Air Italy takes over air bridge UK/Falklands for the next few weeks
British military personnel were assured Thursday that they would not be stranded in the Falkland Islands despite the collapse of the only airline that flies direct to the Islands from the UK.
Air Italy founded in 2005 carries a million
passengers annually and employs 700 personnel.
Flyglobespan had the Ministry of Defence contract to operate flights in and out of the South Atlantic outpost: four flights every fortnight in a Boeing 767 with a percentage of seats for civilians.
There were fears that islanders and military personnel would be unable to travel over the festive period after the Scottish firm's planes were grounded.
But the flights have been secured after another airline took over the contract, British Ministry of Defence reported.
Air Italy has taken it on for the short term and will operate the two flights a week to and from the Falkland Islands for the next few weeks.
The MoD used a central broker to find a substitute for Flyglobespan, which had operated the flights since winning a four-year contract in 2008.
A MoD spokeswoman said: "There will be no delays on the airbridge to the Falklands and Ascension Island as a result of Flyglobespan going into administration.
"The MoD lets contracts through brokers who have already employed Air Italy to replace the Flyglobespan flights in the short term. Negotiations are under way to determine a long term solution."
The flights left RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, calling at Ascension Island en route to the Falklands.
Many passengers from the island of St Helena, which has no airport, also sail three days to Ascension Island on the Royal Mail Ship St Helena to pick up the flight, saving themselves a five-day boat journey to Cape Town.
The aircraft carried up to 184 civilian and government passengers on each charter flight, as well as freight.
It was the only flight option for Falkland Islanders other than Chilean carrier Lan, which calls in weekly from Punta Arenas, extreme south of Chile.
Air Italy will run the flights under the same terms and conditions, the MoD said.
The MoD said it was trying to find a long-term solution for the route.
Flyglobespan cabin crews are reportedly stranded in the Falklands and on Ascension Island.
When it was announced in October last year, the contract was described as the "most economical advantageous solution" to the MoD's passenger, aero-medical and freight requirements.
An alternative provider will also be found to cover a contract which had recently been agreed to fly military personnel to the Middle East en route to Afghanistan from January. (The Scotsman).-
Let's hope there's a long-term solution found soon, and let's hope it's more ''economically advantageous'' than the previous setup. For any serving British military personnel interested in a trip to the Islands (it's currently their summer remember), the 16 000mile round trip to the islands costs only £50 or so courtesy of Crab Air... a mate of mine recently took up this opportunity and had a fantastic week there.
A handful of stories of late, the first concerning the activites of the resident infantry unit, 4 SCOTS (The Highlanders), who took over from 1 Royal Irish.
British soldiers in Falklands’ sheep castrating operation
Dec 23rd 2009
A team of British soldiers has helped castrate sheep on the Falkland Islands after tragedy hit two farm workers, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
Cpl Scot Robinson/MoD
The Highlanders, who are on a tour of duty on the Islands, were called in after one man was killed in a motorcycle crash and another was injured in a separate accident.
Corporal Scot Robertson, 33 from Balloch, Dunbartonshire, led a seven-man patrol team who stepped in to help. After a quick lesson from the farmers, the soldiers rolled up their sleeves and in the space of a week more than 5,500 sheep were castrated, wormed and tagged.
He said: "We were supposed to be patrolling the west island but went to help a local farmer when we heard there was a problem. We put the sheep into the pen and the farmer showed us what to do.
"One castrated them, one put a tag through their ear and one cut their tail off with an iron. We just kept going, round and round.
"I'd never even touched a sheep until then. It was good fun and we were glad to be able to help out. There were plenty sheep jokes flying about when we got back to the base."
Highlander Jamie Lyons, 20, from Thurso, was one of those who helped.
He said: "It was something I didn't expect to be doing out here but I enjoyed the experience. It was hard work lifting the lambs. Some were a bit jumpy and nervous. I suppose because we were a bit nervous too."
Sheep farming for the production of organic high quality wool has been the main form of agriculture in the Falkland Islands over the last 160 years. With a population of only 2.700 and more than half a million sheep, farming is essential for the economy.
Highlanders stationed in Falklands triumph in Chilean war game competition
Dec 22nd 2009
An elite team of British soldiers beat Special Forces from around the world to win a grueling competition in the driest place on Earth, repots Daily Record.co.uk. The eight-man unit from the Highlanders (4 Scots) picked up the gold medal in the Chilean Patrol Competition before their recent deployment to the Falkland Islands.
They saw off specialist units from the US, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Paraguay to win the prestigious event.
The team, lead by Captain Neil Cargill, 28, from Aberdeen, faced some of the most inhospitable and driest land in the world as they took part in the 50km, 48-hour tactical foot patrol through the Atacama desert in Chile.
Carrying 12 liters of water each as well as 80lbs of kit, the team collected the most points in the two-day event which is highly regarded in military circles.
