This 142-page download is the electronic version of the printed book. It has also been produced in an A4 printed book, that has now been reprinted a number of times since its publication on 29th October, 2014. It contains 250 photographs taken by myself, before, during, and after the MOD charter! It is just over 40,000 words in length. For availability of the printed book, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This e-book is best viewed on computers or large tablets. The text and images are rather too small for normal hand-held e-readers.
This account of the RMS St. Helena during the Ministry of Defence charter for the Falklands Campaign of 1982/83 first appeared in abbreviated form in 2006, by Whittles Publishing, Caithness, under the title RMS St. Helena and the South Atlantic Islands, ISBN: 1-904445-24-1
The Falklands chapters were concerned firstly with the ship’s activities with the Task Force as a support ship to HMS Brecon and HMS Ledbury, two coastal mine counter-measures vessels and secondly to her later role as a mini-storeship running between Ascension Island, Port Stanley and Grytviken, South Georgia.
In late 2013, it was decided that the book in its present form, had run its course, and Whittles Publishing kindly agreed for the publishing rights to return to me, so that I could fulfil my wish to produce an enlarged edition. In order that it should not be confused with the original, the new title became RMS St. Helena, South Atlantic Mailship. 120 copies of the enlarged and updated book were printed in January 2014, and sold out by October of the same year.
I had intended to leave it at that, but with another book by one of our Royal Navy petty officers, appearing on the scene, detailing the activities on board the RMS St. Helena from the Royal Navy point-of-view between May and September, 1982, I decided to expand and elaborate on the activities of the ship from the Merchant Navy perspective for the same period.
During those eventful four months, I had taken hundreds of photographs in both colour and black and white. After developing all the black and white negatives, I found that it would have been rather too expensive and time-consuming to print them all, so I packed them away and forgot about them.
In the intervening 32 years, computers and inexpensive negative scanners have come to dominate modern photography. So, out came the negatives, and modern technology was put to good use in picking out a large number of selected images with which to illustrate this book.
The text has also been expanded in order that the book is not merely a repeat of the first one, with a few more images thrown in, but a more comprehensive and well-illustrated account.
As the ship continued as an MOD transport vessel until July 1983, I have also included that section of the charter, including our visits to South Georgia.
I hope members of both sections of the ship’s company, both MN and RN, as well as the officers and men of HMS Brecon, HMS Ledbury and all who sailed in her during those memorable 13 months in the South Atlantic, enjoy this little trip down memory lane.
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Robert A. Wilson, F.R.S.A.