Falklands 40: Headlines from The News, Portsmouth on May 7, 1982

Today’s headlines were still understandably centred on the terrible loss of life onboard HMS Sheffield in the Falklands.

Saturday, 7th May 2022, 4:55 am

In the hush of mourning, Hants grieves for Sheffield victims

The hush of mourning lay over homes in the Portsmouth area today as families and friends faced the loss of 16 men from the South in the HMS Sheffield tragedy.

Badly hit was the village of Stubbington, which lost four men.

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HMS Sheffield, damaged by an Exocet missile attack near the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War, May 1982. Twenty people lost their lives in the incident and the ship later sank in the South Atlantic Picture: Martin Cleaver/Pool/Getty Images)

Four more from Gosport, two from Portchester and one each from Portsmouth, Havant, Purbrook, Lee-on-Solent, the Isle of Wight, and Grayshott are also on the tragic list.

At Stubbington, the grief is for Lt-Cmdr. John Woodhead, 40, a weapons engineering officer, Petty Officer Cook Robert Fagan, 34, Acting Chief Weapons Engineering Mechanic Michael Till, 35, and Leading Cook Adrian Wellstead, 26.

Leading Cook Wellstead’s widow, Karen, is expecting a baby in a few weeks. The couple recently moved to Stubbington from Portsmouth.

The most seriously ill of the 24 Sheffield crewmen injured in the missile attack is Chief Mechanician John Strange, 38, from Gosport.

The News on May 7, 1982

The confirmed casualty figures were given by the Ministry of Defence last night. The 242 survivors uninjured have been transferred to other ships in the task force.

Sheffield was carrying 286 men when she was hit, 16 more than her normal complement.

Task force wives’ groups were closing ranks to comfort the bereaved families. Said one wife: ‘All we can do in these situations is to stand by and help one another when we can.’

Choice is peace or war

Foreign Secretary Mr Francis Pym today made it clear in the Commons that, if Argentina will not enter into peace talks, Britain will take military action to end the illegal occupation of the Falklands.

The Foreign Secretary repeatedly emphasized the fact that it was Argentinian obstruction and intransigence which had led to the breakdown of peace initiatives.

He said that, if Argentina had accepted the President of Peru’s peace plan, a ceasefire could have come into force at 5pm today.

The Foreign Secretary’s assurances were wholeheartedly supported by Tory MPs.

Anger at Navy Days poster

A poster featuring HMS Sheffield, advertising Navy Days in Portsmouth, has caused a furore in thousands of shops and pubs throughout the country.

By a quirk of fate, the ship was chosen to illustrate the Royal Navy’s Type 42 class guided missile destroyers.

Sheffield is clearly identified in the poster, with the markings D 80 on her hull.

About 30,000 posters - a third of the total - have been distributed to shops, hotels, pubs and tour and coach operators up and down the country.

Since the missile attack on Sheffield, however, the posters have been taken down from numerous shop windows after complaints from sharp-eyed customers.

‘Save city’s tourist trade’

Southsea’s tourist industry is being eroded at its foundations by the number of hotels closing down, hoteliers fear.

The President of Southsea Hotels, Guest House and Caterers Association (Mr Tony Knight) has urged a tough line to help preserve the resort.

Hotel owners have watched with increasing concern at the number of hotels which have changed their uses in recent months.

But previous attempts to get city planners to block applications for changes of use, into rest homes and nursing homes, have failed.

Mr Knight said: ‘I view the trend of hotel closures as a worrying erosion of the base of the city’s tourist industry.’