Thursday, 15 May 2014

Captain Paul Bootherstone Frigate commander whose skill saved 225 men Dies of a heart attack.

After 26 years in the Royal Navy, Captain Paul Bootherstone, who has died of a heart attack aged 62, faced the supreme test of his career in the Falklands war of 1982. He won the Distinguished Service Cross as commander of HMS Arrow, the frigate that rescued the crew of the doomed destroyer Sheffield. Both ships were in the first wave of the 27-warship task force sent to the south Atlantic after the Argentine invasion on April 2. Arrow was one of an eventual total of 10 escorts with the carrier task group formed to seize control - with alarmingly slender resources - of the 200-mile exclusion zone around the islands. The frigate fired the first shot in a bombardment of Port Stanley airfield on May 1. Arrow was also the first British ship to be hit by the daring Argentine pilots who, flying at the very limit of their range, constituted the main threat to the expedition. One sailor was wounded and the ship lightly damaged. The bizarre conflict passed the diplomatic point of no return the next day, when the nuclear attack submarine HMS Conqueror sank the old cruiser General Belgrano outside the zone, with the loss of more than 350 men. On May 4, determined to exact revenge, the Argentine navy sent two Super-Etendard bombers against part of the task force commander Rear-Admiral Sandy Woodward's screen. These were the type 21 frigates, Arrow and Yarmouth, and type 42 destroyer Sheffield, patrolling between 40 and 70 miles south of Stanley and helping to cover the aircraft carriers Hermes and Invincible a further 40 miles out. Read more HERE R.I.P.