The Dockyard is a Worker of Miracles


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“The First Sea Lord… decreed that HMS Hermes was under just 72 hours’ notice to sail…” It’s the day after the Argentinians invaded The Falklands and Margaret Thatcher announces that Britain would send a task force. Just a few days later, the task force was ready for war. This is the story of the dockyard workers who rose to that challenge, many of whom had just received redundancy notice.

Flagship HMS Hermes was in a state of disrepair, “…an assisted maintenance period in Portsmouth Royal Dockyard. From the top of her main mast right down to her flightdeck, she was covered in scaffolding, much of her main machinery was ashore in the civilian workshops when the call came…”

We hear accounts from two former Portsmouth dockyard workers who worked round the clock to achieve this enormous task, Clifford Ball and Mike Huitson. These are voices not usually heard but without whom, the task force could not have sailed.

We also hear from Andrew Cave, who Served on HMS Hermes. He’s now working to ensure that the thousands of dockyard workers from across the UK and Gibraltar, are commemorated for their herculean effort in readying the warships, troop carriers and supply vessels to sail 8,000 miles and fight a war with no land-based air support, in just a matter of days.

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Supported by SAMA (82) in collaboration with TheVeteran.UK

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