Falklands Task Force commander Sir Sandy Woodward dies

Admiral Sir John 'Sandy' Woodward pictured last year at his home in Bosham.''''Picture: Sarah Standing (121088-6854)
Admiral Sir John 'Sandy' Woodward pictured last year at his home in Bosham.''''Picture: Sarah Standing (121088-6854)

Bells ring out in tribute

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Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward, the naval officer who commanded the Falklands Task Force, has died.

News of his passing was confirmed to the BBC by his daughter today.

He was 81.

Adml Woodward was the commander of the carrier force sent by Margaret Thatcher to retake the Falkland Islands in 1982.

He served as deputy chief of defence staff from 1985, and was made admiral in 1987.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has today commended Adml Woodward on his ‘magnificent achievement’ and said he would be remembered by many as the navy’s fighting admiral’.

Mr Hammond said: ‘I am saddened by the news that Admiral Sir John “Sandy” Woodward, has died and my thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

‘Adml Woodward served his country with distinction throughout his career, but he will be best remembered by many as the navy’s fighting admiral after he led the Royal Navy Task Force, sent by Margaret Thatcher, to re-take the Falkland Islands in 1982.

‘Following this magnificent achievement he served as the deputy chief of the defence staff and went on before retirement to be the Flag Aide-de Camp to the Queen.’

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said Admiral Woodward was highly regarded and widely respected in the military.

He said: ‘Adml Sir Sandy Woodward will always be remembered for his powerful and clear command of the Royal Navy Task Force that retook the Falkland Islands in 1982.

‘Undaunted by the challenge of fighting a capable enemy over 8,000 miles from the UK, in the most demanding and extreme of weather conditions, and against uncertain odds, Admiral Woodward’s inspirational leadership and tactical acumen, meshing the realities of the higher political command at home with the raw and violent fight at sea, was a major factor in shaping the success of the British forces in the South Atlantic.

‘Highly regarded and widely respected within the military, he will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.’

In April last year, The News interviewed Adml Woodward about his leadership in the Falklands conflict. Click here to read the interview.