Falklands

Former First Sea Lord and HMS Ardent captain recalls its sinking 40 years on

Admiral Lord West's vessel sustained serious damage from the incoming waves of air attacks.

Four decades since the sinking of HMS Ardent in the Falklands conflict, former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West has been speaking about his memories of captaining the ship.

He had been in command of the Type 21 frigate for about 18 months when it set sail in April 1982, in the wake of the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands.

The Former First Sea Lord, who won a Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in May 1982, says HMS Ardent "had a Mark 8 gun which has a slightly longer range than some of the other guns that were in the Navy at the time and they needed a ship to bombard Goose Green".

During a reception in the House of Lords to mark the 40th anniversary of the conflict, Admiral Lord West told Forces News how they sailed HMS Ardent close to shore and fired 170 shells into Goose Green destroying aircraft.

His vessel sustained serious damage from the incoming waves of air attacks.

He remembered "we had bombs that straddled us, and a bomb that went straight through us, I was dodging bombs", before losing all power.

He added: "It was quite clear from all the reports that we were about to explode and we were sinking by the stern and I ordered abandon ship".

Looking back on the conflict, he says the memories are very stark and recalls how he had nightmares about it for some time.

Admiral Lord West says parallels can be drawn between the behaviour of Argentina back then and Russia today and that it is important to stand up to "bullies".

Cover image: HMS Ardent Association.