We Went to Springtrain

We went to Exercise Springtrain

Ships were ready for sun and rain

New ships would join, following operations on the Main


Coventry had been the first on Armilla, others had followed.

The exercise would end early, we would sail south,

Families Day and Easter leave were forgotten.


Preparing for war, securing for action, removing anything that could stop pump suction.

At Ascension we anchored for days

We took on stores and soaked up some rays.


The weather got worse as we sailed south, the World Service was our only news source.

May first was Black Buck day

I watched it in the ops room on my radar display


Next day was another victory, of sorts.

The sinking of Belgrano was valid

She was outside the TEZ, her escorts sailed away

All sailors mourn their sailing buddies, in the cold waters of South Atlantic the sea took their bodies.


On May fourth there were more lives lost,

On the horizon I saw Sheffield after we’d gone to action stations.

I thought I only knew one man onboard the Sheff, turned out I knew a lot more.


The weeks went on, more Vulcan raids, weather-wise – winds and rains.

Aircraft were lost on both sides,

Some days before the official landings

SF had a helo bird strike, their biggest single loss since WW 2.

Other SF were already ashore before the Paras and Booties waded.


Ardent was bombed multiple times

Then Antelope exploded during the night.


May 25th, National Day, we expected more than usual to happen.

Atlantic Conveyor, still loaded with stores, was hit by two missiles, at least one exploded.

Coventry took three bombs, two went boom, we were too close to land, not enough room.

Helos winched from water and raft, most of us went to Broadsword, fore and aft.

“Always look on the bright side of life” we sang

As we transferred to Fort Austin in Falkland Sound.


Three days later a new island was in view,

South Georgia was the landfall, and the QE2.


Around the Falkland more ships were hit, more deaths we bore Galahad, Tristram, Foxtrot 4.


June 11th we reached Southampton, families welcomed us home.


Many sailed as boys, we all returned as men.


There were 258 heroes of Corporate,

They remain on patrol. They have no memory.

Keith “Dougie” Douglas