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Rfa Sir Galahd Remembered

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I saw this in a post remembering those who lost their lives on RFA Sir Galahd during the Falklands conflict and found it very poignant. Thankfully my two brother in laws came back.  My neighbour didn't, leaving a young wife and family.


In ocean wastes no poppies blow,
No crosses stand in ordered row,
There young hearts sleep… beneath the wave…
The spirited, the good, the brave,
But stars a constant vigil keep,
For them who lie beneath the deep.
‘Tis true you cannot kneel in prayer
On certain spot and think. “He’s there.”
But you can to the ocean go…
See whitecaps marching row on row;
Know one for him will always ride…
In and out… with every tide.
And when your span of life is passed,
He’ll meet you at the “Captain’s Mast.”
And they who mourn on distant shore
For sailors who’ll come home no more,
Can dry their tears and pray for these
Who rest beneath the heaving seas…
For stars that shine and winds that blow
And whitecaps marching row on row.
And they can never lonely be
For when they lived… they chose the sea.

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I took this photo in 1972.

There were six LSLs (landing ship logistic) of the Sir Lancelot class, originally run by the British India Co as merchant troopships and later by the RFA. They would each have a team of up to 30 soldiers on board, from the RCT military port at Marchwood, where they were based - and so was I. We looked after all the vehicles, embarked troops, freight handling, crane operating and also provided a crew to man the two helicopter decks. The ships could also transport 2 Mexiflote motorised landing pontoons which were also manned by RCT seamen and marine engineers.

They were very capable and flexible ships and they had a crucial role in the Falklands War. They could carry a full battalion of infantry, with vehicles, or a commando of Royal Marines.

I served on all six of these ships during my service - some several times - but the Galahad and the Bedivere were always my favourites. They seemed to have the happiest ship's companies.

I have poignant memories of that ship.

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Same here was dragged off HMS Upton and dumped on HMS Pict ( sister ship to the infamous Gaul ) a trawler hastily converted to minesweeping. The memories of the lsl's burning will never leave me unfortunately. God bless them all.


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