HMS Sheffield: Anniversary sparks memories for Sheffield apprentice

Watching tributes and ceremonies for the 40th anniversary of the Argentine missile strike and subsequent sinking of HMS Sheffield in May brought back memories for a South Yorkshire man.

By errol edwards
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 4:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 4:41 pm

Christopher Sherwood, aged 67, from Rotherham, was reminded of his time as a 17-year-old apprentice at Neepsend Steel training centre on Stevenson Road.

In 1971 he was tasked to manufacture components for navy ship HMS Sheffield, also known as The Shiny Sheff.

The Sheffield was the first ship to be lost in combat since World War Two and saw the death of 20 crew with 26 injured.

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Christopher Sherwood at 17 and 67.

Chris said: “It just brought it back to my mind, because of all the telly, it being the 40th anniversary since she sank.

“I was in their apprentice shop and somebody contacted the training centre officer, who I think was a lady called Miss Bland.

“They must have been from the admiralty, and they just came to me and said they wanted a Sheffield apprentice to make part of HMS Sheffield,” he explained.

“They asked if I was prepared to make items for the conference room portholes covers.

Christopher Sherwood as an apprentice for Neepsend Steel

“They obviously wanted some Sheffield stainless steel and somebody from Sheffield to be part of HMS Sheffield.”

Chris added that they wanted the parts polishing to a mirror finish as well.

“I made 36 for 18 portholes in this particular conference room,” he said. “I wish I’d have made a spare one, and kept it for myself.”

HMS Sheffield is now listed as a war grave at its final resting place in the south Atlantic.

HMS Sheffield

Chris said: “I occasionally thought about it – especially when it first sank. I haven't thought of it for a while though and then, just lately it just jogged my memory with all the coverage of the anniversary.”

PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 1: A 1980 photo shows HMS Sheffield of the Royal Navy. The destroyer was hit and sunk by an Exocet missile fired from an Argentinian land-based Super Etendard fighter bomber 04 May 1982 during Falklands (Malvinas). The Argentine government on December 05, 2003 said Britain has admitted that nuclear weapons were on some navy vessels. (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP via Getty Images)