1953 - INCIDENT AT ARGENTINE DECEPTION ISLAND - ARGENTINEAN ANTARCTICA
In early 1953, there was an Argentine disembark on Deception Island belonging to the group of the South Shetland Islands, the Argentine ships prepared a "house room" with the food and fuel necessary for wintering and left two men of the Navy as base crew .
In response to the Argentine action and with the aim of expelling the occupiers, the Royal Navy immediately sent the Corvette HMS "Snipe" whose post station were the Malvinas Islands.
On that same year, Argentina, as the days of Rosas, tried to resolve the dispute over the islands through a commercial transaction. Indeed, the then president of Argentina, Juan Peron, sent Admiral Alberto Tesaire, provisional president of the Senate, as the country's official representative to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.
While in London, the Argentine representative visited the headquarters of the Foreign Office and Britain offered to purchase the islands. Thus said Tesaire, the Anglo-Argentine relations would settle on a firm basis. The British Government rejected the offer saying that it feared that occur down the government of Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
for Churchill was a rupture of British sovereignty that was worth a muscular response - sending a task force to reclaim a small rocky island in the South Atlantic invaded by a specific Argentines force.
The Foreign Office (British Ministry of Foreign Affairs) had already sent a message to the government of Buenos Aires complaining of an "armed incursion into British waters and territories" and report that the presence of troops and naval ships were an indefensible act of aggression.
But while a special detachment of 32 Royal Marines took the coast assault to reclaim Deception Island, shortly after noon on February 15, 1953, found that the fierce occupying forces consisted of two petty officers who were happy to be sent back home.
Documents released recently in the British National Archives show that during his second term as Prime Minister, Churchill was so worried that Argentina had militaristic intentions in the Malvinas and other British territories in the South Atlantic which sent a frigate of the Royal Navy, HMS "Snipe", from Portsmouth.
In a personal note to the defense chiefs, Churchill said:
"Certainly a frigate should be kept near the Falklands ... I had not realized that your resources were so constrained that even a makeshift Company can not be sent to Port Stanley."
When word got out a little later, in February 1953 a notice Argentino, ARA "Chiriguano" had established a hut, a tent and a banner on Deception Island, part of the South Shetland Islands, about 400 yards from the British base, it was time for action.
A report of the counter offensive, led by Marines armed with Sten guns, rifles and tear gas, said:
"Argentines naval Sergeant and Corporal the only occupants of the hut, offered no resistance, were screened for weapons."
He added: "The two men arrested are described as resigned and possibly happy to leave the island." Eager to not put their "anti-invasion" as an act of war, British soldiers were accompanied by the chief of police of the Malvinas Islands. The Argentines were arrested and deported and his cabin dismantled by British troops, along with a rival camp left by the Chileans.
Interview with Captain (RE) Chihigaren Jorge, by Carlos Biscioti
JCn: - Well, whenever we start, I'm going to tell the whole story, though, for example, the origin of all this I can not say.
CB: - I transcribe; you, then read it and say, "This may give out and this, no."
Interviewee: Right, let's begin.
This is the story of an episode in Antarctica in February 1953 related to national sovereignty in the area in which I participated.
The experience in the scenario of what happened and the information subsequently got about, from sources involved in the process and people involved in it. While it is a little story, which had no public significance, it is useful to know as a contribution to knowledge of the capabilities for the development of attitudes that have taken opponents and participants in the episode and in making decisions that somehow, form, could reiterate.
Thank Carlos Biscioni deference having to summon me to listen to this story
JCh: - In 1952 I was Lieutenant Junior bound at Submarine Base in Mar del Plata on the General Staff of the Anti-Submarine School, which was inaugurated recently. It was a very happy year, from the professional point of view because I had the opportunity to embark assiduously submarines in the School Corvette Antisubmarine ARA "Republica" and in almost all Destroyers type and Frigates of the Fleet of Sea ships and fly seaplanes "Martin Mariner" in daily instruction and training in A / S tactics, in the handling and use of specific weapons systems and that, by then, novel specialty in our navy. It was also very pleasant to reside in this beautiful city. But I happened to read a novel by Herman Hesse: Siddhartha.
CB: - Do not tell me! I'm a fan: I have all the complete works of Herman Hesse.
JCh: - You will remember, was an Indian prince who wanted to see what happened in the common life and became an ascetic, a hermit. And he came to live with nature pervaded the point of understanding the language of the river near his hut. Talking, philosophizing, with him being in his solitude, his great friend and companion.
The argument in this part of the book, made a big impact by relating it to the vocation of their choice that ocean does the sea rush to understand, interpret their language, and spend long days and months, and relative solitude about their bindings land. Thought that Sea require understand it, who can interpret the poem, the magic of their signals in the placid bonanza and fury in his anger. A not fear but respect him a lot. As I was going to figure cited living environment,
I had been in Argentine Antarctica as Midshipman , in early '48 , on board the destroyer ARA " Misiones" . Then in 1952 , despite being in such an attractive both ' professionally as the privileged place as is Mar del Plata post , I felt the effect of the Antarctic magnetism having been there the first time, the urge to return is indeed feelt. Besides, it was still a romantic time for these voyages , because at the time had a lot of adventure . take the quote , as an illustrative example , the charts were very poor . Even , though much of what later " De la Flota Sea , which was how the busiest area was called , was not entirely probed ; so that is not well known what was under the surface. This example indicates that even at that time had some adventure right? And much to explore . Of course nothing comparable to the real adventure and even reckless , as if I were the explorers of the eighteenth century , or Argentina in 1903 when our country took over the Orcadas observatory provided by the Scottish explorer and scientist Sir Bruce , the activity of Comandante Luis Piedra Buena , expeditions and rescue the Corvette ARA Uruguay , the Argentine land and air expeditions reached the geographic South Pole itself , etc. .
