Wives of men in Royal Navy during Falklands War recall dread amid TV news reports of ships being hit

WIVES of men serving in the Royal Navy have spoken of their dread at ‘being in the dark’ during the Falklands War in 1982.

By Steve Deeks
Friday, 24th June 2022, 4:55 am

Commemoration events were held over the weekend to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and veterans who are still paying the price now for what happened.

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And while those who served can still recall the horrors of the war with Argentina between April and June, things were not easy for wives back home.

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The Falklands 40 parade through Havant. Picture: Mike Cooter (090622)

Anxieties were especially heightened when news broadcasts reported ships had been hit.

Wives from those serving on HMS Arrow, a ship that rescued most of the surviving crew from HMS Sheffield, spoke of the challenges they faced.

Janet Palmer, whose husband Chris was on Arrow observing helicopters, said: ‘We didn’t have much communication so didn’t know what was going on.

‘We felt like we were in the dark quite a bit. But we thought things would be fine until the first casualty.

‘It was difficult whenever there were news broadcasts on television saying a ship had been hit. They didn’t say which one had been hit so we were left wondering and trying to find out.’

Janet, of Havant, recalled being with a wife of a man serving on board HMS Sheffield after reports it had been hit. ‘She was on the phone trying to find out if her husband was alive. We were hoping he had not been killed,’ she said.

Another wife added: ‘All the wives got to know each other and would meet up and pass information to each other which was useful.

‘It was good to have that support at a difficult time when our husbands were away at war.’

Meanwhile Janet’s husband Chris, 68, said of the war: ‘It was bizarre - I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was the first time Britain had gone to war since the end of the Second World War.

‘We didn’t know much of what was going on with there little information. There was very little intelligence.

‘I was airborne when we were hit. It was frightening and scary.’

Speaking of communication with back home, he added: ‘Once deployed you just got on with the job with little communication. It’s a lot different now.’