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The Empire Strikes Back: The Falklands Conflict

Lecture by Commodore Michael Clapp and Lieutenant-Colonel Ewen Southby-Tailyour

The Falkland Campaign: Amphibious and Naval Inshore Support Operations
Commodore Michael Clapp
This lecture will cover the problems of mounting the amphibious operation for which there had been no contingency planning and the difficulties that resulted from a small staff that was not complemented for an operation of the scale and type envisaged. The rapid sailing, equipping and training of an ad-hoc task group of Royal Naval, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Merchant Naval ships; the planning of the landings and their execution; the follow up operations with 5 Brigade and the inshore and logistic problems in support of the military as they moved towards Stanley and final victory.

Commodore Clapp commanded the Falkland’s Amphibious Task Group (CTG 317.0). Brigadier Thompson, his Landing Force Commander, and he jointly planned the landing of 3 Commando Brigade in San Carlos Water while Clapp was responsible for its execution. Clapp later landed the Divisional Headquarters and the Army 5 Brigade and was responsible for most inshore operations and much of the logistic support of the military.


Lieutenant- Colonel Ewen Southby-Tailyour
Beachcombing is the expression used for covert beach intelligence undertaken by people like me when 'on holiday' and which is then forwarded to DI4 - undertaken, seemingly by an innocent 'tourist' without obvious equipment for, say, measuring the stability of sand surface or underwater gradients. In 1978, Ewen Southby-Tailyour was an officer commanding a small Royal Marines detachment in the Falkland Islands. On his own initiative he sailed around and extensively chartered the waters and compiled a notebook filled with data on harbours, inlets and landing spots. Even today it is still the most comprehensive sailing guide to the area. After the Argentine forces invaded, the British Forces asked for his book but he refused unless assigned as ‘staff officer without portfolio.’ He was made the navigation adviser to the command as well as commander of the Task Force Landing Craft Squadron.
Ewen Southby-Tailyour joined the Royal Marines in 1960, served in 42 43 and 45 (twice) Cdos and numerous UK, US and French ships as a Landing Craft Officer. He was seconded to the Sultan of Muscat's Armed Forces from 1966-68 as a Company Commander and was awarded the Sultan's Bravery Medal for operations during the Dhofar War. He commanded naval party 8901 in the Falklands 1978-79 - (surveyed beaches for own use) then returned in 1982 as the Amphibious and Navigational Adviser and as CO of the specially formed Task Force Landing Craft Squadron. He invented, formed then commanded for 4 years 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines before retiring in 1992 when he became an author of military biographies and built yachts for high-latitude exploring and surveying.


Commodore Michael Clapp | talks
Lieutenant - Colonel Ewen Southby-Tailyour | talks


Date and Time:

31 May 2007 at 11:00 am


1 hour 30 minutes



National Maritime Museum
Park Row
SE10 9NF
020 8312 6716

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Available from:

National Maritime Museum. Bookings 020 8312 8560

Additional Information:

Lecture 3 of a 4-week series. Cost of course 325/£20

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