Foxtrot 8

The only surviving seaworthy craft from the Falklands war will make the short trip across the Solent from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to feature at Isle of Wight Armed Forces Day later this month.

Foxtrot 8 (F8) is best known for her contribution in the South Atlantic, during the 1982 Falklands war. F8 was one of four vessels of its type carried on board HMS Fearless. With her sister craft, F8 played a major part in landing Royal Marine and Paratroop contingents on the Falkland Islands at San Carlos Water, later to be known as ‘Bomb Alley’. These craft helped maintain a continuous flow of stores and support ashore, pausing only for enemy air raids.

Ian Dore, event organiser, said: “There is nothing glamorous about war and F8 is a reminder of some of the grim experiences of battle.Equally though, it reminds us of the courage of those involved. Not just the troops on the craft going ashore on the Islands, but those operating the craft itself. F8 is in incredible shape and is literally floating history. A relic from a war that took place, just shy of 8,000 miles away, 42 years ago. It is a craft that is bristling with heritage and is with us at the event. History cannot be avoided, and we can and should learn from the past. This really is something special and you’ll be able to engage and get aboard.”

F8 will be based at Ryde Marina alongside a Combat Support Boat from 17 Port and Maritime. A landing raft — known as a Mexiflote — used by the Royal Logistic Corps, will be displayed on Ryde sands.The Combat Support Boat is a powerful, versatile craft which has a major role in supporting both bridging and amphibious operations. It’s a general-purpose working boat that also supports diving and ship-to-shore operations and re-supply support.

Ian added: “Thanks goes to Mermaid Gin for sponsoring this vessel and the synergy is obvious. With what their team achieved after completing the World’s Toughest Row with them crossing the Atlantic, it couldn’t be more appropriate. Paul Berry is an ex-Naval Petty Officer and with all of them, there is a natural affinity with the sea. Foxtrot 8 will be on display for you to interact with, in Ryde Marina. For those with an interest of waterborne craft, history, heritage and courageous spirit; the first pontoon by the slipway is your first port of call. A real mix of the old and the new. Ahoy hoy!”

Foxtrot 8 - San Carlos Falklands -Crown Copyright