Falklands 1982

Memorial service marks largest loss of life in Falklands conflict

Fifty crewmen and soldiers lost their lives in the attack on Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram

A memorial service has taken place in Southampton for those who lost their lives when two Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships were bombed during the Falklands conflict.

Both Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram were attacked by Argentinian jets on 8 June 1982, resulting in the largest loss of life in a single incident during the conflict by the British.

They were targeted as they tried to take troops and supplies into Fitzroy, East Falkland.

Philip Roberts, the Captain of Sir Galahad during the attack, told Forces News he was heading back into the chart room when there was the sound of "jets screaming overhead."

He added: "The ship was being called to action stations and just as I closed the door it blew open again and a great cloud of smoke shot into the chart room."

John Hood, a Purser on Sir Galahad, told Forces News he remembers two aircraft flying overhead and thinking, "What next?"

Watch: Princess Anne pays tribute to Falklands veterans in Westminster ceremony.

"Then, of course, bombs hit, the world just turned upside down and I was thrown about."

Mr Roberts added that, after the bombs had hit the ship, he rushed to the bridge wing and could see "smoke coming out of the engine room to start with," as well as items exploding out of a hatch that was open ready to offload the Welsh Guards equipment.

"My first reaction really was to try and get everybody out onto the upper deck," he said.

"I knew the Welsh Guards and troops were down below, so the longer they stayed down there, the greater danger they would be in, so I grabbed the ship's internal broadcast microphone and yelled 'abandon ship, abandon ship'."

There were 50 crewmen and soldiers killed in the attack, with the service representing a chance to remember those who lost their lives.

Mr Hood said it was important to veterans of the conflict to "remember those that didn't make it and what could have been for them."

"Here I am, 40 years later… and I reflect on that," he said.