Brave technician is among Sultan group who win cup

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Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Andrew Johnson was awarded the David Briggs Cup in a special ceremony at HMS Sultan in Gosport.

Technician Johnson, who is now serving onboard Type 23 frigate HMS Iron Duke, was given the honour for leadership, courage and selflessness while completing the 30-week engineering technician initial career course at HMS Sultan.

Rear Admiral John Weale was the guest of honour at the presentation.

The award commemorates Petty Officer Marine Engineering Mechanic (Mechanical) David Briggs who died in the Falklands War.

PO Briggs was serving aboard HMS Sheffield, a Type 42 destroyer which was the first British ship to be lost in the 1982 conflict. The missile failed to explode but caused a major fire.

A brave and dedicated man, PO Briggs placed in motion the initial firefighting effort then moved forwards to his action station where personnel were being evacuated from. PO Briggs continued to lead his team in their efforts to recover important equipment which was necessary to continue the firefighting operations on board the stricken vessel.

Entering a hatch which was too small to allow breathing equipment through, PO Briggs and his team continued to re-enter the smoke-filled forward section of the vessel to pass out much valuable equipment.

Sadly, on the last attempt he was overcome by smoke and rendered unconscious, with attempts to revive him proving unsuccessful.

Of the 20 who died in the attack, David’s was the only body to have been recovered and it was flown out to flagship HMS Hermes on May 6 and on that same evening was buried at sea.

From Lee-on-the-Solent, David’s name is included on Gosport’s war memorial and his memory also lives on in at HMS Sultan through the award which is presented annually.