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A Very Strange Way to Go to War

The Canberra in the Falklands

A Very Strange Way to Go to War by Andrew Vine
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A Very Strange Way to Go to War tells the astonishing story of the ‘Great White Whale’, the luxury ocean liner turned troopship, which was diverted from the Med to the heart of the Falklands war. Thirty years ago, after Argentina had invaded the Falkland Islands, a Task Force sailed from Southampton. On it was one of Britain’s two flagship ocean liners, P&O’s Canberra, stopped in its tracks at Gibraltar on its Mediterranean cruise, refitted as a troopship in a week, and now carrying 2,000 soldiers – as well as almost all of its civilian crew – down to the South Atlantic. Unlike the QE2 (also requisitioned), the Canberra went all the way into San Carlos Water to deliver its Royal Marines into battle. She was bombed ten times while in the Falklands, becoming a hospital ship when war commenced. And when this famously all-white boat returned, battered and rusted, to Southampton, the port gates had been closed after 120,000 people arrived to welcome her home. Once refurbished, she became the hot ticket for cruise passengers around the world. Now, Andrew Vine has interviewed the Canberra’s crew and the troops who sailed on her to tell the story of a truly remarkable episode of modern war – of how a luxury liner went into the heart of battle, and ordinary men and women found themselves on an adventure both terrifying and unforgettable.
Aurum Press; Read online
Title: A Very Strange Way to Go to War
Author: Andrew Vine
 
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