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Falklands Landing Craft gets a new lease of life

08 April 2016

Falklands Landing Craft gets a new lease of life

 

A landing craft which helped Royal Marines liberate the Falklands nearly 35 years ago is to enjoy a fresh lease of life – running tourists around Portsmouth Harbour.

Foxtrot Eight was one of four smaller landing craft used by Portsmouth-based assault ship HMS Fearless to ferry commandos and their equipment ashore at San Carlos in May 1982.

After long and fruitful service, Fearless was broken up a decade ago – but two of her landing craft were saved as museum pieces.

One – Foxtrot Seven, used in the evacuation of crew of stricken frigate HMS Antelope – sits outside the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney as a monument to landing craft crew.

Foxtrot Eight was donated to the historic dockyard where she could be seen floating in the Mast Pond – between Action Stations and Boathouse No.4.

With the latter building brought back to life at the end of last year as a centre for small boat building thanks to £6m of investment, the facilities exist to bring F8 back to life.

Volunteers from the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust will team up with students from both the International Boatbuilding Training College Portsmouth and Solent Marine Academy, who share Boathouse 4, to restore the craft – although they face quite a task.

‘The years of retirement sitting in the Mast Pond have not been kind to F8,’ said volunteer Lt Paul ‘Shady’ Lane from survey ship HMS Scott.

‘The hull is riddled with marine growth and many of the fittings – including the engines – are in desperate need of attention.’

Caroline Barrie-Smith, Community Participation and Learning Officer at Boathouse 4, Said: “We would love to hear from veterans, particularly from 40 Commando and the Parachute regiment (3 para) or the 41 rescued from HMS Antelope about the role of these Falkland’s campaign landing craft (both from HMS Intrepid and HMS Fearless) and any personal stories, photographs or experiences people might want to share. We estimate we need in the region of £200,000 to restore her and get her back onto the water. F8 is just one of a number of historic boats being worked on in Boathouse 4 and these small craft never fail to inspire our visitors.”

If the restoration programme succeeds, the landing craft will give disabled visitors in particular a tour of the harbour in an historic vessel – thanks to the bow ramp allowing easier access.

The trust is keen to hear from people who can offer advice on the restoration, or who wants to help out. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.