In April 1982 as the Falklands War got underway, the destroyer HMS Antrim, found herself steaming south through the Atlantic to spearhead the operation to recover South Georgia from the Argentinians. Equipped with 4.5 inch guns, anti-aircraft missiles and four Exocet missiles, she also carried one Wessex III helicopter, affectionately known as Humphrey, which was to play an extraordinary part in the subsequent action.
Antrim's helicopter Observer, one of a crew of four, was 28-year-old Lieutenant Chris Parry. He was quickly in the thick of the action when the crew was ordered to land an SAS party on the forbidding Fortuna Glacier - a mountain of ice rearing straight up out of the freezing south Atlantic waters. Buffeted by storm-force winds and driving snowstorms, and flying with almost zero visibility, they managed to land and disembark the men - only to be forced to return the following day, in even more appalling conditions to retrieve the SAS party, all of whom were in imminent danger of perishing on the glacier.
In fact he, like the seemingly indestructible Humphrey, lived to see much more action. Within days they were in pursuit of an Argentine submarine which was suspected of being in the vicinity of South Georgia. Parry and his fellow aircrew then went on to take part in the landings at San Carlos and experience the intensity of Bomb Alley.
For ten weeks, from the outbreak of hostilities to the Argentinian surrender and beyond, Chris Parry kept a daily diary which recounts in extraordinarily vivid detail the action at sea, on the ground and in the air, as well as daily life on board ship. There are moments of high drama but also sombre reflections and occasional high jinks, and a wonderful array of characters from an unsure Padre to the dignified but crestfallen Argentinian submarine captain. For years the diary was lost as Parry pursued his successful naval career but recently it has been transcribed, to provide a quite unforgettable account of naval and helicopter action during the Falklands War.