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HMS Clyde honours ‘forgotten ship’

21 September 2016
On the beautiful headland of Hookers Point, officers from the Navy’s guardian of the Falklands HMS Clyde paid tribute to men of the last British warship to suffer casualties under enemy fire.

Today’s sailors visited the memorial to destroyer HMS Glamorgan – an imposing slab of polished Welsh granite erected on the spot closest to where the Portsmouth warship was hit in the final hours of the Falklands conflict 34 years ago.

Glamorgan’s guns had provided support to the Royal Marines of 45 Commando, assaulting Argentine troops dug in on Two Sisters Mountain – one of the final battles in the assault on the capital Stanley.

With the mission accomplished, Glamorgan moved away from the coast to re-join the bulk of the Royal Navy task force. It was then that she was targeted by an Exocet missile, fired from a makeshift battery at Hookers Point.

Maintaining and commemorating the Royal Navy's heritage in the Islands is an important part of Clyde’s mission and on a beautiful Falklands morning

Lt Cdr Conor O’Neill RN

Glamorgan manoeuvred to ensure that much of the Exocet’s blast was diverted into the air, but the ship’s fully-fuelled and armed Wessex helicopter exploded in the hangar, her Sea Cat missile system was blown overboard and sailors 150ft away were knocked off their feet by the blast as flames shot 100ft into the air.

Had the Exocet impacted a matter of inches lower, it would have exploded in Glamorgan’s main missile magazine – and the resulting explosion would have torn the ship apart. As it was 14 men were killed, all subsequently buried at sea.

It took nearly 30 years to erect a memorial – long after other ships sunk or badly damaged received monuments, earning Glamorgan the tag ‘the forgotten ship’.

Taking a break from patrols around the Falklands where their ship is permanently stationed, a small party of sailors from HMS Clyde, led by her Commanding Officer Lt Cdr Conor O’Neill made their way to Hookers Point to pay their respects and place a wreath on the monument.

“Maintaining and commemorating the Royal Navy's heritage in the Islands is an important part of Clyde’s mission and on a beautiful Falklands morning it was a privilege to mark Glamorgan’s sacrifice,” said Lt Cdr O’Neill.

Sub Lt Ben Easton, one the trainees learning the art of navigation aboard Clyde, added: “My father served in the Falklands not long after the war and I was very proud to continue my family's tradition of honouring those who gave their lives in the conflict.”

The memorial can be found just off the Stanley Airport Road. If you look up after reading the inscription on it, you will face the spot on the ocean where Glamorgan was hit.

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