Royal Naval Museum




Sent by John Lippiett, Executive Officer in HMS Ambuscade during the Falklands Campaign, 198

Sailors in the Task Force had few chances to contact home.  Before mobile phones and e-mail, families relied on self-adhesive airmail letters known as ‘blueys’.  At every given opportunity, ships and helicopters transferred precious letters but despite this, mail could take three weeks to arrive.  Some unlucky sailors never received their letters – several loads went missing or fell into the sea during transfer.

The Curator’s Choice this month is a collection of blueys sent by John Lippiett of HMS Ambuscade to his family in the U.K. As Executive Officer it was also his job to read and censor the ship's out-going post. The letters displayed here are currently on loan from John Lippiett and can be seen alongside other personal items in the ‘Task Force South’ exhibition.

"Darlings Louisa and Marc,

A quick letter to tell you that I am growing a beard – only two days old but it looks like one already – hope it doesn’t turn white!

I have to sleep in my clothes at night just in case I have to jump out quickly to work. It’s been very tough recently with big waves and white seas. Rather impressive but the ship moves around a lot. Still, I never feel seasick. You will enjoy coming to sea in it one day, to see what I do. Looking forward to seeing you. Look after your precious Mummy.

All my love, Daddy."

Image of Bluey sent by John LippiettFront of Bluey sent by John Lippiett

The new book War and Peas; Intimate letters from the Falklands War, based on John’s fascinating letters is available in the Museum shop. You can also hear ‘War and Peas’ serialised on Radio Four’s ‘Today’ programme.

 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.  Click here to read some of the best blueys.

back to top