For this task, we had done a course in the Natural History Museum Bernardino Rivadavia. I even did a course in taxidermy since he had the idea of embalming a penguin; I almost made it ...
I had to board the ARA Transport "Buen Suceso Bay" flagship of Antarctica. Task Force We sailed shortly after Christmas and I ascended to Lieutenant on the campaign; the December 31, 53.
In early January moored in Media Luna Bay, where was constructing the Naval detachment "Lieutenant Camera" and full logistic supply operation and habilitation thereof being on duty at the bridge, directing boats maneuvers provisioning, maneuvering etc. I was called by the commander of the Task Force who told me, more or less, as follows: I have appointed you to the following:
You will board the Aguirre Bay with two NCOs who are on your shelters group and will move with your entire team to take refuge on ground: The commander of that ship will instruct you on the mission to fulfill "It was installing a shelter on Deception Island in Whaler Cove to arrive anticipating the presence there of a group from another country.
At Whalers Cove, located to the west of the entrance to the great bay or rather at which could almost call an interior sea, which was actually the crater of Deception Island in geological and maybe some time to cause of an earthquake, had fallen a part the south wall which caused the invasion of the sea forming the inland sea. Continues even though the volcanic action, so that at the north end of the space solfaratas type eruptions, as curiosity, told him that heat the water of a small lake near the coast where there is always hot water produced .
CB: Are not there Neptunes Bellows?
Jn: The Neptunes Bellows are the southern part of the crater wall and have a variable height of about five hundred meters. They have a slit of about forty meters in the form of U of about fifty meters wide, which was termed as window of Neptune. They were given that name because that's where the prevailing winds come in the area. The entrance to the Inland Sea, is precisely the sector of Neptunes Bellows suffered evolution that led to the waters that invaded the crater.
This forms a gap wide enough but the navigable passage itself is relatively narrow. When you go to the ship, give the impression that you are going to hit the wall; gives the impression that it's happening nearby. And the proof is that it is customary to throw potatoes that do not reach the destination; you think you will stick to the wall of the Bellows falls vertically and fails because it is far beyond what is perceived; the entrance to the Inland Sea is an impressive sight.
At the time of this story, near the northwest coast of the inland sea was, and still is, the leading Argentine Naval Detachment on behalf of the the island. And in Whalers Cove, located in the southeastern part of the island, in which the slopes south coast are mentioned Bellows - a British base. There was no other permanent or temporary occupation of the island.
It is worth remembering that the Whalers Cove had been used before World War II, by a Norwegian factory processing whales are abundant in the area, which had large tank where oil cetaceans was stored, which I was transferred to Norway for tankers of that nationality for further marketing.
Falling Norway under German control facilities were occupied by Germany, and was used by them as a logistical base for its fleet, especially cruisers assigned to the modern conception of "CorsicanWar" mission at the German cruiser "Admiral Graf Von Spee "and for submarines, especially for refueling that was stored in the above tanks.
During the war, the British take notice of the existence of this base, they sent a Cruiser Division that rendered useless.
By 1953 the facilities, meaning the house that was probably the Norwegian housing, or a new one, was occupied by the staff of the British base. About 500 meters there is even the cemetery where the remains of the factory personnel and marine, including the famous explorer Captain Larsen.
Whalers Bay was the only place known to that date, which could be used for landing light aircraft, using drop down "metal carpet" on the floor is from lava, in the flat space between the foot of the mountains and the coast, had news that at one time was well used by light aircraft for British aero exploration
It is appropriate to briefly mention at this point of the story, the Antarctica current situation: was not even, nor in project, the Antarctic Treaty that governed since 1959.
Several countries had, and have, claim to sovereignty in different or same areas of the continent based on the explorations, discoveries, geological continuity, etc. near territory. Our country has solid and indisputable sovereignty rights in the sector and is the only one that has maintained and continues to maintain a permanent occupation in the area. Since 1903 without interruption in Orcadas islands that I mentioned at the beginning.
In the northern area of the Antarctic continent-gap encompassing the Antarctic Peninsula (Peninsula San Martin) - Argentina's sovereignty sits on a triangular field with vertex at the South Pole between meridians 25 ° and 74 ° W.
Chile claims a neighboring sector between meridians 53 ° and W 90th which, as seen, some of this overlaps with the western part of our Sector in an area of 31 °.
Great Britain assigned for they a spacious triangle between the 20th meridian and W 80th meaning that encompasses within it, both sectors the Argentine and Chilean.
At the time the story was not in effect the Antarctic Treaty, as stated above, but whether there was a mutual cooperation understanding between our country and Chile.
Returning to the subject of the story: with the received instructions I should add, as an optional comment, which was reported near the British base had prepared a space that served as a football field: there, where stands the center forward, was the appropriate installation of our box as instructed.
