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SCRAM -Helicopter war in the Falklands 1982

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SCRAM -Helicopter war in the Falklands 1982

Old 1st Apr 2012, 10:11
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SCRAM -Helicopter war in the Falklands 1982

What a gripping book by "Harry Benson" - On sale now.

If anyone wants a factual account of the Helicopter war in the Falklands 1982, read on.

Gripping first-hand accounts of the helicopter war in the Falklands are told for the first time in a new book by one of the youngest helicopter pilots to serve in the campaign.

Navy commando helicopters from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset flew most of the land-based missions during the Falklands War, inserting SAS patrols, rescuing survivors of Exocet attacks, mounting daring missile raids and supporting troops.

But while the story of the politics, the task force ships, the Sea Harriers, the landings, and the land war are well-known and documented, almost nothing has been written of the young commando helicopter pilots and aircrewmen.

Harry Benson, a 21-year-old ‘acting’ sub-lieutenant when the war began, has interviewed 40 of his former colleagues for his new book, Scram! It vividly evokes the airmen’s dangerous world and the skill, initiative, humour, and luck with which they faced their tasks.

The book takes its title from the word helicopter pilots used to warn each other to go to ground or risk being shot down as Argentine jets blasted through bomb alley. Mr Benson, who lives in West Somerset with his family, decided to write Scram! after realising at a rare reunion that few of the aircrew knew of each other’s experiences.

He said: “I was transfixed. I knew little of the dramatic rescues from the burning ships and even less of the harrowing story of being on the wrong end of an Exocet strike. I had absolutely no idea that anybody had gone head to head with an Argentine A-4 Skyhawk or the dreaded Pucara, or been strafed by a Mirage and survived.”

Among the many harrowing images of the Falklands War are the burning shells of the landing craft Sir Tristram and Sir Galahad after the attack on them by Argentine Skyhawks. With no idea whether the Skyhawks would return, helicopters flew into action saving many lives.

In his foreword, Julian Thompson, commander of 3 Commando Brigade during the Falklands War, recalls that the call to scram “was a regular feature of life down south, especially during the first six days after we landed while the Royal Navy fought and won the Battle of St Carlos Water; arguably the toughest action by British troops against enemy air attacks since Crete in 1941.

“I would watch, heart in mouth, as the junglies (Commando Helicopters) headed for folds in the ground, remaining, burning and turning until the enemy had left.”

And he brings the aircrews’ task into even sharper focus when he adds: “We went south with far too few helicopters initially. Those we had were flown every hour they could be; often with bullet holes in fuselages, red warning lights on in cockpits.”

Last edited by Holer Moler; 1st Apr 2012 at 15:32.
Holer Moler is offline  
Old 1st Apr 2012, 13:34
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: England
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Thanks for the info...

(And I'm sure you meant "gripping" in the opening line!)
P6 Driver is offline  
Old 1st Apr 2012, 15:10
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Picked this up today, looks very interesting.
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Old 1st Apr 2012, 15:35
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P6 - Edited. Thats why I am a "Peelot" not an ingrish teacher. Thanks. Great read anyway.
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