Remembering The Falklands

Former merchant seaman Neil Hardy shared with us all his experience on board The Elk during the Falklands conflict

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More than 38 Rotarians and guests were informed and entertained by former Rotarian and recently retired RNLI Operations Officer Neil Hardy at our meeting this week.

Neil was on board "The Elk", a P&O Ferrymasters ship which was the first merchant vessel to be requisitioned following the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982. The ship, usually running the route between Middlesbrough and Northern Europe, was sent south to help the war effort.

Neil explained in detail how the 'task force' was assembled and what he and his crew mates had to do to support the armed forces to retake the islands. It has to be remembered that this was more than 40 years ago, so elements such as health and safety were rather differently handled then. "Different times" is the expression often used!

From transporting tonnes of ammunition, guns and even helicopters to the conflict, to organising the offloading of equipment on arrival, it was a very busy time for the crew, many of whom had never even been south of the equator previously. And for crew members used to a 'two weeks on, two weeks off' work pattern, spending more than five months away form home was something of a shock to the system.

On behalf of all present , Rotarian Tim Arnold proposed a vote of thanks to Neil for coming to speak to us do eloquently.

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