A Collection of South Atlantic Medals

Date of Auction: 16th July 2020

Sold for £750

Estimate: £500 - £700

South Atlantic 1982, with rosette (MA K S McCarry D184458W NP 1710) nearly extremely fine £500-£700


Provenance: Dix Noonan Webb, March 2010.

Medical Assistant K. S. McCarry served with Naval Party 1710 aboard the S.S. Canberra.

The S.S. Canberra was requisitioned by the M.O.D. for use as a troopship after the Argentinean invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982. Nicknamed the Great White Whale, the Canberra proved vital in transporting the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines to the islands more than 9,000 miles from the UK. Canberra anchored in San Carlos Water on 21 May as part of the landings by British forces to retake the islands. Although her size and white colour made her an unmissable target for the Argentine Air Force, the Canberra, if sunk, would not have been completely submerged in the shallow waters at San Carlos. However, the liner was not badly hit during the landings as the Argentine pilots tended to attack the Royal Navy frigates and destroyers instead of the supply and troop ships. After the war, Argentine pilots claimed they were told not to hit the Canberra, as they mistook her for a Hospital Ship. When the war ended the Canberra was used to repatriate captured Argentine soldiers, before returning to Southampton to a rapturous welcome. After a lengthy refit, Canberra returned to civilian service as a cruise ship, before finally being withdrawn from service in 1997.