I suggested to the Commander of the Task Force for Antarctic as for an occupation of the nature described, it should show that it was not a military operation but an act of topographic survey, or something similar. That it was a kind of geological exploration study to which we could add a specialist in geology or topography that was shipped integrating the scientific staff of the Naval Hydrographic Service or the Argentine Antarctic Institute. This proposal was accepted.
He also said that the end of the campaign, in late April, a ship of the Antarctic task force I would pass back in order to embark. He clarified that it would if the water was not frozen to form a pack that would prevent navigation.
This warning was for me, of course, very "worrying", as I mention later. Several years after being second in command of the Transport ARA "Bahía Aguirre" I realized that this freezing can happen long before that date.
The NCOs and Jimenez Acosta, the geologist and I boarded to the mentioned ship , transport ARA Bahía Aguirre and departed to Deception Island. We could not get "into" (I do mean "in" and not "to" because this is the "inland sea" or bay. Really do not know how to call it) the island because of an iceberg, though small, was blocking access . A team of specialists was sent to blast it with explosive charges. There was no case. Then we went back to Media Luna Bay and we were transferred to the Auxiliary ship ARA Chiriguano that, as it was much smaller, could properly maneuver to circumvent the obstacle. We went in and almost immediately fall to starboard with 90 degrees arrived at anchorage Whalers Bay.
We disembarked with our goods and equipment. The ship's crew landed the load required for the construction of the Improvised refuge we were going to live, while the group of constructors was preparing the ground and began to build, we set up the tent we would use in the meantime. The tent was used in the hydrographic campaigns for personnel engaged in survey work for the subsequent preparation of navigation charts or cuarterones: Double waterproof cloth, with wooden floor
The construction team was to build a shelter, roughly 4 meters by 4, that it was our housing mounted on four pillars of about 60 cm., Covering a small space for kitchen and another bathroom (no shower) and, at the same time receiving a radio transmitter and a generator to provide power for the same and light power to the habitable part. Near the beach was stored part of the load required to use for the duration of the construction, as some food four cots, lanterns and fuel.
And most importantly: the national flag. The difficulty we had was finding something that would serve like a flagstaff, as the flag was the size used by large vessel in patriotic days and ceremonies (referred to in the ARA of "top size") It was almost as big as the size of the shelter. Tried a whale rib of the many who were on the coast, remains of the old Norwegian factory, but it was not suitable for its curvature.
Finally the group of constructors used a piece of wood to transform it into what we needed was ready when the makeshift mast, in a brief ceremony with all staff present, installed the national flag. (I say install, and no lifting, because it was nailed to the mast - in Antarctica remains hoisted the flag 24 hours, there is always daylight, logically in summer).
Immediately and forecasting the rise to bad weather, which is common there, we store on the tent essentials for survival. Luckily, we reach out from the beach, about 60 meters, two of those stoves that were before, which is pumped, kerosene type "Volcán", a drum of fuel; a drawer with cheese and another drawer with seafaring cracker and 4 cots with the corresponding bedding as indeed a heavy storm broke.
Shortly before the bad weather the head of the English base wich was a former pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force, already civilian, who had participated in the Second War appears. He came to introduce the verbal complaint about our disembark in "Land of his Britannic Majesty" He had previously delivered a protest note. (And receive the Argentinean note) the commander of the Auxiliary ship; I had to prove to the British that it was not for them we were there, but could not tell them why. I chose to tell only, that was in Argentine territory and would be welcome in our shelter when It was ready. 'Australian withdrew without making any further comment. I realized that bothered him our facility there where already long ago they were alone, rather than the problem of sovereignty.
After the temporary return the Auxiliary ship ARA "Chiriguano" and disembark the group of constructors. Finishes its work and the landing of the load is complete.
The shelter is built, as I said before, upon four piles, as high half meter above the ground so that the snow did not lead us access, but it was very suitable to be a shelter for a weekend in the Delta del Tigre but not for Antarctica where winds are strong intensity and frequent bad weather and unforeseen, as that I mentioned and forced not only to interrupt the work, but the re-embarkation, just in time, personnel, group of buildings and departing of the auxiliary ship - to be unsuitable for holding ground to keep anchoredand going outside-to sea.
Regarding the temporal mentioned, i have to tell that I never saw so low barometric pressure. In Antarctica is generally low, but not arrived, less than 700 millimeters (unit was replaced by Hectopascals). We were isolated, inside the tent for 3 or 4 days because it was impossible to leave. White Wind. The howling wind and snow did not allow to see not a meter was a terrible storm. There were times when we had to leave the tent because we were forced by biological needs. Then we would tie a rope at the waist and whip. to a pillar terminal of the tent, process serving as a guide to return Luckily - rather by rightly forecasting cheese and cracker I mentioned, we were served food, though only during our must permanence inside the tent. Stoves, thankfully, worked well.
As instructed, I really cared about what the Commander had said about our reembarking at the end of the campaign. At first I thought it was a joke - which was unusual for him - but later I realized that could be the case, since at that time the Antarctic campaign finalized quite late in the season, in April and several times in mid May, as this was.
I remember well what we were coming to to look "if it could" because the inner sea (if I may use that expression) of Deception Island, freezes in winter.
