Felix Rowe takes a close look at a true Cold War icon — a hugely versatile Anti– Submarine Warfare and utility helicopter combat veteran, equally known for its search–and–rescue role.

HMS Hermes with her wing of Wessex, Gannet, Buccaneer and Sea Vixen, Aden, November 1967. (ALL IMAGES KEY COLLECTION UNLESS NOTED)
Wessex HC.2s from 2 Flying Training School.

Clouds of black smoke billow out from the deck of RFA Sir Galahad, which has taken several direct hits. At around 2pm local time, three Argentine A-4 Skyhawks unleashed their deadly 500lb (227kg) retarding tail bombs, leaving the landing ship logistics vessel paralysed and burning in the bay. Helicopters are seen coming to the rescue of the British troops, sailors and Hong Kong Chinese crewmen trapped on board. They occasionally disappear into the smoke to winch personnel to safety, using the down thrust of their rotor blades to push the life rafts away from the ship and towards to the shore. The year is 1982 and the location is Bluff Cove on the Falkland Islands.

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