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Sailors maintain warships' memorial in time for Falklands 40th anniversary

22 September 2021
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Falklands-based sailors tidied up the monument to crews of Type 21 frigates ahead of next year’s 40th anniversary of the conflict.

A team of seven personnel who support UK operations in the South Atlantic climbed Campito Hill which dominates nearby San Carlos Water – scene of several days of bitter battle between the liberating fleet and Argentine aircraft in May 1982.

The summit of the now-calm waters is crowned by the Type 21 Memorial, honouring frigate crews whose ships formed a ring of steel around the amphibious forces landing men and material at San Carlos.

HMS Ardent was bombed repeatedly on the first day of the landings and eventually sank, while the demise of HMS Antelope – torn apart when attempts to de-fuse an unexploded bomb detonated it – provided some of the most haunting, iconic imagery of the war.

Those killed are commemorated in a memorial typical of those which pepper the Falklands: a rocky cairn crowned with a cross, plus a plaque honouring the fallen.

“After seeing the iconic pictures of HMS Antelope, I was proud to go and remember those who were lost during the conflict and I felt it was important to see the area and feel the history,” said Leading Writer James Yates.

 
I shall treasure the ensign and am most grateful to all those servicemen and servicewomen involved.

Capt Tobin

The team performed routine maintenance on the remote memorial, cleaned the plaques and replaced wreaths that had been dislodged by the elements.
They also found a number of items that had been left by previous visitors and ensured they were returned to their original place on the memorial.

“Looking at the various trinkets, plaques and a bottle of rum left for shipmates lost, shows the Naval character, pride and comradeship that always follows us wherever we go,” James added.

Work done, the sailors unfurled a White Ensign and held a short service of remembrance.

The flag has now been flown back to the UK and presented to Antelope’s Commanding Officer, Captain Nick Tobin, who received it from Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd.
 
“I shall treasure the ensign and am most grateful to all those servicemen and servicewomen involved,” Capt Tobin said.


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