Tuesday, 10 June 2014

MY RAPIER MISSILE DETACHMENT 32 ALPHA T BATTERY IN THE FALKLANDS WAR




This is another photograph I have found on face book of my Rapier missile detachment in the Falklands War on the left of the photo is Gunner Mickey Quinn (R.I.P) sat in the tracker seat is sergeant Bob Pearson, I believe the location is Fitzroy the scene of the worst British loss of like of the War when the troop ships Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram were bombed by Argentine aircraft. 32 Alpha was credited with Three confirmed kills, Two Skyhawks and One Mirage.


The decision was now taken to use the LSL's to continue 5th Infantry's move forward. "Sir Tristram" reached Fitzroy on Monday 7th to start unloading ammo, and in San Carlos Water, "Sir Galahad" took on board the rest of the 1st Welsh from "Fearless" before sailing around Lafonia to arrive on Tuesday morning (8th). By now, only one LCU and a Mexeflote were left to complete offloading "Sir Tristram", and although by early afternoon, Rapier SAM's and 16 Field Ambulance had gone ashore from "Sir Galahad", plans to move the Guards to Bluff Cove to join the rest of the battalion had come to nothing. Worse still, the LSL's had been reported by enemy observers, and around 2.00 pm, five Skyhawk's of Grupo 5 and five Daggers of Grupo 6 were coming in over the Falklands.
First to be attacked by the Daggers, but in Falkland Sound was frigate "Plymouth" on her way to bombard an Argentine position on West Falkland. Hit by cannon fire and four UXB's, one of which detonated a depth charge, she was only slightly damaged. Shortly after, the Skyhawks reached Fitzroy. Three of them put two or more bombs into the crowded "SIR GALAHAD", and the other two hit "Sir Tristram" with two UXB's killing two crewmen. The ships caught fire and were soon abandoned, but by then the results for "Sir Galahad" were catastrophic with a total of 48 killed - five RFA crewmen, 32 Welsh Guards and eleven other Army personnel, with many more badly burned and wounded. "Sir Tristram" was later returned to the UK for repairs, but the burnt-out "Sir Galahad" was scuttled at sea as a war grave on the 25th June.
As the FAA's last major effort continued, four Grupo 4 Skyhawks attacked troops in the Fitzroy area later that afternoon, and minutes after, four Skyhawks of Grupo 5 arrived over Choiseul Sound to catch LCU F4 (belonging to "Fearless") sailing from Goose Green to Fitzroy with 5th Infantry HQ vehicles. Hit by one bomb, which killed the coxswain, Colour Sgt Johnston (post QGM) and five of the crew, she shortly sank. Two No.800 Sea Harriers over head on CAP immediately dived to the attack and brought down three of the Skyhawks with Sidewinders