Fearless had been launched in 1962 in Belfast and was a pioneering design of warship whereby the entire stern of the ship would flood until the after end was low enough for a huge door to open and four of these landing craft to simply float out fully loaded from an internal vehicle deck. Four other smaller craft were launched from the ships side from davits.
The four larger craft were known as Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk 9 and were numbered Foxtrot 1 to 4. They could carry over 100 personnel at a time or one large vehicle with a mixture of equipment and personnel.
But on 8 June an air attack in an area known as Bluff Cove devastated the two RFA's Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram leading to dozens of deaths and 150 wounded personnel, mostly through burns. On a second wave the F4 was located and took a direct hit from a bomb and was severely damaged.
With eight crew on board, there were only two survivors and the vessel was crippled and sinking . A radio call was sent out for help and this was answered by the supply ship Monsunen which took her in tow in a desperate attempt to save her.
Plaques to the six who died that day were put up on board the Fearless as well as on the Falkland Islands which were successfully taken back from the Argentine invaders after a total of three months.
Today the six members of F4 crew who died that day are remembered every year by their families and also the current Royal Marines LCU crews of HMS Albion and Bulwark, the two ships that replaced Fearless and Intrepid.
Those who died on board F4 are -
MEA A.S. James
Colour Sergeant Brian Johnston
Marine R.D. Griffin
LMEM D. MillerSergeant R.J. Rotherham
Marine A.J. Rundle
It is my aim to write a book on Foxtrot 4. If you can help in any way with photographs, stories or experiences involving this vessel then please get in touch email@example.com