On This Day…
On the 8th June 1982 Foxtrot 4 was bombed by two Argentine Air force A-4B Skyhawks
On this day in 1982 (during the Falklands War) Cpl Bob Bruce, who led a line detachment in 5th Infantry Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron, was on landing craft (LCU) Foxtrot 4 from HMS Fearless sailing from Goose Green to join the Brigade Headquarters at Fitzroy. With the British Army’s 5th Infantry Brigade separated from their vital communications vehicles back at Goose Green, Foxtrot 4 had been been despatched in poorly charted waters and under a significant threat of air attack.
For Bruce, a non-swimmer, the future looked bleak
On board was a crew of eight from the Royal Marines and Royal Navy, six Land Rovers with trailers and nine soldiers. After several hours sailing and when it was getting dark the Foxtrot 4 was spotted in Choiseul Sound and bombed by two Argentine Air force A-4B Skyhawks. The stern and wheelhouse were hit and six of the crew were killed. For Bruce, who was a non-swimmer things looked bleak. The water was freezing cold and they were over a mile from land in the gathering dark. Both life rafts had been damaged and no alarm message had been sent. They managed to move the vehicles forward to lift the stern and get one of the radios working and radio for assistance. Eventually they were found and after Corporal Bob Taylor had destroyed the crypto, the 11 survivors and one working radio were winched off. Taylor subsequently was Mentioned in Despatches.
The night after the air attack the Monsunen, a 326 ton coaster owned by the Falkland Island Company that had been captured during the Argentine invasion, intercepted Foxtrot 4 en route to Fitzroy and in view of the much needed equipment and vehicles that was on board, attempted to take the damaged LCU under tow but the rope snagged. The rope was eventually freed and a second attempt was made to tow the LCU back to Goose Green but this attempt also failed and Foxtrot 4 sank.
Part of The Falklands War exhibiton at the Royal Signals Museum