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Hainault man reveals all about his part in sinking of Belgrano during Falklands War

PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 October 2012

Crew members on board the HMS Conqueror (picture courtesy of Plymouth Herald)

Crew members on board the HMS Conqueror (picture courtesy of Plymouth Herald)

Archant

A Hainault man will speak publicly about his part in one of the most contentious moments in the Falklands War – the sinking of the Belgrano.

George Deeming, not his real name, was working in an east London engineering factory in 1982 during the conflict between the UK and Argentina.

Though he was previously bound by the Official Secrets Act, George has written a book, Onward Silent Apostle, about the conflict on its 20th anniversary and will discuss it at Hainault Library, Manford Way, on October 25.

In it he tries to come to terms with the fact the technology he worked on, as part of the secret Sentinel Project, was used to sink the warship.

The Argentine cruiser was torpedoed by submarine HMS Conqueror on May 2, 1982.

In total, 323 crew died and 770 had to be rescued and the attack led to a long-standing debate about its tactical necessity.

Mr Deeming, who is now retired, said: “I think all the people thought it [the technology] wouldn’t be used.

“I thought a nuclear submarine would never be used.

“It came as a great shock when the conflict was under way with Argentina.

“During the Second World War, they were our friends.”

He said he worked on sonar technology which was used to detect the vessel.

His memoir tells of how the event changed the camaraderie among factory workers and he struggled because he was not allowed to talk about it. He said: “I kept it from my family.

“The other side was having to sit in the pub and listen to talk about the Belgrano. The book was a way to bring it out in the open and relieve pressure.”

Mr Deeming spoke to British and Argentine ex-servicemen who were involved, including a number of conversations with Marcelo Pozzo who was badly burned in the attack.

Following the sinking, it was said the Belgrano was sailing away from the disputed islands.

The free talk is from 7 to 8.30pm.

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