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Monday, 9 April 2012

3 Commando Brigade and the Great White Whale

Canberra departs Southampton with 40 Commando
42 Commando and 3 PARA embarked

 The Great White Whale

 Overhead view of Canberra entering the Solent 09th April 1982.

The Secretary of State for Trade in exercising the powers conferred upon him by the Requisitioning of Ships Order 1982 hereby requisitions the s.s. "CANBERRA" and requires you to place the said vessel at his disposal forthwith.
The vessel should proceed immediately to Southampton Berth 105.
The Master of the said vessel is being instructed to report to Mr R XXXX, Hogg Robinson (GPA) Ltd, Marchwood as to destination and employment of the said vessel.  Please refer any general enquiries to the above address.
A further letter will be sent to you regarding the charter party arrangements which it is proposed to apply to the s.s. "CANBERRA".
Designation of Requisitioning Authority

A Senior Principal
Department of Trade

The SS Canberra's departure from Southampton on Good Friday 9th April with 3 battalion groups of 3 Commando Brigade was a very public occasion.  Not many of the troops from this elite brigade ever thought that they would be going to war in a luxury cruise liner!

Amphibious shipping had been leaving all week for a rendezvous and shake-out of combat stores at Ascension in the Mid Atlantic:

     05.04.82 Sir Percivale departs Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre.

06.04.82 HMS Fearless Landing Platform Dock leaves Portsmouth
with Brigadier Thompson's HQ

 The Royal Navy's "Fearlessness" will be severely tested in San Carlos Water.

06.04.82 Sir Galahad and Sir Geraint slip their moorings at Devonport.
The name of one of these vessels soon to be linked to a significant British disaster.

 The Landing Ships Logistics such as Sir Lancelot (here leaving Marchwood 06.04.82)
would bear a heavy burden putting the British force ashore in the Falklands.

 08.04.82 Type 22 and Rothsay class Frigates HMS Broadsword and Yarmouth
leave Gibraltar without the pomp which would attend Canberra the next day.

09.04.82, Southampton.  S.S. Canbera and M.V. Elk one crammed with troops,
the other ammunition represent Ships Taken Up From Trade (STUFT).

 09.04.82 M.V. Tay tanker leaves Devonport.  Half the vessels
with the task force would be commercial STUFT ships.

The British Task Force so far at sea (as at 09.04.82).
What was possible in 1982 isn't even nearly an option in 2012!

More soon.
Aye, Rusty

1 comment:

  1. I came across your picture of Broadsword and Yarmouth together. What a coincidence, I served on them both!