Cathedral to host memorial for HMS Sheffield victims 34 years on from Falklands tragedy

HMS Sheffield ablaze in the South Atlantic in May 1982.
HMS Sheffield ablaze in the South Atlantic in May 1982.
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Former crew of HMS Sheffield will gather in the city this weekend to remember those who died when the ship was blasted by a missile during the Falklands War.

Personnel from the ship - nicknamed the Shiny Sheff - will gather for the memorial at the Cathedral on Sunday from 1pm.

The event has been organised by the HMS Sheffield Association, a group of veterans dedicated to keeping alive the memory of the ship lost in the 1982 conflict between Britain and Argentina and two other ships with the same name.

The holing and ultimate sinking of HMS Sheffield was one of the darkest days in the city's history.

On May 4, 1982, at the height of the conflict, the Royal Navy warship named after our city, was blasted by a missile, killing 20 personnel and injuring 24 others.

Sheffield was the first British warship to be lost in 37 years - and she was the first of four Royal Navy ships sunk during the conflict.

Hit by a missile fired from an Argentine fighter bomber, the ship had 268 crew aboard at the time of the attack and it wasn't until 10 May that the ship finally foundered.

The ship caught fire when a French-made Exocet missile penetrated deep into HMS Sheffield's control room. The blaze caused a poisonous smoke and most of the crew abandoned ship.

A major rescue operation was launched in the South Atlantic as relatives thousands of miles back in the UK waited for news of their loved ones.

The 4,100-ton destroyer was struck as it carried out a scouting mission off the Falklands, which Argentina had invaded and claimed as their own weeks earlier.

The attack followed the sinking of the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano a day beforehand.

It was the first of four Royal Navy ships sunk during the Falklands War. The others were the frigates Ardent and Antelope and the destroyer Coventry.

The Royal Fleet Auxillary vessel Sir Galahad and the British Merchant Navy ship Atlantic Conveyor were also lost.

After a bloody land battle, Argentine forces surrendered to the British and peace was declared on 20 June.