Captain Cargill said: "It was a very challenging patrol; each man was pushed to his limits and every individual to their wall at some point. Everyone was exhausted but the comradeship and humor of the team pulled everybody through to the end."
They were assessed on planning; debrief process, minefield crossing, anti-ambush drills and medical triage and evacuation.
Cpt Cargill added: "It was an excellent experience and chance to work closely alongside and interact with other armies. The team scored so highly in all aspects there was immense interest from the other international teams who all wanted to learn from our tactics."
The Highlanders are currently on a tour of duty in the Falkland Islands where they are part of the South Atlantic protection force and are training for deployment to Afghanistan.
Major UK warfare exercise in the Falklands to repel “enemy invasion”
British forces have been taking part in a major warfare exercise in the Falkland Islands, where hundreds of servicemen died during the 1982 conflict. The Highlanders (4 Scots) joined the Royal Navy and RAF in a two-day operation after an “enemy invasion” on the islands, 8,000 miles from the UK, in the South Atlantic.
According to News.Scotsman.com the Highlanders are currently on a tour of the Falklands and form part of the permanent joint protection force in the South Atlantic until January, when they will be replaced.
The regiment is expected to deploy to Afghanistan in early 2011 and the exercise, Cape Bayonet, was seen as a vital part of their pre-deployment training.
Officer commanding Major Jonas Fieldhouse said: "The key thing for us here is that we have come as a whole company. Back in Germany where we are based it is very hard to get everyone together at the one time to do this kind of training.
"We're back to the basics of training, all the companies here are getting a lot done and that will help us wherever we go in the world in the next two and a half years, and not just Afghanistan."
The exercise saw 100 Highlanders picked up by state-of-the-art protection vessel HMS Clyde at Mount Pleasant and transported overnight to San Carlos, scene of a major British amphibious landing during the 1982 conflict.
The soldiers arrived in a landing craft in three lots and marched ten miles before spotting the enemy embedded up a steep hill. Their orders were to identify attack and defeat the force on foot.
After an hour of fierce fighting, the enemy was captured and the company marched onwards over the unforgiving terrain.
Before being picked up and transported by Search and Rescue helicopter for the second stage of the gruelling exercise, the troops, each carrying upwards of 40lb of kit as well as rifles and ammunition, visited a memorial to pay their respects to the fallen at San Carlos.
Then they spent a night at Onion Range, a remote part of East Falkland, before embarking on a live firing exercise which saw them use live ammunition in a training field.
As they did so, two Typhoon jets, the RAF's most modern multi-role fighter, were called in to join the exercise offering unrivalled air support to the troops on the ground.
It was vital that all three services worked in unison to defeat the enemy. The exercise is seen as important training in the planning and execution of tactical manoeuvres which the forces will experience in the battlefield.
Regimental Sergeant Major Robert Loudon, 34, from Motherwell, Lanarkshire, has already completed two tours of Iraq.
He said: "This is ideal training for Afghanistan. It is good to get the boys back out on their feet and into the field, back to soldiering. It means they can sharpen their skills."
The exercise was deemed a success following a debrief with all the officers involved.
But the Highlanders are not just in the Falklands to train, they are there to carry out protection duties.
Following the conflict there has been a strong military presence in the Falklands, and a major base and airport were built at Mount Pleasant, 35 miles from the capital Stanley.
Daily patrols throughout the Islands, nicknamed the Penguin Patrols, are seen as a visible demonstration of the United Kingdom's sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and they are welcomed by the locals.
Maj Fieldhouse said: "We're here in support of the mission that the British forces have in the South Atlantic to deter military aggression against these Islands”.
Last edited by happyslapper; 12-28-2009 at 01:00 PM.
APT(S) From Start to Finish
APT(S), as mentioned on page 1, stands for Atlantic Patrol Task (South), and consists normally of 1 frigate or desroyer, plus support. APT(S) is the Royal Navy's ongoing commitment to providing maritime security and influence in the South Atlantic, with much of the emphasis being on the Falkland and South Georgia archipeligos.
In recent years, the primary assets sent on APT(S) are air-defence destroyers in the form of batch-3 Type-42 Destroyers. One of these old but fine vessels in HMS Gloucester, which returned from APT(S) just in time for Christmas, after a six and a half month deployment.
Within the next few years, as the last Type-42s are withdrawn from service, the task will fall to their successor class the Type-45.
A little about HMS Gloucester
HMS Gloucester is the 11th ship to bear the name, the 1st being a 3rd-rate frigate launched in 1654. She is a batch-3 Type-42 Destroyer, being one of the last and most capable of this battle-hardened design, and was lauched in Novemeber 1982, just months after her sisters had proven their mettle in the Falklands War, with 8 confirmed kills and 2 probables. Two of the class (batch 1s Sheffield and Coventry) were lost.
