Ready to invade, task force prepares for Falklands orders
Britain’s task force fleet is fast approaching invasion readiness. For although peace talks are continuing, the feeling amongst crew and correspondents aboard the Falklands Fleet is that invasion of the islands could be only days - or even hours away.
The task force Commander Rear-Adml Sandy Woodward is ready to invade and, with the Canberra and other supply ships nearing the Falklands exclusion zone, that moment could be soon.
The crewmen are aware of this fact - so too, are the Argentinian forces. President Galtieri told British reporters yesterday that he believed the decision whether to invade would be made in the next few days.
Task force crewmen are running sweepstakes on the time of an invasion. It is something for which they have prepared, mentally and physically, over these long weeks at sea.
On the flagship, the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, the crew is aware that Tuesday’s attack by Argentinian Skyhawk jets may have been aimed at their ship.
It is thought that 12 Skyhawks launched a three-wave attack, and the first wave got within four miles of the warships protecting Hermes.
Two jets were shot down by missiles from the frigates Broadsword or Brilliant. Another, it has been revealed, ditched into the sea, presumably while avoiding fire from the ships.
And after the second-wave attack, the crew of one British warship were counting their lucky stars. A Skyhawk scored a hit on their vessel - but the missile went clean through the plating and out again without exploding.
Day eight - and talking goes on
Britain’s so called ‘War Cabinet’ met again today as intensive negotiations entered the eighth day at the United Nations in a bid to resolve the Falklands Crisis without further bloodshed.
But the British Government, although relieved that at least this negotiating channel remains open, is far from optimistic about the outcome.
Ministers are becoming increasingly sceptical about the likelihood that Argentina will budge over the crucial issue of sovereignty, despite some apparently hopeful-sounding statements from some members of the junta, including General Galtieri himself.
Good news for Sheffield dad
These scenes of health and happiness will soon be winging their way across the Atlantic to a father who does not yet know that his second daughter has just been born.
For Petty Officer Mark Warner, 23, who escaped injury when HMS Sheffield was attacked last week, the news of the birth of Holly at St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth, at 1.30am today, will come as a huge relief.
‘The baby was due on Monday so I expect Mark is getting anxious,’ said proud mum Mrs Frances Warner, 24, of Hilsea.
History hidden in chimney
Steeplejacks demolishing a 90ft Portsmouth hospital chimney have stumbled on a mystery find - with the only clues dating to the First World War.
While removing the bricks, they discovered a curious and badly eroded metal box containing a ‘time capsule’ of small treasures - 50ft above ground.
The finds included rifle bullets, various buttons from the Army and Portsmouth Borough Police Force, a beret stud, a 1910 farthing, and a rifle oil bottle.
Londoners Michael Bull, 25, and Gary Garcide, 28, made the find at St Mary’s Hospital, Milton.