Falklands 40: Headlines from The News, Portsmouth, on May 26, 1982

These are the headlines from The News on May 26, 1982 – reporting on the loss of 20 of HMS Coventry’s crew the previous day.

Thursday, 26th May 2022, 4:55 am

HMS Coventry: 20 die. Portsmouth destroyer capsizes in bomb attack

Twenty members of the crew of the Portsmouth-based guided-missile destroyer HMS Coventry died when the ship was bombed and capsized in last night’s fierce attacks by Argentinian aircraft.

A further 20 were injured and the remainder of the 280 crew were safe on board other task force ships

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The British destroyer HMS Coventry sinks after being hit by bombs from Argentine Skyhawk aircraft on May 25, 1982

This was announced by Mr John Nott, the Defence Secretary, in the Commons this afternoon. He said: ‘There may be more losses but our resolve is undiminished.’

Mr Nott said that four crew members were killed and some injured when air-launched Exocet missiles hit the merchant ship Atlantic Conveyor, which was the mother ship for 20 Harrier fighters and equipment. The rest of the 170 crew were safe.

Mr Nott said that two warships, including HMS Coventry, were outside Falkland Sound to provide early warning of enemy attack.

At about 1.30pm London time yesterday a reconnaissance plane was seen and was shot down by Coventry, using Sea Dart missiles.

The News on May 26, 1982

Four Sky Hawks were later seen and they too were shot down by Coventry and land-based weapons.

Six hours later there was another attack on Coventry and she was hit by several bombs and later capsized.

An hour later the Atlantic Conveyor was attacked by two Super Etendard aircraft with Exocet missiles. She was hit and set on fire. She had no Harriers on board but was loaded with stores and equipment.

Exocet meant for Hermes

The two air-launched Exocet missiles, fired from 28 miles away, which knocked out the Sea Harrier mother ship Atlantic Conveyor, were meant for the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier H.M.S. Hermes.

Hermes, with Invincible the highest-value ships in the task force, was close enough to see the attack, north-east of the Falklands.

The two French-built Super Entendard fighter-bombers which made the attack, were refuelled in mid-flight by a Hercules tanker in a raid which had been carefully planned.

HMS Coventry’s accompanying ship, the Type 22 “super frigate” HMS Broadsword also suffered minor damage but no casualties are reported from her.

We must fight on

The latest losses in the Falklands will not diminish the resolve to fight for the Islands, Portsmouth city council leader said today.

‘We have embarked on the recovery of the Falkland Islands which are our territory and we have to see it through,’ said Mr John Marshall.

‘All credit to the Royal Navy which has sustained such terrible losses supporting our ground based troops.

‘I have no doubt the people of the city who are devoted to the defence of our nation want to see this through to the end and a successful conclusion.’

Sprinters turn in impressive performances

There were several impressive performances by Portsmouth area athletes in the Hampshire Police Championships at Southampton.

Portsmouth AC’s David Martin ran into a headwind to win the 200m in 22.6 seconds, beating faster sprinters on his way to winning a cassette recorder. And clubmate Graham Mahoney also took part in the Southampton event and claimed second places in the 200m and 400m.

Graham, who runs in the 100m and 200m events in the Southern Counties Championships in London this evening, finished runner-up to European 400m champion Todd Bennett (Southampton and Eastleigh) in the 400m race.