“Return to Bomb Alley 1982 – The Falklands Deception” … On the 40th Anniversary of the Falklands Conflict. Including the Diary, Written on Location During the War in 1982

Posted on December 16, 2020 by Wirral In It Together

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The story

In March 1982, HMS Yarmouth was on its travels, away to an east Asian deployment, but Argentinian President General Leopoldo Galtieri’s travel plans clashed with ours.

Aged 22, I was serving my 18 months’ notice and expecting to leave the navy in a few months’ time following six years of service.

I was a Leading Radio Operator in charge of the Starboard Watch Communications team. We were bound for Eastern Asia and were happily sailing across the Mediterranean towards Naples when a FLASH (Z) signal came in over the teleprinter. We knew the islands had been invaded by this time and were half-expecting this to happen. I was on watch, saw the signal coming through … and it didn’t read well:

… t u r n    a r o u n d    i m m e d i a t e l y …

… r e t u r n    to    G i b r a l t a r …

… r e – a r m,   r e – f u e l,  t a k e   o n   s t o r e s …

… j o i n   t h e   H e r m e s   b a t t l e   g  r  o u p … 

… p r o c e e d  s o u t h…

So no East Asian deployment for you, HMS Yarmouth. You’re going to war instead

The diary takes up the story from here. By way of a taster, we’ve reproduced some of the pages below. Please read on…

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Pages 6 to 31 are not reproduced here, but all 32 pages will be included in the forthcoming printed book and online eBook publications.

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We highlight the suspicious conduct of members of the Thatcher government in the lead-up to the Argentine invasion on 2nd April 1982 which included defence cuts in the South Atlantic area and secret approaches to the Argentine junta to discuss Falklands sovereignty and a 99-year lease back deal.

Under the spotlight also is the decision to sink the ARA Belgrano on 2nd May 1982. Numerous telegrams had been sent by the British Ambassador to Peru Charles Wallace as the Peruvian President’s peace proposals took shape in April. These are available for inspection at the http://www.margaretthatcher.org website.

But when details of the finalised peace plan were presented to Charles Wallace on 1st May 1982, NO FLASH TELEGRAM was sent to the United Kingdom government. (Or that’s what we are led to believe.) There are NO telegrams from Lima to London dated 1st May 1982 held at the above website. Further to this, the UK Cabinet Office has now withdrawn access to ALL incoming telegrams sent during the war.

If Charles Wallace DID send a telegram on 1st May 1982, rather than taking minutes to arrive, as was customary, it seems to have disappeared without trace.

Mrs Thatcher claimed during her BBC TV Nationwide interview in May 1983 that news of the peace proposals was received in outline form 17 hours later, during which time orders had been given to sink the ARA Belgrano, killing 368 Argentinian sailors.

HMS Yarmouth‘s actions during the Falklands Conflict. Excerpt from Wikipedia


Falklands War – HMS Yarmouth

See also: Battle of Seal Cove and Operation Keyhole.  Yarmouth sailing astern of Cardiff in the south Atlantic with Andromeda.

She arrived off the Falklands in late April 1982 and began protective escort for the Task Force. On 4 May, when Sheffield was hit by an Exocet missile, Yarmouth provided anti-submarine protection as Arrow attempted to fight the fire. After Sheffield had been abandoned, Yarmouth took her in tow in order to get her to a safe area. However, after 29 hours the winds rose to gale force and Sheffield finally sank on 10 May at 7 am.

When the amphibious task force arrived on 19 May, Yarmouth provided an anti-air and anti-submarine escort as the force moved into San Carlos Water as part of Operation Sutton. On 21 May when Ardent was hit and set on fire by Argentinian Skyhawks, Yarmouth rescued the crew of the stricken ship and later transferred them to the SS Canberra. For the next ten days she continued to act in an air defence role during the battle of San Carlos by day, but by night operated a variety of missions including shore bombardment, anti-submarine patrols, covert operations and escorting merchant ships to and from the landing area.[24]

In the early hours of 23 May, along with Brilliant, she intercepted and engaged the Argentine coaster ARA Monsunen with her 4.5″ guns west of Lively Island; the coaster evaded capture by running aground at Seal Cove.[25]

On 25 May Yarmouth claimed to have shot down A4C Skyhawk (C-319), flown by Teniente Tomás Lucero, with her Sea Cat missile system, although this aircraft was subjected to the full force of the San Carlos‘ air defences, with other claims from RapierBlowpipe and ship-based gunfire[26] Lucero ejected and was recovered by Fearless.[27]

After two days of maintenance in the repair area, she returned to bombardment duties beginning on 6 June. These she carried out by night while by day she travelled some 200 miles back to the task force to replenish fuel and ammunition. During one of these missions, she came across a small coaster whose propeller had become fouled with rope while ferrying Gurkhas and supplies to Goose Green. Her diving team managed to free the ship. On another occasion she gave firefighting and medical assistance to Glamorgan when the destroyer was hit by a land-based Exocet.[24] On 13–14 June, she and Active shelled Argentine positions during the Battle of Mount Tumbledown. During the war, she fired over 1,000 shells from her main guns, mostly during shore bombardment, and 58 anti-submarine Limbo mortar rounds.

After the Argentine surrender of the Falkland Islands, YarmouthHMS EnduranceRFA Olmeda and the tug Salvageman sailed to the South Sandwich Islands where Argentina had established a base in South Thule since 1976. Following a demonstration of the Yarmouth’s guns, the ten Argentine military personnel surrendered.[28]

Before leaving South Thule, Yarmouth was refuelled by the RFA Olmeda on 21 June, which may have been the most southerly RAS(L) in the history of the Royal Navy.[28]

Purchase your copy of RETURN TO BOMB ALLEY 1982THE FALKLANDS DECEPTION by Paul Cardin on 28th March 2022 from Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, and others.

Thank you!

HMS Ardent, bombed as she entered San Carlos Water from Grantham Sound. HMS Yarmouth pulled alongside and rescued all of the surviving crew