During the 1991 Gulf War, Gloucester became famous for downing an Iraqi 'Silkworm' missile headed for the USS Missouri after the battleship's escort USS Jarret mistakenly engaged chaff lauched by Missouri, rather than the incomeing missile. It is the first incident of a missile being shot down by another missile (Sea Dart) at sea.
Gloucester's Lynx helicopter also destroyed several Iraqi patrol boats (footage can be seen on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8dEr-1RYbw), with Gloucester spending more time up-threat than any other coalition warship.
HMS Gloucester seen with HMS Dauntless, second Type-45.
March 2009, Gloucester wins the prestigious FOST Major Warships Award, for outstanding proficiency.
Action Stations on the Bridge
June 10th 2009. HRH The Duchess of Gloucester visits the ship to talk to her crew about the task ahead, and to wish them luck. The Duchess launched the ship in 1982.
Gloucester leaves HMNB Portsmouth bound firstly for West Africa.
- June 11th 2009.
HMS Gloucester's Commanding Officer, Commander Iain Lower, said:
"This deployment follows on from a huge amount of effort and work by my ship's company and our supporting organisations in the UK. The varied tasks that we will be required to undertake are of vital importance to the safety and security of the people of the British South Atlantic Territories and the UK's wider maritime interests."
Alongside in Praia, Cape Verde
HMS Gloucester was the venue for signing of a historic agreement between the UK Government and the Government of Cape Verde in the fight against the illegal trafficking of narcotics.
- 19th June.
Cape Verde Coast Guard vessel acting as a contact of interest during join training
As the political agreements progress, a team from Gloucester undertake rennovation work onone of the coutry's Kindergartens for disadvantaged children. It is commonplace for similar work to happen wherever there is a port-visit for an RN ship (as is the case with many other navies).
Crew members lay a wreath at the Commonwealth War Graves in Mindelo, Cape Verde.
- 22nd June.
The purpose of the visit was to disembark the Cape Verdean Coastguard Law Enforcement team on completion of a two day counter-narcotics patrol and training exercises around the Cape Verde islands before sailing to cross the Atlantic. Soon after arrival Gloucester’s Commanding Officer, Commander Iain Lower RN, her Chaplain Rev Mike Wagstaff RN and five other Officers and Ratings visited Mindelo cemetery and conducted a wreath laying ceremony at 9 British War Graves which date from the First and Second World Wars.
The ship's cricket team also took the opportunity for a match, with Mindelo all out for 29, Gloucester racking up 108/4.
Within a day of arriving in Rio, Gloucester's runners raise over £1500 for Help for Heroes by running the 9-mile route to the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer, 2329-feet up at the summit of Mt Corcovado.
- 6th July.
HMS Gloucester's Falklands’ Campaign Veterans Deliver Historic Task Force South Exhibit To The Falkland Islands Museum.
- 15th July.
Commander Iain Lower MA Royal Navy, and three members of HMS Gloucester’s Ship’s Company who are veterans of the 1982 Falklands’ Campaign, delivered the Task Force South Exhibition to the Falkland Islands’ Museum in Stanley.
The exhibition, which was donated to the Falkland Islands Museum by the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, had previously been on display as part of the Falklands’ 25 Anniversary in Portsmouth. It includes a number of mounted photographs and newspapers headlines of the time and its centre piece is the name board of HMS Antrim.
HMS Gloucester’s Falkland Veterans’ are Lt Cdr Joe Harper RN, who served onboard HMS Plymouth during the Conflict; Lt Cdr Dave Moy RN, who served onboard HMS Fearless; and RPO Buck Taylor, who served onboard HMS Hermes.
Cdr Iain Lower MA RN, presented the exhibition to Sian Davies, the Deputy Manager of the Falklands’ Museum stated that “the handover of the exhibit was all the more poignant given that the 3 veterans from the 1982 conflict were present and were able to see the photographs of the Ships which they had served on during the conflict.” Sian Davies responded that “it was an extra special donation” and “an honour to have the exhibition at the museum”.
4 members of Gloucester joined 2 Para (D Company) on a 100km Tactical Advance to Battle (TAB) across East Falklands. Lt Cdr D Ward RN, Lt D Berry RN, S/Lt P Patterson and LS A Shephard retraced the step’s ‘Yomped’ by 3 Cdo in 1982.
- 3rd August.
The preparations for the journey had started a week before, whilst England was enjoying another glorious week of sunshine and the Falkland Island were in the full swing of winter, with snow on the ground and winds gusting up to 60 knots. The quartet were required to start sourcing cold weather clothing from all resources available. The AT centre in Stanley; the RAF’s store at Mount Pleasant Complex; and the Roulement Infantry Company Quartermaster were all utilised in order to get the team prepared.
