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leads islands’
THERE was the rare sight of an
Indian task force operating in UK
waters at the end of June as the
HER Majesty’s Ships
Royal Navy hosted annual war
Manchester, Clyde and RFA
games for the fi rst time.
Gold Rover provided the
Typically Exercise Konkan
warship-grey backdrop to 27th
has been staged off the coast for
anniversary commemorations of
which it is named in western
the landings at San Carlos.
As in 1982, it was a cold
But this year the Anglo-Indian
and windy winter’s day when
test of maritime forces working
the three ships, which had
together will be run off the
previously been conducting
southern coast of England.
The Indians dispatched INS
maritime security operations in
Beas and Brahmaputra – two
the Atlantic Ocean, sailed into
Brahmaputra-class frigates – the
San Carlos Water in convoy
destroyer Delhi and the auxiliary
and conducted a coordinated
Aditya to the Atlantic in a move
anchorage before landing
to show their navy’s ‘blue water’
personnel by sea boat and
The quartet spent a week
The naval shore party was
in Portsmouth with their
met by the islands’ Governor
sailors visiting establishments,
Alan Huckle, plus numerous
attending training and briefi ng
military and civilian dignitaries
● Royal British Legion standard bearers line the grounds of Wincanton Parish Church as personnel from the Commando Helicopter Force
sessions, sampling the shopping
attend a service of thanksgiving
who had travelled from all
Picture: LA(Phot) Billy Bunting, RNAS Yeovilton
and nightlife experience at
corners of the Falklands
Gunwharf Quays, and taking
to attend the service of
part in the Konkan Cup sporting
Sweet reward for CHF
remembrance at Blue Beach
The emphasis of the war
The guns of Manchester
games was on submarine hunting
echoed down the sound to
(the boat in question was HMS
mark the minute’s silence.
Trafalgar), while HM Ships
That evening HMS
Northumberland and Westminster
Manchester hosted Mr Huckle
joined the Indians in trying to
MARCHING proudly into
Brunei supporting the Taurus 09 of Wincanton really makes us feel The additional gun – Junglies
for a formal dinner during which
fi nd her.
church with the standard
task force. wanted and that we’re doing a have been operating for some time
the course of the 1982 confl ict
Apart from the submarine was recounted by some of HMS
warfare strand of the six-day
bearers of the Royal
The 847 returnees and other worthwhile job.” with machine-guns mounted on
personnel from the force headed
Manchester’s young offi cers.
■ JUNGLY squadrons now their rear doors – has been fitted
exercise, there were boarding British Legion forming a
to the parish church in Wincanton have extra firepower for their on the port door, right behind the
One in particular took the
operations – auxiliaries RFA Fort
guard of honour, these
for that service, led by the Rev Afghanistan mission with an cockpit.
opportunity to pay a personal
Rosalie and Mounts Bay also
are the men and women of
Nigel Feaver, chaplain to the upgrade to the Sea King – and an Unlike aircrewmen, who not
tribute to his father’s best man,
participated – and air defence
the Commando Helicopter
town’s RBL, and the CHF’s ‘bish’, extra crew member. only man the rear gun but also who died onboard HMS Ardent.
drills conducted. Indian and
the Rev Andrew Hillier, himself A door gunner has now joined navigate, assist the pilots with Gold Rover and Clyde have
British divers (the latter from Force receiving public
just back from Afghanistan. the original crew of three – two landings and conduct winchings now returned to duties around
the Southern Diving Group in
With the act of remembrance pilots and an aircrewman – to among other duties, the new door the Falklands, while the Type
Devonport) carried out explosive
The good folk of Wincanton
over, the sailors paraded through meet the threat of small arms fire gunners perform that sole function 42 has left the Atlantic behind
ordnance disposal training.
paid tribute to the dedication and
the streets of Wincanton, led by from insurgents. in the air. and is on the homeward leg of
“Konkan’s a valuable
sacrifices of the Jungly fliers and
Yeovilton’s volunteer band and A 7.62 GPMG has been fitted They have been drawn from her seven-month deployment
opportunity to practise a wide-
ground crews with a service of
cheered on by locals. to the veteran helicopters thanks CHF ranks, but not from aircrew, via the Pacifi c coast of South
range of operations in realistic
remembrance and parade in the They paused in the town centre
to the engineers on 845 and 846 and have undergone ground America, with exercises and
conditions,” said Cdre Simon
small Somerset town. to receive a scroll of appreciation
NAS and the Sea King Project and air gunnery training and an
visits along the way, including
Ancona, in charge of the British
Wincanton lies just a dozen from the mayor, Cllr David Marsh
Team. aircrew medical.
