HMS Yarmouth

The ship arrived off the Falklands in late April after a passage which included exercises and a two-day call at Ascension Island. Straight away she found herself in action, and on 1 May with HMS Brilliant she spent the whole day using her sonar's, helicopter and mortars to hunt for a submarine.

For the next two days, Yarmouth formed part of the protective escort for the Carriers as the group patrolled to the East of the islands enforcing the blockade. When on 4 May Sheffield was hit by an Exocet missile. Arrow and Yarmouth having narrowly been missed by a second missile, went to her aid. While Arrow was fighting the fire, Yarmouth fought off a possible submarine attack. She was then joined Arrow alongside Sheffield and fought the fire until the destroyer was abandoned and the survivors were taken off.

For the next four days of foggy weather Yarmouth remained with the carrier group, before being; despatched to take the still floating, Sheffield in tow. She went along side the stricken ship in the early hours of 9 May and passed a tow. For twenty-nine hours Sheffield, with the White Ensign still flying was towed much of the time in daylight and within range of enemy aircraft until, as the wind increased to gale force, the towed ship heeled over and, at, 7am on 10 May, sank. Yarmouth headed back towards the Task Force.

A week of storms followed and Yarmouth the oldest escort ship in the Tank Force rode out the weather with no damage despite her twenty-two years. On 19 May, the amphibious landing group arrived, joined the Task Force and headed West to the Falkland Sound. The amphibious landing took place in the early hours of the 21 May in San Carlos Water. Yarmouth'S task was to provide anti-submarine and anti-air Protection. Throughout the bright, sunny day she patrolled in Falkland Sound as enemy Mirage and A4 aircraft attacked both the landing area in San Carlos Water and the ships protecting the landing force. During one such attack in the afternoon, Ardent was hit and set on fire. Shortly afterwards a wave of Skyhawks again attacked Ardent which immediately began to list and to burn more fiercely. Yarmouth went to her aid and took off the ship's company as the fire spread towards the magazines. She then headed for San Carlos Water where she transferred ARDENT's crew to SS Canberra before resuming her patrol in the Sound.

The next ten days saw Yarmouth in San Carlos Water by day and leaving at dusk each night to carry out a variety of tasks including shore bombardment, anti-submarine patrols, covert operations and escorting merchant ships to and from the landing area. Each morning at dawn she returned to San Carlos Water to provide anti-aircraft protection for the landing ships. This was a particularly testing, time for the two hundred and fifty men onboard as they spent the daylight hours at Action Stations, subject to frequent air attacks, and with little time for sleep at night. Many ships present at that time suffered damage from air attacks and only the concentrated fire of Yarmouth's 4.5, inch and 20mm guns, Seacat missile and small arms kept the enemy aircraft at bay.

After this testing period, Yarmouth sailed East to the repair area and spent two days with a repair ship where she carried out essential maintenance before rejoining the Task Force. Most nights during the following week 6 - 13 June the ship was involved in bombarding enemy positions to the West of Port Stanley with her 4.5 inch guns. During the conflict she fired well over a thousand rounds, some thirty-two tons of shells. The ship's machinery performed marvellously as Yarmouth dashed nearly two hundred miles each way to and from the Islands at high speed to carry out the bombardment by night and arrive back with the battle group to replenish fuel and ammunition before heading inshore once more.

On one such mission the ship encountered a small coaster packed with Gurkhas and essential supplies, immobilised by a rope around her propeller and prey for enemy aircraft. Yarmouth's diving team freed her screws, and the vessel was able to proceed to Goose Green. On another night the frigate stood by and provided firefighting and medical aid to HMS Glamorgan when the destroyer was hit by an Exocet missile fired from shore near Port Stanley

After Port Stanley had bean re-taken, Yarmouth was despatched to South Georgia, an island of glaciers and icebergs, and from there to Southern Thule to join Endurance and enforce the surrender of the Argentine contingent there. She later took the prisoners of war from South Georgia to Port Stanley.

Falklands War | British Ships

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by Stephen Luscombe