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War Memorials

IN THE BEGINNING

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The Falklands conflict was not  preceded by a formal declaration of war from either side. It began with the invasion of the islands by Argentina on 2 April 1982. The British Government reacted swiftly by putting together Operation Corporate which immediately sent the first wave of a task force out to the South Atlantic to recover the islands

HMS Intrepid, with Martin Dunkin and his camera on board, was called into action.  These words and images represent Martin's own personal view of those first days at war:

 

"As soon as we heard that the Falklands had been invaded and that a task force was to be sent, I decided to take photos in the dockyard at Portsmouth to record events.

We were unsure whether HMS Intrepid was in a fit state to go as we had been in moth balls for a few months. However, the Admiralty informed us the day after the invasion that we were to be made ready to sail."

 

"I remember a consignment of new mattresses turning up on Sunday 3 April, for the embarked forces messes, then stores arriving shortly afterwards. We managed to get the ship ready within 2 weeks!

This photo shows HMS Hermes. As I was taking this shot, helicopters were landing on  her in readiness for sailing."

HMS Hermes in Portsmouth Harbour
© Martin Dunkin

 

British Tamar after refuelling

"Having said our goodbyes to our families and friends, we sailed and this photo shows us having just broken off from fuelling from the British Tamar. It was an unusual fuelling as we were bow to stern with Tamar as opposed to side to side with a royal Naval Auxiliary.

Our thoughts at this time were that the Argentineans would leave when they could see that the task force was a serious threat to them."

© Martin Dunkin

 

"The weather in the South Atlantic at this time of year was pretty bad and storms posed a serious threat to our ships which frequently sustained damage.

Replenishment in rough seas is always a tricky task, but at this time was made even harder by the air threats which the Argentineans began to mount as we came nearer to the islands.

This shot shows RFA Appleleaf sending supplies across."

RFA Appleleaf sending supplies across
© Martin Dunkin

 

Helicopter delivering logistics to HMS Intrepid

"Here, we're "cross decking" from other ships in the task force. This was taken a few days before the landings and shows a helicopter delivering logistics to HMS Intrepid.

Men and Logistics had to be on the correct ship and in the right order, if a smooth landing was to be achieved.

By now our thoughts had turned to home. Sadly, HMS Sheffield had been lost already and we were into the serious and frightening business of fighting a war."

© Martin Dunkin

 

"Here, we're at anchor in San Carlos Water, better known as "bomb alley". Having put the troops ashore, our job was to protect the bridgehead they had set up and to support the troops ashore.

The situation at San Carlos changed daily, with many air attacks from the Argentinean air force. A great many ships were hit and, most unfortunately, some were lost.

In this shot, we see a type 21 Class frigate, possibly the Antelope before her destruction."

In San Carlos Water
© Martin Dunkin

 

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