Valparaiso in Chile.
input to Konkan (and normally
miles from the CHF’s home at – who in turn received a framed
Commander UK Carrier Strike
RNAS Yeovilton – and thanks to CHF montage – before heading
Group, although there were no
this proximity the town and the to the memorial hall for an official
fl at-top participants in this year’s
fliers have fostered close links. reception.
The town’s Royal British Legion “The support of the public is
“This is an essential – and
branch and the Support our Troops a critical boost to members of
long-standing – relationship
group in Bruton, just up the road the Armed Forces when we’re
as our navies are increasingly
from Wincanton, raised money to operating far from home, usually
working together in the Indian
send treats out to the helicopter in some pretty inhospitable
Ocean to tackle problems such as
crews in Afghanistan, anything places,” said Capt Jon Pentreath,
from sweets and Christmas parcels CHF’s Commanding Officer.
Once Konkan was done, the
to magazine subscriptions and “The close relationship with
Indians headed to Brest for
even radios and TVs. Wincanton means a lot to us –
another spell of anti-submarine
CHF’s Sea Kings are currently it was a great honour to march
training, this time with the French
deployed in support of the British through the town.
Navy and Exercise Varuna.
mission in Afghanistan; one half of “It really was a day of pride –
847 NAS has just returned from the guys’ hearts are bursting with
An Enterprise
the theatre, while the other half of pride and emotion.
the Lynx squadron is currently in “The clapping from the citizens
of some note
IF YOU’RE hoping to catch sight
Falklands farewell
of an Echo-class survey ship in
the next two years, best pick up OF THE great armada of ships sent south to to
your passport. liberate British soil held under a foreign knout, t,
The ship which gives the class none is on active duties any more.
its name is a mere one year into a HMS Exeter, the last warship to take part in
five-year deployment. the Falklands war, has formally bowed out
Now her younger sister, HMS of service nearly three decades after she
Enterprise, has joined her on the joined the Fleet.
high seas for the next two years. Three hundred friends, family, veterans
Enterprise only returned from and affi liates were greeted by Falklands
a 19-month deployment last weather – cool temperatures, wind, a wall of
spring, went through a fairly rain – as the Type 42 was decommissioned in
substantial overhaul, a spell of Portsmouth Naval Base on an unseasonal May
OST, a little Joint Warrior (air- day.
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land-sea exercises off Scotland) The destroyer was ordered to break off patrol in the Caribbean
and was ready to head off again. and head south in the spring of 1982 to take the place of HMS
Numbers helped and charitable spend to date 1,288 and £335,357
The 2009-11 deployment Sheffi eld, destroyed by Argentine attack on May 4.
takes her to West Africa for a “We always said when we joined Exeter that we were the best,
three-month spell of survey and we really were all together – there was a brilliant atmosphere. What
hydrographic work initially. a great ship she was,” said Falklands veteran Danny Daniel.
After that she shifts to the His words are borne out by the destroyer’s deeds in 1982: she
Med, before sailing east of Suez downed four Argentine aircraft with her Sea Dart missiles – two
in the final quarter of the year. A4 Skyhawk bombers, a Learjet and a Canberra – and evaded an
“There remains a lot of work Exocet attack.
to be done in the coastal regions The Falklands may be regarded as the ship’s fi nest hour but it
of West Africa,” said CO Cdr was not her only war. She served with distinction again a decade
Adam James, “but this also later, protecting Allied warships in the northern Gulf during the
gives us a prime opportunity to fi rst war against Saddam Hussein.
enhance our defence relations in Her fi nal act was a deployment to Scandinavia, Russia and
this part of the world.” Iceland last summer, during which she paid homage to veterans
Although Enterprise is away of the Arctic convoys.
from Devonport for two years, In all her 29 years’ service, the destroyer clocked up 892,811
her ship’s company are not. The nautical miles – more than 40 times around the globe. Men and women in the Royal Marines and Royal Navy serve their country,
crew of 75 are rotated, with “Although it is always sad to see a ship go out of service,
around 50 on board at any one
often at times of danger: the RNBT serves them and their families, at times
HMS Exeter has given long and loyal service,” said her fi nal
time, the rest are in the UK Commanding Offi cer Cdr Paul Brown. “I was honoured and
of need, throughout their lives. Your donations help us to help them.
either on leave or undergoing privileged to be the last seagoing CO of such a fi ne warship.”
training/completing courses. Exeter now joins the MOD disposals list. The last batch of Type
As for her sister, she’s still in 42s paid off – Newcastle, Cardiff and Glasgow – all ended up
The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust
the Far East where she’s spent in the breaker’s yard, but there is talk of a possible sale of the
Castaway House, 311 Twyford Avenue, Portsmouth PO2 8RN
2009 carrying out survey work in Exeter, Southampton and Nottingham (which is still in the process
waters off Indonesia, Singapore of winding down) to Pakistan.
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and the Malay peninsula.
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