The night before the first day, the team had to assemble at Port San Carlos for the beginning of what proved to be an epic adventure. Arriving in style, the Royal Navy flew over Port San Carlos in their Mk3 Lynx whilst the rest of 2 Para arrived via the Brintell Helicopter. On the flight it was humbling to fly past the special marker buoy of HMS Antelope clearly marked in the bay, reminding many that before the troops got to the land a great sacrifice was paid by many members of the Senior Service.
On first meeting with Major Si Britton, OC of 2 Para D Coy, the odds did not look good. The nice new boots they had received were potentially going to be an issue (after the event Major Britton admitted that he didn’t expect all of the RN contingent to finish). But full of excitement and well bedded down for the first night under the warm roof (but still on the floor) of a neighbouring farm we were given the green light to progress with the TAB.
By first light on the 3 August 09, all were packed up, well fed (on RAT Packs) and ready to start the TAB. 2 Para D Coy lead the way with the guests, in not so stealthily formation, bringing up the rear. The 4-6 hour trek actually took 8 as the unmarked tracks on the Para’s maps resulted in some frustrating deviations around and over hills. As daylight hours started to pass 2 Tornado F3’s flew over head in formation reminding all that they were not alone. Aptly named ‘Hope Cottage’ offered the first shelter of the day. The owners remembered the war of 1982 like yesterday and had a proud connection to the Parachute Regiment having offered 3 Para their barn to use during the conflict.
The second day proved another 8 hour+ TAB (‘yomp’ is strictly a Royal word as we were constantly reminded) with weather varying from rain and fog through to clouds and sunshine. The second evening saw the group at the infamous ‘Estancia House’. Estancia House played a significant role in 1982 providing a support HQ for 3 Para and a line of logistics between Tear Inlet and the forward lines of Mounts Estancia and Vernet.
The final day saw the group TAB past of Mount Longdon (3 Para 11/12 June 1982), The Two Sisters (45 Cdo 11/12 June 1982) and in front of Wireless Ridge (2 Para 13/14 June 1982). Followed by the long stretch into Stanley, along the road yomped by 3 Cdo. The TAB finished with a short service at Stanley Cathedral before a well earned shower and boat across the water to HMS Gloucester who proudly stood at anchor in Stanley Harbour. All 4 members of the Ship’s Company made it to the Cathedral on there own feet. Later it was reviled that we actually covered 130K’s over the three days!!
The ship anchored off Stanley on the evening of the 6 August 2009 for her first settlement visit since arriving in the Falklands on the 13 July 09.
- 6th August.
On anchoring, a capability demonstration was held, to which 70 guests from the local community embarked, including His Excellency, The Governor of the Falklands Isles, Mr Alan Huckle. The Residents of Stanley were greeted by the Commanding Officer of HMS Gloucester, Commander Iain Lower MA RN, who had previously visited Stanley as the last Commanding Officer of HMS Leeds Castle. After a welcome speech guests were treated to a demonstration of HMS Gloucester’s fighting capability with the Operations Room and Bridge performing their role at Action Stations and defeating a simulated threat. There were also displays of HMS Gloucester’s fire fighting capability and a snapshot of how the engineers onboard deal with incidents within the Machinery Control Room. This was rounded off with a brief on the Royal Navy’s capability and role within the world today and what the future holds for the Senior Service.
On the 11 August 09 HMS Gloucester conducted a Maritime Familiarisation Sea Day with 50 guests embarked to witness the Ship’s capability first hand. This included a demonstration on how HMS Gloucester deals with the threat of fast inshore attack craft, a maritime interdiction demonstration by the Ship’s embarked Lynx Mark 3 helicopter, an Anti Air Warfare demonstration, Naval Gunfire Support and replenishment at sea with the RFA Gold Rover.
HMS Gloucester will be conducting further settlement visits throughout her time in the Falklands and will be returning to Stanley later in the year. HMS Gloucester is the Royal Navy’s lead maritime asset in the region with her key mission to defend the interests of the people of the South Atlantic Islands, and deter any military action against them, defeating any threat she may face. HMS Gloucester will remain on task until December 2009 when she will be relieved by one of her sister ships maintaining the Royal Naval presence in the South Atlantic.
With her patrol duties in the South Atlantic complete for the time being, Gloucester headed north for the warmer seas and the Chilean city of Valparaiso. With the South Atlantic winter still in full swing and the Cape Horn too treacherous, there was really only one option; a transit through the Magellan straights, from the Atlantic and into the Pacific Ocean.
As we reached the small deserted island of Pica Leci, we turned north and into the Patagonian Canals. Three days and 800 miles of narrow canals lay ahead of us...there was no turning back!
AB(Sea) Max Grosse said, ‘It was really breathtaking, the scenery was like nothing any of us had seen before, spectacular high mountains with glaciers; completely deserted. I was at the wheel driving as we passed through the Paso Tortuoso, which is barely wider than the ship, not something that I will forget.’
