Poppies at Sea
When I asked Alex if he would be prepared to take time out on his brave adventure around the world, and spread poppies on the sea at the closest point of approach to the spot near the Falkland Islands, where we buried our shipmates who laid down their lives, following the Exocet attack, during the Falklands war he replied:
“I would be honoured to lay down the poppies at sea for you –
I see it as a privilege to be asked”.
I have been inspired by what Alex has already achieved in his lifetime and I am extremely proud to count him as a friend. Together with the members of the ship’s company who wished to support Alex in this amazing venture and all those on board HMS GLAMORGAN who survived that dreadful moment in 1982, I wish him the very best in his world record-breaking attempt and thank him most sincerely for agreeing to carry out this meaningful tribute to those we lost in 1982. We will have a picture of the memorial on the side of Alex’s boat to honour those sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Captain Peter Galloway Royal Navy, Weapon Engineering Officer, HMS GLAMORGAN, 1982
The story behind the tribute
On the night of 11th/12th June 1982 HMS GLAMORGAN, a County Class destroyer, was supporting 45 Commando Royal Marines with naval gunfire bombardments during their assault on Argentine troops on the Two Sisters Heights overlooking Port Stanley. Having fired some 145 rounds of high explosive shells in support of the Royal Marines over eight hours at Action Stations and steaming away from the islands some 19 miles offshore, the ship was struck by an Argentinian Exocet Missile fired from ashore.
The missile struck the ship at 06.37 on 12th June on the port side aft, exploding on impact, destroying the Wessex helicopter, severely damaging the hangar, and wrecking the main galley below. Thirteen of the ship’s company were killed, with a further fourteen injured, who were evacuated to HMS HERMES and HMS INVINCIBLE.
Although badly damaged and with serious fires raging and serious flooding, by 10:00 on that day, with all fires extinguished, she was able to leave the danger area at 20 knots.
The thirteen crew members who lost their lives that day were buried at sea that evening at 19.35, in position 51º 50.5′ S, 53º 31.2′ W, and it is them we remember as we, that are left, proceed with our lives.
We will remember them.
In February 2011, a beautiful memorial to the thirteen who lost their lives that day, and the fourteenth who died soon after our return to Portsmouth, was erected at Hookers Point on the Falkland Islands facing the spot, out to sea, where HMS GLAMORGAN was hit.