Falklands War: 30 years on

Martin Heale

Martin Heale

First published in Taunton Somerset County Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

MARTIN Heale, 50, served as a cook on HMS Alacrity and now lives in Kingston St Mary.

He was just 20 during the Falklands War and was aboard the first ship which came home undamaged by enemy action at the end of June.

He said: “We were the first ones to do the transit between East and West Falkland on May 10, before the troops landed.

“Just five years ago, I found out that an Argentinian submarine had been at the northern exit of the channel and had fired torpedoes at us but luckily they missed.

“We were escorting the Atlantic Conveyer when it was hit. She was going into Bomb Alley to be unloaded after the landings.

“We were told that survival time in the water was minimal – the water was cold and hypothermia sets in quickly.

“The whole ship’s company was on the upper deck to help the survivors.

“All we thought about was getting people out of the water. You just focus on the job.

“It was unbelievable – I would describe it as organised panic.

“There were a couple of other times when I thought we wouldn’t make it home – we were bombed on May 1.

“The explosion took the back end of the ship out of the water. I remember hearing the engines scream in disgust at not being able to go through the water.

“It was strange – you get used to the background noise of the engines. The anniversary does spark off a few memories. I had trained with three other chefs who died out there.”

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10:52am Wed 4 Apr 12

Dorset Katherine says...

If you are reading this, hello and what an interesting article Martin! I was girlfriend of Clive 'Dickie' Davis at the time of the war, who served with you as a sonar operator on HMS Alacrity. (He would have been a year or so younger than you). It's not often you read anything about Alacrity, so great to hear what you are up to. Clive was eventually airlifted off with the injured, as a stump mast (??) fell and broke his foot in stormy conditions whilst you were all rescuing survivors from the bombed Atlantic Conveyor. Somewhere in the attic I still have all the letters sent to me from the Falklands and have never opened them again in 30 years. Maybe the anniversary will prompt me to take a peek! It was a very traumatic time for everyone and I just hope politicians can keep the peace for the future. I don't feel 'safe' since our forces have been cut back and pared down to the bare bones since the 80s. Thanks again for the article Martin, good to remember Alacrity and what a great job you all did.
If you are reading this, hello and what an interesting article Martin! I was girlfriend of Clive 'Dickie' Davis at the time of the war, who served with you as a sonar operator on HMS Alacrity. (He would have been a year or so younger than you). It's not often you read anything about Alacrity, so great to hear what you are up to. Clive was eventually airlifted off with the injured, as a stump mast (??) fell and broke his foot in stormy conditions whilst you were all rescuing survivors from the bombed Atlantic Conveyor. Somewhere in the attic I still have all the letters sent to me from the Falklands and have never opened them again in 30 years. Maybe the anniversary will prompt me to take a peek! It was a very traumatic time for everyone and I just hope politicians can keep the peace for the future. I don't feel 'safe' since our forces have been cut back and pared down to the bare bones since the 80s. Thanks again for the article Martin, good to remember Alacrity and what a great job you all did. Dorset Katherine
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