On the second morning, Gloucester closed up ice-lookouts as we passed through the Canal Icy, littered with small icebergs, breaking off the glaciers that towered above the canal on both sides.
The perfect weather afforded us the opportunity to launch out Lynx to take some breathtaking photographs as we passed through the narrowest part of the canal. Angostura Inglesa is lined with the wrecks of stricken vessels and necessitated much planning to navigate safely.
‘It was a tense time on the bridge,’ explains experienced navigator Lt Sarah Thompson RN. ‘We were expecting strong winds and as much as 6 knots of tidal stream, but in the event conditions could not have been better. Passing through Angostura Inglesa was the culmination of many weeks of planning and training of the bridge team.’
As we left the confines of the canal and entered the Pacific Ocean; the first visit for many onboard, we were greeted with a substantial storm, whipping the sea into a frenzy, making our imminent arrival in Valparaiso, all the more welcomed.
Sailors from Gloucester enjoy skiing in the Chilean Andes.
With the winter in retreat and the first signs of improving spring weather showing, Gloucester left Valparaiso and headed south, bound for the South Atlantic via the Cape Horn. No sooner had we left, but again the weather gods struck with winds reaching 60 knots. Fortunately, on the morning that we were due to round the cape, the wind had abated completely.
‘The weather is unpredictable and very changeable in the Southern Ocean. It went from being clear in a severe gale to being flat calm with mist in the space of 2 hours,’ explains Officer of the Watch 1, Lt Tim Langford RN.
The sea boat was launched as we approached the Horn to capture Gloucester’s first Cape Horn transit on camera. Visibility was just good enough to see the horn from the ship, barely a mile away!
Back in the South Atlantic
Having thoroughly used and abused the cycle machines that were available to them in the gym onboard HMS Gloucester and in the more palatial gym at Mount Pleasant Airfield (MPA) in the Falklands, Lt Cdr Douggie Ward and Surg Lt Gordon Irvine, the Pusser and Medical Officer of HMS Gloucester respectively, decided that the time had come to take advantage of the burgeoning Falkland’s summer weather and undertake a more substantial cycling challenge. Over the course of two weekends alongside the pair decide to cycle from HMS Gloucester’s home away from home in East Cove Military Port (ECMP) to Darwin, before undertaking the more gruelling challenge of cycling from ECMP to Stanley on the next weekend alongside.
The ride to Darwin, took place the morning after HMS Gloucester had hosted a very successful Trafalgar Night Dinner in the Joint Officer’s Mess of MPA, and so appeared the be the perfect way to blow away the cobwebs of the night before, and blown away they were. The 65 mile round trip was both hampered on the outward leg, and assisted on the homeward leg, by the legendary Falkland’s wind. The trip to Darwin from HMS Gloucester was fought against a westerly head wind and took just over 3 hours 30 minutes, where as the return trip – same distance obviously but wind assisted, took a mere 2 hours and 15 minutes! The reward for this challenge, came at the midway point in Darwin in the form of a hearty ‘Smoko’ at the newly re-opened Darwin House, where the Pusser and the Doc, munched their way through some of the best home made cakes and sandwiches that East Falkland has to offer.
The following weekend alongside, some two weeks after, saw the pair cycle to Stanley, the capital of the Falkand Islands, and the most southerly capital city in the world, and back – an 80 mile round trip. This time the outward leg was wind assisted by the relentless westerly wind and the cycling duo arrived in the capital a mere 2 hours and 8 minutes after leaving the ship. The following day, having taken onboard a full truckers breakfast in Shorty’s Diner and a rather nice slice of cake with coffee at the Seaman’s Mission, the return trip was undertaken. Once again the pair had to face the trials of the roaring westerly wind, which slowed the return leg to 4 hours and 20 minutes. They were also treated to some hail and snow to-boot!
Having successfully completed her Operational Assurance Visit under the guidance of Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), the ship made her way to the Southern Ocean and South Georgia, in company with RFA Gold Rover.
- 11th November.
The primary purpose of the visit is to demonstrate the ability of British Forces South Atlantic Islands to rapidly deploy a joint Task Force anywhere within the South Atlantic Area of Operations. Additionally HMS Gloucester will conduct military presence and reassurance operations to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) personnel who live and work on the Islands.
Look closely and you can make out Grytviken, SG's capital
Whilst in and around South Georgia HMS Gloucester will also be assisting BAS personnel assessing Glacial retreat and environmental change; providing EOD assistance to the Government of South Georgia; and conducting exercise planning and integration with the Government of South Georgia and BAS, including reviewing contingency plans.
Whilst anchored off Grytviken, South Georgia (54.17S, 36.30W) members of the Ship’s Company marked Remembrance Day in the Norwegian Whalers Church in Grytviken.
