ASCENSION
Island,
St. Helena
..2nd Fleet
Replenishment Ships

per current records on hand

Ascension Island (U.K) lies just to the South of the equator about 700 miles North of St.Helena.

The USS Truckee AO-147 made port here in October 1956 where she acted as flagship and supplied fuel and repairs for a hydrographic survey group operating in the vicinity of two South Atlantic Island groups - Ascension Island and Fernando De Norohna In August 1957 she again headed south to operate with the Atlantic Survey and cable group in the mid South Atlantic.

Pierhead Web Cam

Crisis in the South Atlantic was developing in March of 1982, although few on Ascension were aware of it. At a KWV luncheon, the Administrator of the day, His Honour Mr Bernard Pauncefort, was summoned to take a phone call - an unheard of event! He left the table to take the call, and was told that an invasion of the Falkland Islands had been reported as imminent.
Ascension is in fact a mountain peak which rises 10,000ft from the ocean floor just to the west of the mid-Atlantic Ridge forming an island at the surface. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a weakness in the earth's crust which still sees Volcanic activity as per Tristan da Cunha in 1961 so an eruption on Ascension cannot be ruled out. Volcano is 2815 ft. high link

Leaving the table at a KWV usually meant a fine of one bottle of brandy to be paid to the Ascension Day Fair! Did he get charged for receiving this tragic news? The history books are silent!

So the Falklands Conflict started, and as is well known, Ascension had a key part to play as a staging post for the task force on its way south. The full story of Ascension's part may not be told for some years, but from the stories of people living on the Island, it was clear that Ascension's quiet peaceful way of life was turned around dramatically. Everyone seems to have their favourite story!

As the number of troops on the Island increased, empty houses, barracks, storerooms, all were turned into temporary accommodation. Staff at the BBC Transmitting Station would have troops dropping in to ask if there was anywhere that they could bunk down! In Two Boats the empty blocks and bungalows were pressed into service. One person who came through Ascension some years later called on the then inhabitants of a bungalow to ask if he could take a photo of their shed. He had spent a week there in 1982, and considered himself lucky. The large numbers of troops posed serious logistic problems, not just for accommodation, but also for food and water.

Temporary accommodation was eventually established at the US Base, using air-conditioned concertina type shelters; it was called Concertina City. The US Commissary under the supervision of Brian Joshua did sterling service providing meals. Brian was later awarded the BEM. Troops used their brief stay on Ascension to keep fit; parties were often seen route marching in all directions, with a trip to the Dew Pond perhaps being a regular feature. The path to the Dew Pond also was the site of a temporary Radar site.


Island Photo
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