Lancashire doctor recalls vivid memories of the Falklands War in 1982

The sinking of the Liverpool-registered ship the Atlantic Conveyor is often a forgotten casualty of the Falklands War in 1982.

A dozen crew members died aboard the Conveyor when it was struck by Argentinian Exocet missiles in the South Atlantic.

Struck by two enemy missiles during the Falklands War, 12 crew members died on board the Atlantic Conveyor. Credit: Dr Gordon Brooks

But the Conveyor was attacked on the same day as HMS Coventry, so news of the merchant vessel almost went unreported.

On board the Conveyor was the ship's Chief Medical Officer Dr Gordon Brooks, who was brought up in Blackpool.

Also on board a precious cargo of Wessex helicopters, Harrier Jump jets and supplies for the British Task Force once it had landed on the Falkland Islands. A prize target for the enemy.

And on 25 May, 1982 the Atlantic Conveyor was struck by two air-launched Exocet missiles turning the ship into giant fireball.

Dr Gordon Brooks did what he could to save lives. But those trapped in the bow of the Conveyor had no hope of surviving the blasts and subsequent fires.

Eventually the order to abandon ship was given and Gordon managed to clamber down the ship's ladders and jump into the icy cold South Atlantic waters.

He eventually made it to a life raft and was picked up by another ship from the Task Force.

As for the Atlantic Conveyor, she was put under tow, but had been fatally injured by the Exocet missiles and after a few days, she split in two and sank.

The Atlantic Conveyor was fatally damaged by enemy Exocet missiles. Credit: Dr Gordon Brooks

Dr Gordon Brooks returned home safely to his family, and wrongly feels he could have done more on board the Conveyor to help other crew members after the attack.

He says: "I was the medic, I was supposed to help people, and save them. And even though I did my very, very best, I failed.

"And I think that is the thing that drove me from then on to prove to myself that I was good at something."

Gordon's story is part of three special films on Granada Reports this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War in 1982.