On 23 May 1982, HMS Antelope was bombed in San Carlos Bay by Argentine Skyhawk aircraft. The bombs failed to detonate on impact. Whilst being defused one of the bombs exploded and started a major fire. The call for abandon ship was given, and the crew were evacuated. Soon after, the ship’s ammunition exploded and HMS Antelope sank on 24 May 1982.
Alan White a Royal Marine coxswain aboard landing craft F7, one of HMS Fearless’s Landing Craft, received a commendation from Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse (Task Force Commander) for his part in rescuing the crew. Landing craft were used for a wide variety of roles in the Falklands, not only putting troops ashore, but transferring men between ships, movement of stores, even removing rubbish from ships which in those days was dumped at sea.
The day after the sinking, Alan White found in the waters of San Carlos a small ship's plaque for HMS Antelope, which had been mounted on one of the ship’s boats. Ordinarily a common object, the plaque was transformed in significance by the story associated with the sinking and its recovery.
Not only does the museum have the landing craft F7 on which Alan White was coxswain, but we also have the plaque of HMS Antelope that he collected. Alongside this, the museum undertook an oral history interview with Alan for our archives. We can then use these three objects within the collection to tell this part of the story of the Falkland’s conflict. His Falklands campaign medal, along with his other service medals, is on display in the Museum’s medal room.
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