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Wessex on Fortuna Glacier

Wessex on Fortuna Glacier

'Operation Paraquet' was the mission to retake South Georgia 36 years ago, the mission involved landing a mountain troop of Special Air Service and 42 Royal Marine Commandos on the glacier.
After the troops were landed on the glacier the weather closed in leaving the men struggling in conditions of extreme poor visibility and gale force winds on 21 April. During several repeated rescue attempts the following day by a Wessex 3 (of HMS Antrim) and two Wessex V (845 NAS embarked in RFA Tidespring), the Wessex V aircraft crashed in extreme weather conditions.
The Wessex 3 from Antrim, crewed by Lt Cdr Ian Stanley, Lt Chris Parry (who wrote an excellent book of his exploits 'Down South'), Sub Lt Stewart Cooper and PO ACMN David Fitzgerald, succeeded in rescuing all troops and aircrew in an amazing feat of flying and navigation in desperately poor weather conditions and deteriorating light.
On returning to Antrim, the Wessex 3 (which can today be seen at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton) managed to carry 16 personnel - instead of its normal peacetime capacity of 4, bit of a tight fit!
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