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A Chronicle of HMS FEARLESS’ Falklands War: Day By Day Account 31 March-14 July 1982 (John R M Prime, Self-Published, £15 inc. P&P)

04 Apr 23

This is not a conventional naval history book, or account of the Falklands War. Rather, it is, as John Prime, the Operations and Navigating Officer onboard HMS Fearless during Operation CORPORATE, explains, intended to “shine a light as to what FEARLESS was involved in and certainly not to be another historical non-fiction book about the overall Falklands War”. A Chronicle of HMS FEARLESS’ Falklands War is based on daily posts made to the HMS Fearless Facebook site from April to July 2022, marking the 40th anniversary of the War, and following the popularity of the daily posts, augmented with maps and photographs, the book was born.

Drawing on John Prime’s diary and the Ship’s Log, plus contributions from other sources, A Chronicle of HMS FEARLESS’ Falklands War provides a diary-based, daily account of HMS Fearless’ preparation for, deployment to, action, and return from the South Atlantic over the course of 31 March to 14 July 1982. This diary-based account makes for a highly readable and engaging text. Moreover, in contrast to a conventional historical account, the book’s intended audience is those who served, and thus, the use of acronyms, expressions, etc., provides an added layer of authenticity. It warrants mention that some of the terms used are unfamiliar to those without a Royal Navy background (including this reviewer), and a loose-leaf Glossary will be included with the book. However, the technical language/acronyms used are not a barrier to the lay reader. Although intended for a naval audience (a second edition aimed at a wider readership may be printed), A Chronicle of HMS FEARLESS’ Falklands War will provide the interested lay reader with a glimpse into what life onboard a warship heading to, and subsequently serving in a war, is like, and it does this very well.

Having reviewed HMS Fearless: The 40th Anniversary of the Falklands Campaign, The Anthology (NR Vol. 110, No. 3, Summer 2022, pp. 453-454), with which John Prime was also involved in the production of, A Chronicle of HMS FEARLESS’ Falklands War provides a valuable read, and complementary tribute alongside the Anthology to those served in the Falklands. Following a diary-based approach, the Chronicle is a more succinct read, but also provides insights into the unfolding of the campaign that other more traditional, retrospective texts do not. There are typos but they do not detract from the readability of what is a highly engaging book.  A Chronicle of HMS FEARLESS’ Falklands War provides a fitting tribute to those who contributed to the liberation of the Falklands and will appeal to the lay reader and historian wishing to gain insight into a ship at war. The Chronicle would also be valuable to those in the early stages of their naval career. Recommended.

The book is available from Cdr John Prime, [email protected]