Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Pecking the Lobes: The sinking of HMS Sheffield.

HMS Sheffield was another Type 42 guided missle destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was attacked by the Argentine Air Force during the late morning of May 4th, 1982. The attack upon her was in retaliation for the sinking of the Cruiser Belgrano.

The attack was unique in that it was an attack upon a guided missile destroyer, bristling with radar, and neither the approaching aircraft or its deployed Exocet missile was detected by radar. HMS Sheffield was severely damaged by fire and abandoned. Whilst waiting for rescue, the crew sang "always look on the bright side of life", after Monty Python.

The burnt-out hulk was taken in tow by the Rothesay class frigate HMS Yarmouth but sank at 53°04'S, 56°56' W on 10 May 1982; high seas led to slow flooding through the hole in the ships side which eventually took her to the bottom. This made her the first Royal Navy vessel sunk in action in almost forty years. Twenty of her crew (mainly on duty in the Galley-area) died during the attack. The wreck is a war grave and designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

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