It freezes, then they can not enter the vessels, because a pack is formed quite thick and can not enter. Something happened to me several years later, when I returned to
Antarctica as a 2nd Commander ARA "Bahía Aguirre" when, even worse, in the month of February, the sea froze already being inside the bay. But as I said, this is another story for another time.
So how did wintering one year in that shelter, which occurs on a winter night until late next spring, with repeated time and there is usually much more intense than the above mentioned, certain, ascertained that the shelter would not withstand the ravages of wind, without enough food and no shelter? Ask support to the British: NO. The only recourse, if it happened that we could not come to rescue move would walk across all the frozen sea to the Deception Detachment, if we could get, which perhaps could give us shelter during long ten months that remained until next season . On the ground in winter was not feasible due to travel along the coast to the glaciers occupying and even before winter, by landslides of large chunks of ice.
So my problem was to explore all around to figure out where to evacuate the island Maybe trespassing Neptunes Bellows using the famous "window" already I mentioned to and somehow hang down there and get to the open sea and we embarked in a boatof the ship to come get us. For that, I had to go, as I said, all around and climb, climb to the edge of the window and see what was on the other side. Also how would I get a rope out of sufficient length to hang down? Well, "God Will Provide" thought.
But there was another problem to solve: the relationship with our neighbors. In finding the solution came up with another interesting and unexpected issue that helped me in my dealings with them: it turns out that at the time of the Norwegians and probably before the British occupation that I mentioned at the beginning and in anticipation of what might happen, and who happened to them, I suppose, buried under the lava, forming the base of the island, dynamite, explosive used in hunting whales. This explosive is very sensitive to temperature. Knew from the serious accident suffered by a classmate who years before had walked by the place and unknowingly stept a place where the snow lay under one of these burials, which caused an explosion that injured him seriously.
During my explorations I noticed from some places out from under the Lava conductor wires that converged at the home of the British. This fact helped me to identify and avoid lethal charges mentioned in my eager search of access to the slopes of the Bellows.
I realized that it was a planned action by the "british" to phase out those dangerous places for the good of their own health. I mention this to tell what happened days later. During a sunset (the evening was very brief) we felt explosions that would have been alarming for not having mentioned the casual experience, since I found my suspicion correct. I took advantage of the circumstance to move to the English base provided with a first aid kit to offer support claiming that he had felt "strange and surprising explosions" (strange and astonishing explotions) and concurred to offer assistance anta possible they had some wounded. The Australian was touched and thanked me so much my intention. said that it was the birthday celebration of a crew member, that this was the custom, obliterating the charges mentioned. But did not invite me, the bastard, to enter the house. My suspicion was confirmed.
How useful it became clear the next day: As I was melting snow to have liquid water, I see approaching Mr. Clarke, so the former pilot head of the English Base was named, very neatly dressed, and carrying a cane I assumed was the insignia of his command for he was, younger and not limping, he came to express their appreciation with a bottle of whiskey of the really good
There we established relationships. I gave, in return, a good piece of meat that we kept in a "natural refrigerator" formed by a layer of lava, over which a layer of charcoal, a layer of meat and so on, which gave excellent results I remember still the eyes Australian astonishment who surely missed for a long time, the competitive livestock product with ours at the time. Then, yes, I did invited him to my "cabin".
About four or five days of being there comes a Chilean Navy frigate and disembark a group of people, and about 100 meters from our shelter, build a shelter. Of course, with the Chileans, very good friends; also had the order to maintain good relationship and there was even a mutual cooperation agreement as I said before; invite me to dinner on board, which allowed me to eat well (one of the NCOs had assumed the task of improvised cook and was not exactly an excellent chef) and pleasant and good company: All very good. At least before we had come to occupy the area.
They Finished building the Improvised refuge, but much smaller than ours (they would just 1.50 m high) and left food but no crew; yes a big sign saying "Base of the Chilean Air Force" and the national flag painted on the roof. They have spent two days doing this construction and left, they sailed. That is they established their presence but without letting people.
A few days later appears in the creek a British frigate, the HMS "Bighbury Bay" which anchored in Whalers and after a while, disembarks a boat and goes directly to the shelter, which would be about 200 meters from the coast, an English officer . Hit the door, I receive; was a English Lieutenant properly dressed in uniform "Saco Naval" at that time with a stiff neck, (not an Antarctic equipment like we dressed ) with all Victorian own formalities of the Royal Navy (when not using torpedoes from nuclear submarines) I invited him into our shelter and says, in English(I was allowed to speak English), that he came by order of the magistrate (something like the governor) of the Falklands (Por supuesto he mention the Falklands, of course), which was on board on the Bigbury Bay, in order to inviting me to attend board at such time (I do not remember, now) Greenwich (Prime Meridian) and send to me the boat to move aboard because the "magistrate" wanted to talk with me, to discuss the reasons for the occupation from Argentina unauthorized by her Majesty the Queen, and inviting me to leave the island because we were an immigrant without authorization (ie, clandestine).
I thought, "Oh! Is that so? " ¡Con que esas tenemos! So I said almost literally:
"Tell this mister "who entitles himself" magistrate from Las Malvinas and dependencies that I do not recognize him as valid authority because being Las Malvinas and South Atlantic Islands, sovereignty of Argentina, can not have a British governor and the Islands you are referring to are not called Falklands ".
