Malayan Emergency and Falklands War 1982 pair awarded to Signalman D. Noble, Royal Signals, later a Motorman with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Almost certainly a National Serviceman in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency, he later most usually joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and was a Motorman aboard the stores and ammunition ship RFA Fort Austin during the operations in the South Atlantic in the Falklands War in 1982. Fort Austin took part in the landings at San Carlos Water, and was later involved in taking on the WE.177A nuclear depth charge’s from the Type 22 frigate Brilliant, a decision taken to avoid breaking the UK obligation to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, often referred to as the Latin-America Nuclear Free Zone.
General Service Medal 1918-1962, GVI 2nd type bust, 1 Clasp: Malaya; (22016291 SIGMN D NOBLE R SIGS); South Atlantic Medal 1982 with Rosette; (MOTORMAN D NOBLE RFA FORT AUSTIN), mounted swing style as worn.
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Awarded to Signalman (No.22016281) D. Noble, Royal Signals, who saw service in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency, most probably as a National Serviceman. Having left the British Army, he then may well have joined the Merchant Navy, and he went on to join the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and was a Motorman aboard the RFA Fort Austin during the Falklands War in 1982. The RFA Fort Austin was commissioned in 1979, and was designed to carry a wide range of dry stores to support fleet task forces; ammunition, food, explosives. The ship also had extensive aviation facilities, with two flight decks, one to the stern and one spot on top of the hangar, and up to four Sea Kings could be stored in the large hangar. The vessel was able to replenish other ships at sea.
When the Falklands War began, the RFA Fort Austin was deployed in the western Mediterranean for the annual Spring Train exercise, and received orders to head south, taking part in the landings at San Carlos Water as a stores and ammunition ship. When the order to head south was given, several warships had the WE.177A nuclear depth charge deployed aboard. Amongst these were the Type 22 frigates Broadsword and Brilliant and the aircraft carriers Harmes and Invincible. Some newspaper reports also named RFA Fort Austin.
The Ministry of Defence explored various options to transfer these nuclear weapons from the frigates to the safety of the deep magazines aboard Fort Austin, Hermes and Invincible. An MoD publication describes a complex series of manoeuvres to avoid the presence of these nuclear warheads in areas that would break the UK obligation to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, often referred to as the Latin-America Nuclear Free Zone. In no circumstances could ships carrying nuclear weapons enter territorial waters around the Falkland Islands. After the conflict ended, weapons were transferred at sea to the two RFAs Fort Austin and Resource for transport back to the UK.