HMS Endurance (1967)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Endurance.
HMS Endurance (formerly Anita Dan)
Career (Denmark) Flag of Denmark
Name: Anita Dan
Owner: Lauritzen Lines
Launched: 1956
Fate: Sold to the Royal Navy, 1967
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Endurance
Acquired: 1967
Out of service: 1991
Homeport: Chatham, Medway and Portsmouth, Hants
Nickname: The Red Plum
General characteristics
Type: Icebreaker
Displacement: 3,600 long tons (3,658 t)
Length: 93 m (305 ft)
Beam: 14 m (46 ft)
Draught: 5.5 m (18 ft)
Propulsion: 1 × Burmeister & Wain diesel engine
Speed: 14.5 knots (26.9 km/h; 16.7 mph)
Complement: 119
Armament: 2 × 20 mm Oerlikons
Aircraft carried: 2 × Wasp helicopters (2 Lynx helicopters after 1987 refit)
Service record
Operations: Falklands War

HMS Endurance was a Royal Navy ice patrol vessel that served from 1967 to 1991. She came to public notice when she was involved in the Falklands War of 1982.

Service history[edit]

Formerly a Danish vessel, the Anita Dan, built in 1956 by Grogerwerft for the Lauritzen Lines, she was the first Royal Navy vessel named Endurance. Acquired by the Royal Navy in 1967, she was converted by Harland & Wolff and renamed.

The vessel maintained a British presence in Antarctica and the Falkland Islands during the southern summer months. She also supported the British Antarctic Survey. She had a bright red hull, as is common for polar vessels to aid visibility but otherwise uncommon for the Royal Navy, so she was nicknamed The Red Plum by her crew. In February 1972 when the cruise ship Lindblad Explorer ran aground, Endurance was in the vicinity under Captain Rodney Bowden [1] and assisted in the rescue.

The Royal Navy intended to decommission the vessel in 1982, following the defence review of John Nott, but the Falklands War intervened.

The battle for the Falklands[edit]

Endurance was due to be withdrawn from the navy on 15 April 1982 under the 1981 defence review.[2] Indeed her withdrawal from Antarctic patrol without replacement was perceived in Britain [3][4] as having encouraged the Argentine invasion, and the subsequent Franks Report (1983) acknowledged it as a factor (Main entry Events leading to the Falklands War).

HMS Endurance (A-171) in Portsmouth harbour (1988)

On 19 March 1982, while the ship was at Stanley, South Georgia was occupied by Argentinian civilians. The Endurance, commanded by Captain Nick Barker, was sent to order the Argentinians off the island. Endurance had a small Royal Marines detachment and took further Marines from NP (Naval Party) 8901, and sailed on 21 March for South Georgia.

Arriving on 25 March 1982 HMS Endurance encountered the Argentinian transport Bahía Buen Suceso, which had landed 100 Argentine troops. The Endurance landed her marines, then returned to the Falklands on 30 March. In April Britain command ordered the Endurance to join the British task force, which in April landed SBS soldiers at Hound Bay on South Georgia on 22 April.

With the threat of Argentine submarine presence, task force vessels moved into deeper waters but Endurance moved into sea ice near the shore.

Endurance combat action included on 25 April 1982 when two Wasp ASW helicopters flying from Endurance assisted in attacks on the submarine Santa Fe, which was later abandoned by her crew. When the Argentinian forces surrendered on the 26th, the Endurance remained in the vicinity of the island to show the flag, maintain a naval presence, and guard the waters.

Endurance also participated in the rescue of Cindy Buxton and Annie Price, wildlife film-makers who were caught up in the war while working on South Georgia.[5]


Toward the end of her life she acquired the nickname HMS Encumbrance due to reliability problems.

In 1989 she struck an iceberg and although she was repaired, a survey in 1991 declared that the hull was not sound enough for a return to Antarctica and she was finally decommissioned. She was replaced by the MV Polar Circle, later renamed HMS Endurance.


  1. ^ Obituary of Captain Rodney Bowden, Telegraph 5 Nov 2004
  2. ^ Daniel K. Gibran (1998). The Falklands War: Britain versus the past in the South Atlantic. McFarland & Co Inc. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-7864-0406-3. 
  3. ^ House of Commons debate 23 March 1982; Hansard Vol 20 col 798-801
  4. ^ Times 25 March 1982, p 13: letter from BG Frew, Hon Sec UK Falkland Islands Committee
  5. ^ Buxton, Cindy; Annie Price (1983). Survival South Atlantic. London: Granada. pp. xiii, 237p., [64]p. of plates : ill(some col.), maps,col.ports. ; 26cm. ISBN 0-246-12087-8. 

External links[edit]