Falklands 40: Headlines from The News, Portsmouth on May 17, 1982

Portsmouth ships were in the thick of the action in the Falklands, as the decision was imminent on whether to launch a task force to retake the islands.

Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:55 am

Portsmouth in there fighting, city ship softens up invaders

Portsmouth ships once again played a vital role in tightening the grip on the Argentine forces in the Falklands at the weekend.

In the daring and brilliantly-executed Commando raid on Pebble Island, a Portsmouth-based destroyer shelled shore positions.

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HMS Hermes leaves for the Falklands

Sea Harrier jets from the carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible were responsible for the repeat raid on Port Stanley airfield, and for the attack on two Argentinian vessels in the Falklands Sound.

The raids reinforced speculation that an invasion of the islands is imminent, and some sources believe such action could only be a few days away.

Cmdr Tony Provost, commander of Invincible, told a reporter that ‘time is running out’. Troops could not be kept waiting around at sea forever, he said.

The weekend’s dramatic events began on Saturday morning, when a band of 50 commandos landed by helicopter on Pebble Island and made their way towards a vital Argentinian airstrip and ammunition dump.

The News on May 17, 1982

They were covered by heavy fire from a Portsmouth-based destroyer. Its 4.5-inch guns fired 100 shells in 30 minutes, and are believed to have destroyed an important Argentinian radar installation.

Their path lit by star shells from the destroyer, the commandos destroyed 11 Argentinian aircraft and blew up an ammunition dump. They all returned, with two men only slightly hurt.

There were more attacks on the Port Stanley airfield later on Saturday. Nearby military installations were also attacked.

The Port Stanley raids were part of the continuing enforcement of the exclusion zone, said the Ministry of Defence.

Invasion decision looms

Mrs Thatcher is expected to decide within the next 48 hours whether to order the task force to re-take the Falklands.

Unless there is an unexpected breakthrough at the United Nations negotiations, the invasion - so long rumoured to be imminent - now appears certain.

After the Pebble Island assault and fresh action by Sea Harriers yesterday, the task force commanders are convinced they have a stranglehold on the islands and have cut off all supplies to and between the Argentine garrisons.

Defence Secretary Mr John Nott warned yesterday after a five-hour meeting of the War Cabinet that time was running out for talks - and it would soon be time for action.

Sheffield crew to fly home

Relieved and happy Portsmouth wives have been told that their husbands and sons who survived the HMS Sheffield tragedy are due home on May 25.

The men will be flown from Ascension Island to RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, in VC10 aircraft.

Date and time of arrival are provisional, subject to operational requirements and weather conditions, said a spokesman for the Naval and Personal Family Service at H.M.S. Nelson, Portsmouth.

It is expected that the planes will arrive between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Arrangements are to be made to allow wives and parents to meet their loved ones.

Fine if you’re fit

Super-fit youngsters from Portsmouth and Havant area schools took part in a gruelling two-day Superteams contest at the weekend, culminating in gymnasium tests at HMS Nelson, Portsmouth.

The event featured 136 youngsters from 11 south Hampshire schools.

It followed closely the lines of the Superstars contest seen on television.

Youngsters competed in the swimming pool, at St Vincent School, Gosport, in track and field, at the Gosport submarine base HMS Dolphin, and in the gymnasium.

Prizes were presented by the Chamber President (Mr Rowe) with the John Kill Memorial Trophy for boys going to Portchester Comprehensive School, and the Metal Box Trophy for girls to Wakeford School, Havant.