HMS Endurance was an ice breaking ship that was stationed in the South Atlantic when the Argentinians launched the Falklands War. Her small contingent of marines and her tiny Wasp helicopter were responsible for recapturing South Georgia and sinking the ARA Santa Fe. She returned back to her home port, Chatham on 20th August 1982 in triumph and in celebration a small number of guests were allowed into the base to see the return of the ship. Tonight we have a simple photocopied ticket for this event:
The ticket has been signed and stamped by the MOD police and features a small picture of the ship itself in the bottom left hand corner. The Times Newspaper printed a full story of the ship’s return the following day:
The ice patrol ship HMS Endurance lived up to her name yesterday as she sailed proudly into Chatham Harbour after a tour of duty in the Antarctic that lasted more than 10 months. It included a vital role in the recapture of South Georgia, a role that persuaded the Ministry of Defence to save her from the scrapyard.
Captain Nicholas Barker, the ship’s captain, who had radioed several warnings of the impending Argentine invasion of the Falklands said he regarded operations leading up to the invasion as “sub judice”, but he had not yet been invited to give evidence to the inquiry.
He said he would be leaving the ship within a month or so but that had nothing to do with any controversy over invasion warnings. “This is a day of great pride for us”, he said, “and I don’t want to be involved in the politics of the situation.
“The spirit of the Shackletons has been with us and the crew have been magnificent. They are mostly volunteers for this ship and they were due to come home in May.”
One of the first visitors on board the ship yesterday as she steamed the last few miles into Chatham was Lord Shackleton, son of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the explorer, whose ship also called Endurance, was crushed in the Antarctic ice in 1914…
A flotilla of small boats from the Medway towns provided an escort while on shore the band of the Royal Marines played “Congratulations”, “Rule Britannia” and other suitable tunes, firemen’s hoses threw up multi-coloured sprays, balloons were released, a frigate hooted a welcome, helicopters flew over and thousands of relatives and well-wishers cheered.