Intrepid’s captain crosses the bar

HMS Intrepid returns to Portsmouth from the Falklands in July 1982 PP691 PPP-160501-113900001
HMS Intrepid returns to Portsmouth from the Falklands in July 1982 PP691 PPP-160501-113900001
Landport Gate, from Garth Groombridges book Portsmouth In 50 Buildings, published by Amberley at �14.99 					All pictures: Garth Groombridge

Stories behind Portsmouth’s historic gates

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Many Falklands War veterans live in this area including some who served in HMS Intrepid.

Rear-Admiral Peter Dingemans commanded the landing ship during the 1982 conflict and he has recently died, aged 80.

Dingemans had commanded Intrepid in 1980 and 1981 when he left her in dry dock for disposal under the John Nott defence review. When Argentina invaded the Falklands in early 1982, a British task force sailed from Britain on April 5 – the same day Dingemans was about to start a new shore job. But he was summoned to resume his command.

Intrepid had fallen into disrepair but 10 days later, thanks to the extraordinary effort of Dingemans and his second-in-command, Bryan Telfer, apart from 22 men, every one of the original ship’s company of 550 had been recalled from Britain and abroad, and Intrepid sailed – stored, armed and fuelled for war.

High morale was recreated and Dingemans described his mission as ‘a cause which we believed in, namely the freedom of the individual, and most importantly knowing that our country was behind us’.

On May 8 Intrepid caught up with the other ships at Ascension Island and sailed south for the Falklands where she was subjected to repeated air attack. She took part successfully in most of the amphibious aspects of the war, and stayed on as a floating hotel, hospital and supply base and helped deal with the remaining Argentine forces after victory on June 14.

The citation for Dingemans’s DSO said he had taken the closest personal charge of his ship’s company and handled his ship magnificently, as well as providing every possible assistance to frigates, aircraft and landing ships.