Second, that in any case he should explain to me the reasons for his presence in Argentine territorial waters;
Third, if you want to talk to me about anything else, gladly i will receive him here in this house which is where the authority resides in the area.
To all this the English looked at me with eyes of surprise and I imagined what he was feeling without understanding: a "southamerican" (now days "sudaca") were addressing in those terms, no less than to the governor and representative of Her Majesty!
The only thing left to do was invite him with grappa brand 'El Globo" which I had provided with (not the above mentioned whiskey!) he did not accepted. I do not know what he felt about the quality of the drink offered, or because he felt annoyed by my response, I accompanied him to the coast, as a courtesy among men of the sea, that he embarked on the boat in which he had come and return to his ship. When boarding, said:
"Mr, we confirm that at such a time (do not remember now) the boat will be here to look for you." I said, "Mr Lieutenant, I affirm what I said and I ask that you forward this message to the holder or magistrate, that is not such here for me.Good morning, Sir! ". He left.
CB: - What year these events took place?
JCh: - It was in 1953 and it was coincidence that in that year was commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the Argentinean occupation at Orcadas islands, as I mentioned before. Already passed the centenary.
A few days after entering the Bay the Tanker ARA "Punta Ninfas" supply ship that was part of the Antarctic Task Force, led by the then Lieutenant Commander Sq. Roberto Arena.
I had a radio, radio transmitter - receiver, to communicate, but a problem of antennas, it was almost useless. When the ship enters the bay, and passes near to me I was able to report and gave the message to the commander that needed to go on board. When the ship anchored near the Deception detachment sent a helicopter,to me which was an Air Force pilot which turned out to be known, we are now very close. came for me, landed there near the shelter; I went up and landed on board, of course on a platform where the aircraft barely fit what was almost an achievement since a few centimeters error and went into the drink. Well, I report to the Commander of the ship what was happening; I told him all so that he inform with means of communication and the corresponding keys available to it, the Commander of the Task Force. what had happened.
At that time, again the British frigate enters and the commander of the Punta Ninfas sends a boat with a midshipman with the classic Official Note of Protest of the Government, and the invitation to dinner at his ship. Which was not accepted.
Hours later, departs the frigate HMS "Bighbury Bay" and sends the ARA "Punta Ninfas" a message by spotlight, saying "Au revoir. Remember Shall we meet again "; (. Soon
Remember that we will meet again"). I returned to the shelter in the helicopter. Shortly afterwards set sail the ARA "Punta Ninfas".
This second coming of the British ship, shortly after having entered the Argentine ship confirmed me the assumption that the head of the British base of Whalers informed the authority from which he depended. And the proximity of the English vessel in the area, wasn't probably no accident. They did not return neither the English nor the Chileans until about a little over a month. indeed entered the ARA Bahía Aguirre which anchored in Telefono Bay near Deception Detachment, and I received a visit from the Second Commander Lieutenant Reynaldo D. Tettamantti to whom I told what happened.
I took advantage to send back the geologist, partly because I obviously was not required by his presence but also his difficult adaptation to the environment.
After a lapse of more than a month, during which confirmed the impossibility of using the passage along the coast to go around the bay by land to reach the Esperanza Detachment in winter, because of the journey to that place made by the geologist to whom I accompanied him to passed the menacing glacier and worrisome search to your return because of having not the this fulfilled the security measure agreed to be back on the fifth day of his departure, minus the days when the prevailing weather restrain him (which if existed would have noticed those too) made us an expedition to investigate a possible accident at the foot of the glacier. We found him coming back shortly after we crossed it.
Also in this period we suffered several storms that made tremble dangerously the structure of the shelter and collapse over our cots, shelves attached to their bulkheads (with "or" for so called partitions board with "a", land) in order to we stowed booking some cans and household goods.
In that period failed to embalm a penguin by lack of adequate instruments to completely remove thecold protective fat under the skin as I , extended, the skin so dry out the remaining fat on the outside wall of the box. A Squa hungry in swift nose dive took him. I still regret having killed the bird "Die Hard" as the title of the film.
The Chief of Naval Deception Detachment was the then Lieutenant Carlos J. Fraguío, who was to remain there all year. Sent Me, and to invite trasportarme, to the military detachment under his command one of two Grumman Goose amphibious aircraft that operated during the summer season from the Detachment who officiated as his base.
CB: - I did met wasn't him the Ambassador to Japan?
JCh: - It was naval attache and years later, when he retired, was an ambassador for that, to serve as naval attache, learned Japanese;
The aircraft commander was Lieutenant, Blanco Rodríguez, who invited me to move to the Detachment with the intention of returning that evening or the next day. I needed to go because I wanted to explain to me how to repair the transmitter and, if possible, to bring the radio mechanic, and I fix the issue. The thing is that we went invite me to dinner, intending to return the next day. Took the opportunity to communicate by radio with my family and take a bath as people since in the shelter it was a very unusual thing because it was a cumbersome operation.
Had to go find snow in a bucket, if there was snow and we were close, warm in the burner box to turn it into liquid water and achieve a good temperature to keep it cool down to get to the tent, which was maintained armed, serving as deposit food and in order to eventual use in a brief and uncomfortable by using the bathroom hanging bucket somehow when tilted pouring its contents officiating impromptu shower.