The Service, which was lead by The Rev Mike Wagstaff RN, HMS Gloucester’s Chaplain, was also attended by Air Cdre G Moulds RAF, Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands; Cdr I S Lower MA RN, Commanding Officer HMS Gloucester, both of whom laid wreaths on behalf of British Forces South Atlantic Islands and HMS Gloucester; Capt P Minter RFA, Commanding Officer RFA Gold Rover; Mr P Lurcock, Government Officer – Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; as well as the local community, made up of British Antarctic Survey and South Georgia Heritage Trust Personnel, and members of RFA Gold Rover’s Ship’s Company.
The Church, which was prefabricated in Norway, was shipped to the Islands in 1913 when a Norwegian Whaling Station was licensed by the British Government. It served the whaling and fishing communities until the whaling station closed in 1964.
The Service which followed the traditional pattern for Remembrance Day was accompanied on the Church’s still functional organ, by LET Clutterbuck of HMS Gloucester, who pumped in air by foot, whilst negotiating the various hymns. It is believed that this was the Southernmost Remembrance service to be held by British Military Personnel this year.
After the Service The Rev Mike Wagstaff, emerged from Church to meet many of the local Parishioners, who had been drawn to the Church by the sound of the Church Bells and organ.
The Journey Home
Her deployment in support of the Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands saw HMS Gloucester (the Fighting G) act as the lead Naval presence in the South Atlantic, supported by both HMS Clyde and RFA Gold Rover.
- 11th December.
Whilst deployed ‘the Fighting G’ undertook Maritime Security Operations, which included the search for Drug Smugglers off the West Coast of Africa following the signing onboard of a new agreement between the UK and Cape Verde; the search for wreckage and potential survivors following the tragic loss of a Trans-Atlantic airliner; numerous military exercises with elements of the British Army and the Royal Air Force based in the Falklands; and a very successful visit to South Georgia, one of the UK’s remotest dependant territories. Other highlights include rounding Cape Horn and transiting the Patagonian Canals. Additionally the Ship’s Company were also put through their paces by FOST during a mid-deployment Operational Assurance Visit.
Each port visit also allowed for the Ship’s Company to engage in charitable work, whether that was cleaning British War graves, painting local schools, or conducting building works for underprivileged children in the slums that are an unfortunate fact of life in some parts of the world.
The Commanding Officer of HMS Gloucester, Cdr Iain Lower MA RN, who hands over his command to Cdr D George RN in January 2010 said, “This has been a very successful deployment. Our achievements reflect the effort put in by the Ship’s Company in preparing for this deployment. HMS Gloucester’s mission in the South Atlantic was to defend the British South Atlantic Territories, deter aggression and ultimately defeat any opposing force if required. We have also assisted in supporting the Government’s wider diplomatic efforts in Cape Verde, Brazil and Chile. It was a mission that we achieved in style. I would like to thank my Ship’s Company for all their hard work and also our Families and Friends who have supported us whilst we have been away. I think that I speak for all onboard when I say that we are looking forward to being at home with our loved ones for Christmas.”
“This deployment has also raised some interesting statistics.” says the Logistics Officer, Lt Cdr Douggie Ward RN, “During this deployment we have travelled over 20,000 miles; sailed on 3 out of 5 oceans - the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Ocean; and visited Europe, Africa, South America and Antarctica. We have received over 1000 spare parts (from light bulbs to helicopter spares) and spent nearly half a million pounds in Sterling and foreign currency. Our Chefs have cooked over 150,000 individual meals, and the Ship’s Company have munched their way through over 35,000 eggs, 24,000 Kg of potatoes and 2,000 Kg sausages and my shopping bill for all this food came to a grand total of £137,647.95”
HMS Gloucester handed over to HMS York at sea on 11 December 2009, who is now on her way to the South Atlantic. HMS Gloucester’s Ship’s Company will now enjoy some well earned leave, before hitting the deck running in the New Year in preparation for Gloucester’s next deployment in early autumn of 2010.
Six months after leaving her home port of Portsmouth, HMS Gloucester has today returned home from a successful deployment to the South Atlantic.
- 21st December
Ship's Lynx Helicopter lifts off for search-and-rescue training off South Georgia
...and from RFA Gold Rover's point of view
RFA Gold Rover in Tristan de Cunha; another British South Atlantic Territory, and officially the most isolated community in the world.
Traditonal crossing-the-line ceremony, paying homage to King Neptune as the ship crosses the equator.
Jamestown, capital of Saint Helena
RFA Gold Rover rescuing the yacht Sea Jade, after a search with seemingly impossible odds
Last edited by happyslapper; 12-28-2009 at 06:16 PM.
2 YORKS: from Afghanistan to the Falklands
A Military Operations news article
20 Nov 08
After a busy year which started in Afghanistan, 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) [2 YORKS] have just returned to their base in Blackpool from a six-week deployment to the Falkland Islands.
