naples which basically means when translated....... Return to
Gibralter...... Store Ship......... Prepare to sail for the South
A book also goes into great detail what life as an ordinary sailor (steward) is like during peacetime and Iíve included my adventures and mishaps along the way.
Not only do I feel the book would generate a lot of interest to the naval and military personnel but also strongly believe a large number public would also view it with great interest.
Barry Fieldgate was the Captain Stewart or board the royal navy frigate HMS Broadsword, which operated in the south Atlantic during the Falklands war. As the title indicates, the core of this book comprises the observations of a Falklands war veteran during the period of that conflict.
Fieldgate's Diary provides a detailed insight into the private thoughts, fears and views of a crew member whose main source of information was the lower deck chat, supplemented by periodic situation report from a senior officer. The end result, in the words of his commanding officer, is a book "which while obviously of great interest to broadsword shipís company during the period from April to July 1982, will also appeal to a wider readership". Specifically, it should make a good read for anyone who had an involvement with the Falklands war or wants to gain a greater understanding of what it was like for some of the ordinary service personnel who took part.
The dairy begins on April 5, 1982, with the author outlining his general duties and daily life on board broadsword. The author then describes routine naval life and many of the incidents that he and his colleagues have been involved in. He recalls that there is always excitement among the crew of a vessel which arrives in a new port, practically one overseas.
Reverting back to the specific period of time covered by the diary, the author recalls after leaving Gibraltar and heading for Naples in Italy, concern among the crew began to increase is a fear that more naval ships have been ordered to take on stores in Gibraltar. They are of course already well aware that tension is building up between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland islands. Even so, he remembers, at that stage most of the crew think a peaceful solution will be found. Later that evening, though, Broadsword receives "the one and only signal that the whole shipís company had hoped would never be received". Specifically, the ship is ordered to return to Gibraltar and prepare to sail to the south Atlantic - and war. "We all realize that this is for real," writes the author.
The rest of the dairy charts the progress of the war, the mounting casualties as a number of British ships are hit by enemy fire and the thoughts of the author and its crew mates during that period. In the authorís own concluding words. "From May 1 until May 24 our ships were under constant attack and this book reflects exactly what I saw of it." That last comment highlights the dominant feature of this diary - the fact that it is very much a personal account of the war and the authors thoughts as events unfold.