5 September 1983

Created: 17th September 2000 - Updated: 22 October 2007

Images  colour - me; black and white - Dave McEvoy

On the 5th Sept 1983, the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, in conjunction with HMS Fearless, held an "offloading" exercise off the coast of Dorset.
I was lucky enough to wangle my way onto this and the colour images below are those that I took on this day.

 HMS Fearless, photo taken from the beach at Arish Mell Gap, Dorset

On board a landing craft, heading out to HMS Fearless

Heading out to HMS Fearless, Portland Bill in the background

On the flight deck

The bridge superstructure of HMS Fearless

Landing Craft heading to and from HMS Fearless

Looking back along the flight deck

A landing craft gets into position to enter flooded dock on HMS Fearless

And then does so, carrying a Chieftain Tank and its crew

The MTO, Capt Wallis and crew

A Wessex takes off from Fearless, another was preparing to leave

Sorry about the quality, it was only a little plazzie camera

Heading back to shore

Arish Mell
HMS Fearless sailed into Portsmouth on 18 March 2002 at the end of her final deployment. Then de-commissioned.

From “Dolly” Purton - June 07: I was driving one of the chieftains and being the most reliable 56 tons of rolling dermititous that it was broke down half way between the fearless and the landing craft on the deck. I remember the crew flapping, trying to winch us on, me sat in the driver’s seat watching salty water lapping over the tracks in a ever widening gap and the winch failing, but an eager beaver saved the day by giving us a slave. Whilst driving on the beach the tracks churned up telecom cables, the next day some locals were caught robbing the copper.

Oct 07: A former Royal Navy ship is destined for a scrapyard in Belgium where some of it may be recycled.  The 44-year-old HMS Fearless is to be scrapped five years after it was officially mothballed in Portsmouth, the Ministry of Defence has announced. The 12,000-tonne ship served in both the Falklands conflict in 1982 and the first Gulf war in 1990. It also enjoyed a cameo appearance in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, when it picked up 007. Military officials say "as much as possible" of the ship will be recycled. But one former marine called for the ship to be saved for historic reasons. 

Former Royal Marine Colin Waite, 49, who served on HMS Fearless during the Falklands War, said the ship was key to victory as, along with HMS Intrepid, it landed troops onto shore. Mr Waite, from Barnard Castle, County Durham said: "It is sad because she is a ship with more history than most. Mr Waite, from Barnard Castle, County Durham said: "It is sad because she is a ship with more history than most. "You had the special forces based on Fearless, as well as all the command and control, she was the pivotal point in that war." Defence Minister Lord Drayson said Van Heyghen Recycling was the preferred bidder for the salvage work because of its track record for recycling materials where possible. Fearless was launched in 1963, shortly before a sister ship, HMS Intrepid. During the Falklands conflict, one of the smaller landing craft attached to Fearless, Foxtrot 4, was bombed by an Argentine jet, killing six Royal Marines. In the 1977 Bond movie, Fearless is the ship that picks up the famous spy's escape pod.