SAILORS from Portsmouth paid an emotional tribute to the men of the last British warship to suffer casualties under enemy fire.
Officers from HMS Clyde visited the memorial to HMS Glamorgan – a slab of polished Welsh granite erected on the spot closest to where the Portsmouth destroyer was hit in the final hours of the Falklands war in 1982.
Crew lays wreath in remembrance to HMS Glamorgan| Portsmouth destroyer was the last British warship to suffer casualties under enemy fire|Lieutenant Commander Conor O’Neill
Glamorgan’s guns had provided support to Royal Marines assaulting Argentine troops dug in on Two Sisters mountain.
With the mission accomplished, Glamorgan moved away from the coast to re-join the rest of the navy task force.
It was then that she was targeted by an Exocet missile, fired from a makeshift battery at Hookers Point.
The missile slammed into the ship’s fully-fuelled and armed Wessex helicopter which exploded in the hangar, with the blast knocking sailors 150ft away off their feet 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 which would have ripped the ship apart.
As it was, 14 men were killed and 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 stationed, a small party of sailors from HMS Clyde, led by commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Conor O’Neill, made their way to Hookers Point to lay 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,’ Lt Cdr O’Neill said.
Sub Lieutenant Ben Easton, a trainee 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.’