Dear Carlos, I think I'm doing this very long story, ie I am deriving much or luffing, therefore getting out of the channel ...
CB: Not at all dear friend, I beg you continue since it is a very exciting story.
JCh: I continue then. Unable to return the next day, as intended, or for two days because of bad weather that prevented flying. Major storm subsided we could take off. We made a grand tour of Antarctica; arrived to the Gerlache Strait, flew over the Naval 'Almirante Brown ", Esperanza Bay, Melchior etc. Anyway, great covered a whole. At noon, we're back to Deception, to land on my shelter but, from the air, looked Whalers cove but saw my refuge and did not see the Argentine flag that they had provided me, it was like I said almost as big as the house, and neither saw the Chilean refuge. No because that distinguished them were not, as I learned after land on water.
Well, made the waterlanding, the amphibious climbs to the coast, I disembark and see that waiting for me there, the head of the English base with others who I did not know. Which was already "say,friend" tell me when disembarking, "Mister, I remember that is stepping on ground of His Britannic Majesty." And always reminded me Rodríguez Blanco, when I told Mr. Clarke "Ma!What 'Your Majesty Majesty or what!" (In spanish). "Next to Clarke, a tall gentleman in uniform that identified by the gallons and the inscription under his right shoulder as the" Royal Marine Corp. ".
Presented himself as Major Andrew. And he said, in English: "I must inform you that you are in the land of His Britannic Majesty"; and continues "that the shelter that was here has been disassembled and has been devastated." There are the belongings of the people who occupied it and the elements of you and your equipment, you can remove them. ". "And I inform you that tonight, his refuge and the Chilean construction, they will be incinerated" I replied, "I'm in Argentine territory and your attitude is criminal":
"I'm going to my refuge and I will not remove anything." I asked where the staff was: his response was, have been embarked and transferred to soil. The same is certain value items that were in the shelter that have been inventoried and that timely be sent to your country. I insisted on knowing where _ would take the two NCOs and I were in that ship, to which I replied that they could not give me that information. Yes I said that they had been arrested for not having permission to be in British possessions. He remarked that he considered the civilians and not military to avoid complicating the situation. He also refused to answer other questions as the name of the ship, when she had entered the bay etc. clearing that he could not give me any other information. I insisted on knowing where the national flag was to which he replied that he was included among the elements of value that had been inventoried and would be returned promptly.
I tell him that I refused to remove nothing of the shelter as the English offered I because if I did, I thought, would be acknowledging his authority.
I finished this dialogue I went, accompanied by Rodríguez Blanco and followed by the Mayor and Mr. Clarke to the shelter. When do I perceive that at a distance of fifty yards, in a semicircle and body position to land were staying, with infantry weapons, pointed at the Argentines and the plane twenty Marines. We weren't carrying weapons of any kind and there were none on the plane that were still copilot Lieutenant Commander Edward D. Tomas Perez and the mechanic.
We got to where the shelter was. Unarmed shelter and cloths, roof etc.. neatly stacked on them and the belonging ours. Also the tent, groceries etc.. the national flag or the mast. Nor meteorological elements and the transmitter or generator. The same procedure with the Chilean shelter. the mayor Reiterated his offer to remove what ever I wanted and renewed my refusal explaining this time from which he had no authority to grant me anything since I was the authority in the area. He was silent.
Well, in this situation recently, nothing left to do there. I returned to the beach, boarded the plane after the pilot and before closing the access door I told the English leaders, in English, as Mc Arthur, when he retired from Korea:
"Remember; we will be back "(back); "Rememeber, Shall we meet again" spotlight signs had said the commander of the British frigate to commander of the Argentine ship.
Decolamos and now my problem was to inform the Commander of the Task Force. We flew to where we estimated that the Captain ship was and we sighted her near Media Luna Island sailing towards Deception. I reached on the radio I contacted the Force Commander. I said, "I have secret information: I can not say it in this way." I replied: "Say it." I synthetically reported what happened. I says: "Received. We are sailing to Deception to rendezvouz all Task Force. Wait for us there. "I realized that he already knew about what happened. we returned to the Detachment.
Several hours after arrive to the anchorage every component ships of the FTA(Antarctic Task Force): 2 Transport: ARA "Bahía Aguirre" and ARA "Bahia Buen Suceso," Auxiliary Ships ARA "Chiriguano" and "Diaguita" I think it was the other and. addition, the Tanker ARA "Punta Ninfas". When all ships anchoredthey sent for me the boat to go to the Captain Ship .
The first thing I did was shave my beard because it was not conforming to regulations at that time; It does now. I arrive at the Bahia Buen Suceso and an officer was awaiting for me above the royal scale and conducts me to the chamber of the commander, for no transited places in order that I could not be seen by any of the crew, especially the guests and civilian personnel. So, half secretly makes me go to the chamber of the Force
Commander, where were already assembled all subordinate commanders and the chief of staff of the FTA, which was the Commander Hector D. Etchehebere. I interpreted that as a sort of court martial and I said to myself: "From Here to Martin Garcia (military prison) in a nonstop flight."
That group of commanders, of course they were much older and senior than me, Lieutenant Commander Silvio Cassinelli, Eugenio Fuenterosa, Roberto Arena, Carlos Brañas, Ricardo Simon Fitz. Imposed on me, of course, tension but was willing to cope.
