HMS Endurance (1967)
|Fate:||Sold to the Royal Navy, 1967|
|Out of service:||1991|
|Homeport:||Chatham, Medway and Portsmouth, Hants|
|Nickname:||The Red Plum|
|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)|
|Armament:||2 × 20 mm Oerlikons|
|Aircraft carried:||2 × Wasp helicopters (2 Lynx helicopters after 1987 refit)|
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  and assisted in the rescue.
The battle for the Falklands
Endurance was due to be withdrawn from the navy on 15 April 1982 under the 1981 defence review. Indeed her withdrawal from Antarctic patrol without replacement was perceived in Britain  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).
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.
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.
- Obituary of Captain Rodney Bowden, Telegraph 5 Nov 2004
- 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.
- House of Commons debate 23 March 1982; Hansard Vol 20 col 798-801
- Times 25 March 1982, p 13: letter from BG Frew, Hon Sec UK Falkland Islands Committee
- Buxton, Cindy; Annie Price (1983). Survival South Atlantic. London: Granada. pp. xiii, 237p., p. of plates : ill(some col.), maps,col.ports. ; 26cm. ISBN 0-246-12087-8.
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