Being deployed to the Falklands offered the soldiers of 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) good training opportunities
[Picture: British Army]
The men and women from the 2 YORKS infantry battalion were deployed to the Falklands as the Roulement Infantry Company.
British Army units routinely deploy to the Falklands for six weeks at a time, maintaining an Army presence on the islands. This force, commonly known by its acronym 'The RIC' (phonetically: 'The Rick'), carries out patrols and other military duties at various bases across the Falklands.
While undertaking a live-firing training exercise at Onion Ranges, East Falkland, Major Andrew Roe, Officer Commanding C Company, said:
"We are down here meeting the operational commitment which the Falkland Islands asks us to meet, which is essentially a whole series of individual tasks, such as a quick reaction force, patrols and training for any tasks that we might be asked to fulfil at any time while we are down here."Being deployed to the Falklands offers soldiers good training opportunities as Major Roe explained:
Major Andrew Roe, Officer Commanding C Company 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
[Picture: British Army]
"I think it is superb. Onion Ranges is a truly terrific facility. We have our own camp here that we are using as a mock patrol base. We can use all the natures of ammunition out here on the range and we can do pretty much everything here on this range that we would do on operations. I can really move the company around and achieve some first-class training.For Private Filimone Lacanivalu, aged 29, from Fiji, being deployed to the Falklands was a rare opportunity to see the terrain where one of his family members served in the 1982 conflict. Private Lacanivalu's uncle, Amani Ratini, was a corporal serving in 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment:
"It's a great place to be and particularly demanding. It has four seasons in one hour, you can go from rain to sun to sleet in 30 seconds, so the weather conditions make it particularly tough for the soldiers but they're rising to the challenge."
"He told me this was his most demanding tour, because of the landscape, the terrain, the weather," said Private Lacanivalu.
Soldiers of 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) toured Mount Longdon and were humbled when thinking about the fighting there in 1982
[Picture: British Army]
"He told me you get four seasons in one day here - and you do. Being here has made me realise just how hard it was for him. It was a sad time for him - he saw so many of his mates killed."But Private Lacanivalu added:
"He is still fit and does his PT [Physical Training] every day now [back home in Fiji]."Sergeant David Lightfoot, the Platoon Sergeant of 10 Platoon C Company 2 YORKS, said:
"It's been good to come out here, my first time on the Falklands. When the invasion went ahead, in 1982, it was my fourth birthday. We had a tour of Mount Longdon the other day - the lads in my platoon are pretty cheeky and have a lot to say for themselves, but that day they were all quiet, humbled, thinking about what the guys must have gone through in 1982."
Soldiers of 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) mortar training in the Falklands
[Picture: British Army]
Following pictures of 1 YORKS in 2008:
Young Air Cadet enjoying a trip in a Joint Services EOD Team armoured vehicle.
Soldier from 16 Regt RA monitering airspace prior to a live-firing exercise of the Rapier system
HMS York has arrived in the Falkland Islands
HMS York arrived in the Falkland Islands on 2 Jan 10, having met up with the homeward bound HMS Gloucester and the tanker RFA Gold Rover in the area around Rio de Janeiro
The last of the Type 42 destroyers to be built for the Royal Navy, HMS York for the next six months is assuming duties as the South Atlantic Patrol Ship (known as APT South). She replaces HMS Gloucester.
HMS York is expected to visit Stanley formally towards the end of Jan 10 when the ship will be open to visitors, date and time to be confirmed.
For the remainder of their time in the Falklands HMS York will be conducting routine patrols around the Islands as well as supporting 3 Yorks and 1 Yorks patrols and exercises; visiting the outlying settlements; participating in exercises, particularly with air assets based at BFSAI and generally supporting the 1,200 strong tri-service contingent at the Mount Pleasant Complex.
Launched in 1982 and accepted into service in March 1985, she is the twelfth ship in the Royal Navy to bear the name. Very proud of such a historic name, the ship has a strong affiliation with the City of York who bestowed the Freedom of City on the ship in March 1991.
The ship's sponsor is Lady Gosling and her charities include the Children's ward, York Hospital and the St. Leonards Hospice, York. She has affilitations with Nestle UK Ltd. and The York Lions to name a few.
The Ship's motto 'Bon Espoir' means Good Hope and was the motto of Edmund Langley, the First Duke of York 1341-1402, who was the fifth son of Edward III.
The UK is committed to its responsibility of protecting human rights and foreign policy of the Falkland Islands in international relations and maintains a permanent presence to protect them against military aggression.
For this purpose the Royal Navy has a significant deployment in the South Atlantic. It has the standing commitment known as the Atlantic Patrol South which is central to the ongoing security and protection of the Falkland Islands and other British territories in the region: South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.
Consisting of either a destroyer or frigate, and supported by a RFA vessel and often by a submarine the patrol spends long periods in the South Atlantic visiting the territories and monitoring activities in the waters around them.
