Royal Naval Museum

Blueys - What would you write home?

Sailors in the Task Force had few chances to contact home.  Before mobile phones and e-mail, families relied on airmail letters known as ‘blueys’. Ships took every opportunity to transfer mail.  Every time ships met, or a helicopter landed, they passed precious letters. Despite this letters could take three weeks to arrive. 

The Task Force South exhibition gives visitors the chance to write their own bluey and record their own memories, explain the impact on their families or simply tell us what they think of the exhibition.  Read some of the best blueys below...

Andrew Weston, Marine Engineer in HMS Bristol, 1982

HMS Bristol sailed south on the 10th May 1982 as part of the second wave of the Task Force. This was my first trip in the RN as an 18 year old Marine Engineer. The days on the way down were spen training for what might happen. The day we got to the TEZ (Task Exclusion Zone), HMS Coventry and Atlantic Conveyor got hit, which brought us all into the thick of it and was a wake-up call that everything was real.  We spent our time as early warning picket out west so we were at action stations when the planes flew east.

80% boredom, 20% brown trouser time!

4th May 1982 – HMS Yarmouth

Unknown author

Today the Yarmouth was meant to be deployed in the Middle East. Today we are alongside HMS Sheffield trying to contain the fires that are out of control. Most of us don’t know that the second of the two Exocets fired has missed us by a few hundred feet.  The hours spent alongside her passed like minutes, we left her when the fire appeared to be spreading alongside the Seadent magazine. A few days later we were back to tow her to South Georgia. A contribution of bad weather and internal water caused her to sink early on 10th May. This wasn’t the last time we’d be assisting – HMS Ardent on 21st May, Glamorgan on 12th June. How did we get through? No idea. To these who will remain down south forever, we remember you every day.

1st Lt. Nicolas De Natale, Argentine Air Force

I was six years old, I remember the magazines that father bought me, they said that we were winning the war, and suddenly we lost.  I just feel proud of my countrymen that fought at that war because the courage and the brave missions that they accomplished against the most technological fleet and weapons.

I’m 31 years old, I’m a helicopter pilot of the Argentine Air Force and now I’m working with a lot of British Officers in Cyprus. I have a lot of friends in the British Army now so I feel very happy about that.

The exhibition is great. Thank you very much.

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