Commanding the task force was Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward. Woodward was a highly regarded officer, and was a submariner by trade. His forces first headed for Ascension Island; when they sailed, it was still largely thought that a diplomatic solution would be found to the crisis. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government thought it essential to get the task force on the way. Any delay in their sailing would lessen Britain's resolve as viewed by the rest of the world.
|HMS Hermes sails from Portsmouth for the South Atlantic|
THE FALKLANDS WAR, APRIL - JUNE 1982© Crown copyright. IWM (FKD 208)
HMS Hermes (R12)
HMS Hermes' construction began during World War II, but she did not enter service until 1959. Originally a traditional aircraft carrier with catapults and arresting gear, she was modified to be a vertical/short take off and landing (VSTOL) during her 1980-81 refit. She sailed for the Falklands with an air group of 12 Sea Harrier fighters and 18 Sea King helicopters.
HMS Invincible (R05)
HMS Invincible was commissioned by the Royal Navy in July 1980. At the beginning of the crisis, there was an agreement in place to sell the vessel to the Royal Australian Navy. Regardless, Invincible set sail for the South Atlantic with an air group of 8 Sea Harrier and 12 Sea King.
HMS Antrim (D18), commissioned 1970
HMS Glamorgan (D19), commissioned 1966
HMS Sheffield (D80), commissioned 1975
HMS Glasgow (D88), commissioned 1977
HMS Coventry (D118), commissioned 1978
HMS Broadsword (F88), commissioned 1979
HMS Brilliant (F90), commissioned 1981
HMS Yarmouth (F101), commissoned 1960
HMS Plymouth (F126), commissioned 1961
HMS Arrow (F173), commissioned 1976
HMS Alacrity (F174), commissioned 1977
The stories of these ships, and the others that participated, will be told in the coming days...