The tension eased when Captain Panzarini, who had been Chief of Battalion to which I belonged as a cadet at the Naval Academy said, in his usual way of expressing restful and accurate, that I relate what happened. Finished my presentation said he had information of Buenos Aires, this was going to happen and so were already sailing to Deception, and concentrating there all the Force.
Well, it was resolved at this meeting of commanders, the next day or the same day (for it was midnight), the Captain Etchebehere was going, to the British base, to make a formal and energetic protest. I said, "Mr let me, with the group of Marines that we have on board, reconquer the base that was taken from me". he said To me: No, no; no violence, because we will not do that, this is a case involving Chancellery.
The thing is that it was the note which I read the copy-where he told them, very correct and diplomatic terms, very strongly claiming outrage over the English, and that he would refrain from making use of force, under the traditional friendship and Argentinean British reaffirming the Argentinean sovereignty; in short, a whole letter written so as not recognize and refrain from the use of force and transfer the case to diplomatic discussion. authorized Me the Cap. Ethebehere to accompany him on the boat, with the condition that when reach Whalers not let me see by the English.
Well, that ended the episode in Antarctica; I was on board until the end of the campaign in the ARA Bahia Buen Suceso, and as an officer of the ship.
All this part is interesting but perhaps it is more what I knew when I returned to Buenos Aires. I learned about the process that was followed in the Capital Federal. I was able to talk much with the ambassador, the Foreign Ministry was in charge of the diplomatic part of the whole process and what they also knew in the Navy when I searched for information of what had happened there. And this is important: when we occupy the island, immediately, from the English base their authorities reported our occupation, following which came the frigate HMS Bigbury Bay with the "governor" of Las Malvinas, already on board and festered in the area And I knew that the British,since my occupation, I guess through its embassy diplomats had complaints made via Foreign Ministry. And the answer was Argentinean in the general terms, similar to what I sent to tell the English magistrate. And I knew that the third claim they had done, and had an ultimatum. But what had happened? That ultimatum was sent (after reconstructing the events with dates) when they had done the operation. saying or time zone problem (three hours difference between Argentine and Great Britain), or perhaps intentionally overlooked that when given the ultimatum at Foreign Office, was almost the operation finished I told you.
I also learned that aware the national government ordered the Armed Forces to establish the state of readiness; licenses were cut and alert conditions were prepared, ready for action; Navy was ready to sail. There was a cabinet meeting too, as I learned, which was considered a breakthrough. I was also told that the Minister of Marine, because at that time was Minister of Marine who was part of the cabinet, he said the situation on the basis of intelligence information to be had in the Naval Intelligence Service: We appreciate that in Malvinas Britain had concentrated during that month, a fleet - by intercepting messages and communications - and that was estimated that this fleet would be much higher than ours which could include an aircraft carrier. Also, with on board-group did not know how large-Marines ("Royal Marines").
The conclusion was, according to the sources from which the data received, the matter would materialize through a strong claim to Britain via chancery.
Also, I was told that that night the evening papers would publish some of the news and convinced them not to. They added that tonight wasn't published La Razon. This episode Whalers Bay never transpired so publicly, officially, nothing happened.
Finding myself again, already at Puerto Belgrano, with the two NCOsthey related what happened in my absence. They saw that for the third time the English frigate was arriving and dropped anchor in Whaler and disembarked a large group of people, which was not given more importance because it had already happened that on previous occasions. One of the NCOs was cooking and melting snow the other until they feel they hit the door of the shelter. It was a police officer with the distinctive uniform of English policeman. He introduced himself as police officer Sullivan, speaking spanish right given he had resided several years in the province of Santa Cruz, and then had settled in the Falklands. Asked the passport and visa to be in British territory. They replied that in any way, because they were in Argentina. Then the policeman said, "Gentlemen, I have order from the judge of the Malvinas, to arrest all foreign residents in British possession that do not have a visa.
The Argentines replied something like: We are in Argentine territory and you have no authority here nor any foreign court so the best you can do is get out of here. The English response was: From this moment you are arrested.
It would appear that he was told the two was a "rosary" of curses. So this policeman, who understood what they said, told them: As you know, the English policeman carries no weapons. For I have sought the cooperation of the armed forces to support civil authority vested in me; please look out there ".
They were surrounded in a circle what would amount to a section Marines, they told me that they were thirty, the same around me when I disembarked the plane a couple of days later. They turned out to be marines that were in return trip to England from Korea, across the Panama Canal were sent to Malvinas. to embark on the Bigbury Bay So that acted a part of a company of war steeled Marines veteran. At the shelter, they had no weapons; had nothing; carried no weapons. So were arrested by the civil authority. And it was a big deal because it was not for the English military, action although it was supported by an English frigate, and a section of the Marine Corps and in the Malvinas, just in case they had gathered a large group naval tasks as I told.
The operation coincided with what Mayor Andrews had said in terms that were not considered NCOs such as military as civilian but to avoid complicating the situation.
They were shipped on British frigate and transported to Grietviken, Georgia islands.