The patrol also visits countries in the vicinity to foster good relations in the region through defence diplomacy activities.
We have another short-term contract for the AirBridge, this time Air Tahiti Nui will be using an A340-300 in the role. The contract only lasts from the 6th (today) to the 17th of January.
Thereafter there will more than likely be another short-term contract.
The good news is that for the moment airlines seem to be jumping up and down to get their hands on a reliable MoD contract, the bad news is that come the next holiday season, they might be more keen to fly tourists from hub-to-hub, rather than squaddies and sheep farmers to one of the most isolated places on earth!
I'm sure its a treat for planespotters at Mt. Pleasant and in the UK.
The cost of the service needs to be off-set by regular business and tourist passengers.
I would argue that regular scheduled flights between a Mt. Pleasant and Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo or Capetown connecting with British Airways to Heathrow makes more economic sense.
It's certainly going to add some colour to MPA
There are many, many solutions which would be more economical than making a 16 000mile round trip via another ridiculously isolated airfield... but you know as well as I do that things are not that simple.
The 1999 Agreement was supposed to solve all these niggles and open up the way to the FI to be fully integrated into the South American air transport network, but then a couple of years later things got rather difficult for the Kirchners and the usual shouts of ''Nuestra Malvinas, Volermos... yada yada yada'' happened and it all fell apart. So now we'll have to wait at the very least for another administration.
Ideally we'd have weekly flights to Montevideo, Rio Gellegos, BsAs, Punta Arenas, and the UK.
Tourism is taking care of itself in the islands. They're becoming a routine stop for Antarctic cruises, there's a huge increase in air-tourism, and there's also alot of domestic tourism now that the islanders themselves are pretty well off. I believe the total revenue from tourism last year was around £5million, which is alot for a community of 3000!
The increasingly imminent deep-water port will change everything.
Last edited by happyslapper; 01-06-2010 at 03:19 PM. Reason: spelling
25 ENGINEER REGIMENT ARRIVE FOR EXERCISE KELP EAGLE
25 Engineer Regiment is one of two Air Support Engineer Regiments who provide direct support to the RAF, under command of 12 (Air Support) Engineer Group. Ordinarily, they provide the Lead Air Support Squadron, work closely with the RAF Expeditionary Air Wings and deliver on key tasks such as runway repair, fuel supply, explosive storage, technical and domestic accommodation, and force protection as well as covering the generic combat engineer tasks ranging from water supply to demolitions. In the Falkland Islands, however, they are participating in Exercise KELP EAGLE where they will be conducting a number of demanding high-readiness exercises with the RAF, as well as conducting numerous construction tasks to enhance the Mount Pleasant Complex. A troop is also working remotely from the Regiment to provide real estate enhancements for personnel on the Ascension Islands.
In other news... Air Seychelles has been awaded the MoD Airbridge contract until 10th Sept.
Typhoons of 1435 Flight received their special markings on December 4th 2009.
The Maltese Cross has been the tail marking of all 1435 Flt aircraft (the fighter detactchment stationed in the islands) since the RAF took up the role with Phantoms in 1982, initially operating from Stanley airfield until the completion of Mount Pleasant airbase.
The Maltese Cross symbolises the RAF's struggle to defend another island, Malta, during WW2, managing to keep the Luftwaffe at bay with 3 aged Gloster Gladiators names 'Hope', 'Faith', and 'Charity'.
Today in the Falklands the resident fighters carry the same names, with a fourth named 'Desperation'. The RAF's state-of-the-art Typhoons now continue the tradition.
How long are the Squadron rotation?
Short video of Tyhoon operating from MPA:
Other than the external tanks, it's difficult to discern a loadout.
An old cockpit vid of 1435 Flt Tornado F3s flying down ''A4 Alley'':
Following photos are of HMS Nottingham on her last operational deployment (APT(S)) back in 2008. The destroyer decomissions today.
Ex Cape Bayonet - 17th Dec 07
Alongside at East Cove, Falklands.
At IW3 Buoy just outside Stanley
Gunner covering the insertion during Ex Cape Bayonet (17th Dec 07)
Soldiers of the Black Watch readying kit in the hangar
Final briefing from the ship's Gunnery Officer
Clearing weapons prior to landing craft embarkation.
Locally based LCVP inserting Black Watch soldiers and stores
Preflight checks before supporting the exercise
Gunbay crew in action during gunfire support of troops ashore.
Ops Room at action stations
Other bits of her deployment
Light jackstay with HMS Clyde
The crew taking part in the Falklands half-marathon
...with a prize for best-dressed runner
Bertha's Beach, SG
1435 Flight has been based on The Falklands, initially at Port Stanley and later at MPA since the early 1980s. When first based on the Islands, the Phantoms of 23 Squadron and later 1435 Flight made all landings using arrestor gear owing to the short runway at Stanley, prior to its extension.