31st March 1982 Whitehall Pausing only to make a quick phone call to get a quick update on the disposition and readiness of his fleet and having found the defence secretary not in his office but at an emergency meeting to discuss the imminent invasion the fully and glitteringly bemedaled uniformed figure set out in pursuit of him. Annoyed at being stopped by a policeman he was forced to send a message to the meeting to announce his arrival. He noted that the messenger moved with slightly more of a hurry than normal almost as if he wanted to be away from this imposing figure sooner rather than later. A slight smile crept across his face and inside the First Sea Lord Admiral Henry Leach enjoyed this moment and in certain a way looked forward to what was about to come. He’d always thought that deep down the Defence Secretary John Nott was slightly intimidated by if not scared of him. Certainly, following the previous year’s defence review which had savaged the navy there wasn’t much love lost between the two. He wished that he could see the look on Nott’s face when the news reached him that the one person who could make this meeting more even more uncomfortable than it already was for him was waiting outside. His thoughts were interrupted by the messengers return and invite to enter. Upon entering he saw the Defence Secretary talking with the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who seemed to be trying to impress on her his opinion that there was no likelihood of a successful military response to the crisis. After taking a brief moment to observe the apparent haplessness of Mr Nott and assembled others (some of whom had clearly been subjected to some very awkward questioning) and completely ignoring his superior the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff the decisive First Sea Lord veteran of numerous conflicts made himself known to the PM directly. Earlier he had thought to himself “What the hell’s the point of having a navy if you’re not going to use it?” he would now find out if that question would be answered. PM: Admiral with all the risks that we have discussed are we able to carry out such an operation to recover the Falkland Islands? 1SL: Yes, we can and we must. PM: What makes you say that we must? 1SL: Because if we do not or if we pussyfoot in our actions and do not achieve complete success in another few months we shall be living in a very different county whose words count for little. PM: If we commit to this course how soon can we begin preparations? 1SL: The light carriers INVINCIBLE and the HERMES can be ready to sail within a few days, I can build an amphibious group around them and 3 Commando Brigade to be carried on the FEARLESS and INTREPID. Some ships already at sea can be ready to move even sooner. But we must start now PM: What about our big carriers, surely, we must still have some of them left to send? 1SL: Prime minister we still have one.