ZA730 | Westland Gazelle AH.1 | Grant

  • Aircraft type: Westland SA.341B Gazelle AH.1
  • Construction number: 1799
  • Military serial: ZA730
  • Civilian registration: G-FUKM
  • Name: Grant

Grant served with A Flight, 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron (A Flt, 3 CBAS) for most of his 23 year service and is a veteran of The Falklands War. He was coded CF by the squadron, ā€˜Cā€™ for Gazelles and ā€˜Fā€™ as its unique A Flt identifier.

Following the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982, the British Government sent a task force south to recapture the Islands, an operation which came to be called Operation CORPORATE. Grant was flown aboard LSL Sir Geraint at Devonport on 5 April and sailed the next day. He was flown off to Ascension Island on 20 April where he was modified to carry pylon mounted 68mm SNEB rockets before returning to LSL Ser Geraint. The LSLs set sail on 29 April and rendezvoused with the rest of the HMS Fearless Task Group on 16 May on the edge of the Total Exclusion Zone TEZ. A Flt transferred to RFA Sir Tristram on 20 May in preparation for Operation SUTTON, the British landings on the shores of San Carlos Water, at Ajax Bay and Port San Carlos.

Just prior to dawn on 21 May the entire Squadron sailed into Falkland Sound, two A Flt Gazelles immediately took off to support an SBS attack on Fanning Head, though it is not yet known if Grant was one of these two aircraft. On 22 May A Flt joined 40 Commando at the base of the Verde mountains in San Carlos Water. A Flt moved up to Estancia House on 7 June and spent the next few days aiding the build-up of supplies to the forward units (42 Commando, 45 Commando and 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment). Those units subsequently took their respective objectives Mount Harriet, Two Sisters and Mount Longdon by 12 June with A Flt in support involved in casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and resupply duties.

Following the surrender on 15 June, A Flt moved to the Stanley Racecourse on 16 June. At the end of the war Grant was transferred to 656 Squadron Army Air Corps and delivered from Stanley to Fitzroy. He flew a total of 152.9 hours during the war, and was subsequently transferred to the Garrison Army Air Squadron and was used by 658, 651 and 654 squadron flying one thousand hours in the next year.

He was eventually shipped back to the UK arriving at Middle Wallop on 16 December 1983 and was then sent by road to Wroughton for storage on 10 January 1984. He spent the next six years in storage before being sent to Northern Ireland in 1991 through to 1996 for the last years of his service life.