A fine South Atlantic Falklands War 1982 and First Gulf War Persian Gulf Support Operations pair awarded to Lieutenant Commander M.J. Ovens, Royal Navy, who saw service with the Radar Branch as an Able Seaman during the Falklands War aboard the aircraft carrier H.M.S Invincible, and then saw service during the First Gulf War in the Persian Gulf aboard the Type 42 destroyer Cardiff as part of Group X-Ray which had sailed to relieve Armilla Group Whiskey. Cardiff and Gloucester were to form part of the air defence barrier protecting three Un
A fine South Atlantic Falklands War 1982 and First Gulf War Persian Gulf Support Operations pair awarded to Lieutenant Commander M.J. Ovens, Royal Navy, who saw service with the Radar Branch as an Able Seaman during the Falklands War aboard the aircraft carrier H.M.S Invincible, and then saw service during the First Gulf War in the Persian Gulf aboard the Type 42 destroyer Cardiff as part of Group X-Ray which had sailed to relieve Armilla Group Whiskey. Cardiff and Gloucester were to form part of the air defence barrier protecting three United States aircraft carriers. Ovens was subsquently commissioned in May 1991, and he went on to see service as a Supply Officer and then as a Principal Warfare Officer (Underwater), being promoted to Lieutenant in 1994, and to Commander in 1997.
South Atlantic Medal 1982 with Rosette; (AB(R) M J OVENS D183038T HMS INVINCIBLE); Gulf Medal 1990-1991, no clasp; (SLT M J OVENS RN), mounted swing style as worn.
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Together with recipient’s original Royal Navy Certificate of Service.
Michael James Ovens was born on 20th August 1962 in Leicester, Leicestershire, and joined the Royal Navy straight from school at a Seaman (No.D183038T) with Raleigh on 26th February 1980. Having qualified for service with the Radar Branch whilst with Dryad on 21st November 1980, he then joined the aircraft carrier H.M.S Invincible on 9th December 1980.
Rated as an Able Seaman with the Radar Branch on 8th September 1981. On 25 February 1982, after several months of negotiations, the Australian government announced that it had agreed to buy Invincible for £175 million as a replacement. The sale was confirmed by the Ministry of Defence. On 2 April 1982, however, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. Three days later, a naval task force headed by Invincible and Hermes left Portsmouth bound for the South Atlantic and, on 20 April, the British war cabinet ordered the repossession of the Islands. Along with eight Sea Harriers, the Invincible's airgroup included twelve Sea King helicopters that were slightly larger than the ship had originally been designed to accommodate. Small machine guns were added around the flight deck and island for close-in defence.
On 23 April, while en route from Ascension Island to the Falklands, Invincible mistakenly locked her Sea Dart missile system on a VARIG Brazilian Airlines DC-10 rather than on the Argentine Air Force Boeing 707 that had been monitoring the fleet's movements. The previous day, Task Group Commander Rear Admiral “Sandy” Woodward had sought permission from Commander-in-Chief Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse to shoot down the 707 as he believed its activity indicated a raid would be launched from the Argentine aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo. As the 707 would be no direct threat to the fleet, Woodward ordered Weapons Tight and the continued tracking of the aircraft's course while a Sea Harrier was dispatched to investigate. The Harrier pilot reported that "it was a Brazilian airliner, with all the normal navigation and running lights on." Details of the Harrier interception appeared in the Brazilian press along with the claim that the DC-10's passengers were "alleged to have been frightened" and Woodward's comment that "[i]nconvenience to passengers' underwear regretted unless any of them were Argentinian”.
On 1 June, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser advised the British government that the sale of Invincible to Australia could be cancelled if desired. In July 1983, a year after the end of the Falklands conflict, the Ministry of Defence announced that it had withdrawn its offer to sell Invincible so it could maintain a three-carrier force. Although Argentina claimed to have damaged the ship during the conflict, this was officially denied by the British government and no evidence of any such damage has been produced or uncovered.
Appointed to Acting Leading Seaman on 1st November 1982, Ovens then rejoined Dryad on 1st June 1983, and was then posted to the aircraft carrier Ark Royal on 12th June 1984, being promoted to Leading Seaman on 10th August 1984. Rejoining Dryad on 23rd May 1988, he then joined the radar establishment Royal Arthur on 9th January 1989, before rejoining Dryad on 11th February 1989, and being appointed to Acting Petty Officer on 2nd August 1989. Having then joined the Type 42 destroyer Cardiff on 8th January 1990, and was with her to the Persian Gulf up to May 1990 just prior to the Iraq War breaking out.
Having returned home with Cardiff in May 19900, after the 2nd August 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, he was promoted to Petty Officer whilst aboard her on 3rd August 1990, and then returned with Cardiff to the Persian Gulf, where she served as a reinforcement to Group X-Ray, which had sailed to relieve Armilla Group Whiskey. Cardiff and Gloucester were to form part of the air defence barrier protecting three United States aircraft carriers. Cardiff had other responsibilities, including surface surveillance and boarding operations, to maintain the security around the task force. Having returned home and been posted back to Dryad on 18th December 1990, he then joined the officer school Dartmouth on 1st May 1991.
Commissioned as a Sub Lieutenant on 28th July 1991, as of 1992 he was still serving with Dryad, and saw service with the Supply Department as a Supply Officer. Noted as being aboard the frigate Marlborough in 1993, by 1994 he was serving with the shore establishment Cambridge at Wembury, and having been promoted to Lieutenant on 29th July 1994, by 1995 Ovens was back with Dryad. By 1996 he was on an exchange duty in Australia, having qualified as a Principal Warfare Officer (Underwater), and by 1998 was back with Dryad. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 20th August 1997, by 2001 he was serving with the Flag Officer Sea Training at Devonport as a Principal Warfare Officer (Underwater).