They told me that they were treated well but what mortified was English food, they were taken into Georgia until boarded a ship to the tanker Quilmes of the Company Argentine Fisheries carrying whale oil from South Georgia directly to Norway, with orders to disembark them at the entrance of the Rio de la Plata, saying that left on the pontoon Recalada Rio de la Plata, the Argentine practical pontoon off Montevideo. And from there it went to get a boat from the Navy Base Rio Santiago. They remembered their suffering by hunger they endured while in the English ship and on the islands, not because they give them food, but because it was English food.That is something else! I had suffered as a pupil at a school in London when I was a kid.
While, as posted on the cruiser ARA La Argentine receive a summons of the SIN (Naval Intelligence Service) to receive a bag containing the things that the English had rescued from the shelter. So I met again with my clothes, my uniform etc., And the belongings of the NCOs and between that, the Argentine Flag! I had it a while and I did do a chest and donated to the Brownian National Institute, of which I am member number and the Board of Directors and is there, with an inscription, as a donation and an inscription:
"Flag that belonged to the Candido de La Sala Shelter, Illegally Ocupied by British Forces in February 1953".
And here is one thing that didn't told yet: why the shelter was baptized as "Teniente Candido De La Sala." Because the Teniente de Navio Candido de La Sala was the first Argentine officer killed in combat during the Reconquista of the British invasion of 1806 and has a small monument in the square that faces the Military Circle in Retiro, consisting of an anchor and down the plate, which have now returned with a marble but not one of bronze (to prevent further theft) that says:
"In memory of Teniente de Navio Candido de La Sala, first officer killed in combat on the Reconquista", right on the site where he died in combat. He was Lieutenant of the Spanish Navy (of course, in 1806, was Spanish Navy), but he was Argentinean
I was with anguish for a long time, not taking (although obviously could not take anything) some measure; not have been a "Teniente Candido de La Sala".
CB: - One question: Can we arrange a day to go see and take a few photos to the Flag, at the Brownian?
JCh: - Ah! But why not?!
CB: - Because this is an impressive historic value. I never read it anywhere.
JCh: There is a book written by Captain Enrique Pierrou unfortunately now deceased, who was in the Naval Hydrographic Servicein charge of Antarctica section entitled "Argentine Navy in Antarctica." He relates this matter. But he tells as he knew; unfortunately, he never called me. I would have told this story. Quote this occurrence at that way, like a date. It is a known fact didn't. It remained, perhaps on purpose in reserve. It's been fifty-five years and in that time a lot has happened. Even a war.
From the book "SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2" by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001
1 9 5 1: Early in January the ship was deployed for exercises with NATO ships before beginning an extensive foreign visits programme to ports on the east coast of South America including Rio de Janeiro, Porto Belgrano and San Julian in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. An official visit was the made to Montevideo followed by calls at Victoria Forteleza and a most unusual trip up the Amazon River to Manaos, and Santarem, all in Brazil. She returned to Bermuda via Port of Spain, Trinidad and St Lucia arriving on 20th April. The ship was docked on a Patent Slip at Dartmouth, Nov Scotia in June and returned Bermuda the next month for further exercises with the West Indies Squadron. She was deployed for visits in the Caribbean area between August and the end of September when she returned to Portsmouth to Pay-off and recommission after refit, starting in November.
1 9 5 2: Recommissioned on 6th March this ship was deployed in Home waters and served with the 6th Frigate Squadron, Home Fleet until September. In this period she took part in Home Fleet exercises and visited Brighton and Dieppe. She sailed for the West Indies on 4th October and arrived 12 days later with passengers. Soon after arrival she went to St Kitts , Barbados , Tobago, and after refuelling at Port of Spain called at St Vincent, St Lucia, Dominica, Monserrat and Antigua before return to Bermuda for Xmas.
1 9 5 3: In January the ship took part in Squadron exercises at Jamaica before proceeding to take up duty as Guardship at Port Stanley in the Falklands. On passage she called at Bocas de Toro, Panama and at Bluefields in Nicaragua before returning through the Panama Canal to take passage to Rio de Janeiro and arrived in the Falklands to join HM Cruiser SUPERB. Her stay was marked by bad weather and incidents with Argentinean warships during visits to the neighbouring dependencies. She embarked the Governor for some of the visits and sailed for the return to Bermuda in July. On passage she visited Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife as well as the US Navy base at Port of Spain, Trinidad. On arrival she was immediately sent to Kingston, Jamaica to give aid to the civil power at George town with HMS SUPERB and HM Frigate BURGHEAD BAY. the ship then visited Mackenzie with passage up the Demerara River, 60 miles from the sea. Her commission over she sailed from Bermuda on 29th October, arriving in Portsmouth on 9th November to refit.
His story makes no reference to the event of which we speak, only "had incidents with Argentine warships during visits to neighboring units," which is not true.
Carlos Biscioni, according to the interview to record to the Navy Captain (RE) Jorge Chihigaren. May 2008
Translated By SJT.
Note By the translator 1: All the ranks described in this text were converted to the US Navy in order to be understanded by the readers.
Note By the translator 2: The Name of the Shelter was Teniente de Navio Candido de Lasala, in order to keep his memory I choose not to translate it to the English, because he died while in combat in Buenos Aires on July 1807 with the British Army forces, which at that time were trying to seize by force this City they couldn’t buy. The Translated name of the shelter would be Lieutenant Candido de Lasala.