In 1982, when the British Task Force sailed for the South Atlantic it had been quickly realised that extra ships would be needed to transport the vast amounts of supplies and troops to the conflict zone, and so various ships of the UK Merchant fleet were either chartered or requisitioned for use. These ships were called STUFT ships, an acronym that means Ships Taken Up From Trade.
These ship were taken from the UK’s dwindling Merchant Fleet and included tankers, dry cargo, refrigerated cargo, Roll on Roll off ships as well as off shore support ships and ferries as well as two of the most famous passenger liners of their day. They were all quickly converted to their new roles in various naval or civilian dockyards, most had a minimum fit for naval communications as well as SATCOM or SATNAV, sometimes both, they were all fitted with RAS gear and a few had defensive weapons fitted and a helicopter landing deck.
Of the 40 Merchant ships that went south with the Task Force, or who arrived before the surrender in June 1982, 26 of these ships carried small RFA compliments amongst their crews to advise on RAS or to aid with communications. In addition 4 of the ships also carried members of the STO(N) department, more commonly known as the Stonnery to load and handle the cargo, either dry stores or ammunition.
Without these men, who carried out duties on ships for which they were unfamiliar, the conflict in the South Atlantic could never have taken place, as the Royal Navy and RFA would never have been able to transport the men and equipment to the Falklands and they would have found it impossible to maintain an 8,000 mile supply line.
Scottish Eagle was chartered whilst the ship was en route from New York to Portsmouth. The ship arrived in the UK on the 15 May 1982 for RAS gear to be fitted, she sailed for Milford Haven on the 19 May and after loading she sailed for South Georgia on the 24 May. The ship arrived at South Georgia on the 18th June and became a Base Storage tanker there, before moving to the Falklands on the 14 July, eventually leaving Port Stanley on the 26 August 1985, arriving at Plymouth on the 23 October 1985 and after a refit was returned to her owners.
During the Falklands conflict Scottish Eagle was used as a refueling base in San Carlos.
The following pictures have been supplied by Mr Ken Grindrod and Mr Gary Bradley
Uganda alongside being replenished
Refueling at Sea (RAS) with RFA Tidespring
Open and ready for business
Another satisfied customer
The tug Salvageman lying alongside Scottish Eagle with RFA Regent and RFA Resource at Grytviken in 1982
I Shilito (3rd Officer), Simon Langworthy (Deck Cadet) with Carl “Curly” Watts (AB), Dave Andrew from Goole and a Deck Boy
Al (Radio Officer) fishing from a lifeboat
Bob Thomas (AB)
Brian (Chief Cook) and John
Capt Malcolm Whitely (Master) letting people have a go with the SLR Firing heaving lines.
Carl Watts (EDH)
Dave Lloyd (Steward)
Doug and Ken Grindrod (ABs)
Games Night for Officers and Crew in the bar
Ronnie Hanson (Bosun) and Merv Hughes
Gordon Stroud and Vince (ABs) and Nigel (Engine Room)
B Stewart and Simon Langworthy (Deck Cadets)
John (Steward or 2nd Cook)
John in the galley
Karl Dobson (EDH from Grimsby)
Ken Grindrod (AB from Plymouth)
HMS Charybdis alongside
Mally Cunningham and Gary Bradley at Ascension
Mally Cunningham, Stan the Man and one of the other lads ashore in Stanley
Pete Cruikshank (AB from Somalia) and Karl Dobson (EDH from Grimsby)
Stan the Man
Tom (Bosun’s Mate)
Yehuin - Captured Argentinian Tug
Uganda came to us for fuel, the tug Rollicker came to assist, which was just as well because when she got her head lines attached to us the wind took her and she went right out pretty much full length of the ropes.
Her stern was getting pretty close when the tug managed to get in behind her and somehow managed to push her back into position.
When she rammed us as she missed the fenders she broke 3 or 4 of her portholes. right place right time with my camera, down aft.. expensive trip to the garage for her!!!