Royal Navy veterans overwhelmed as appeal to honour sunken Falklands ship HMS Sheffield raises £12k in two days

Survivors of HMS Sheffield which was sunk during the Falklands war have been left overwhelmed after a memorial campaign raised £12,000 in a matter of days.

The Royal Navy ship was sunk almost 40 years ago, after being blasted by an Argentine missile. The disaster claimed the lives of 20 sailors from the Portsmouth-based destroyer, with a further 26 being wounded.

On Friday, the Royal Navy published an appeal by members of the HMS Association to raise cash to pay for a new memorial honouring Sheffield.

The appeal was also publicised in The Star’s sister paper The News in Portsmouth where HMS Sheffield was based.

HMS Sheffield Association's chairman, John Galway, was left speechless by the memorial appeal's success. The 62-year-old from Gosport, was serving as a Able Rating (Radar) on Sheffield when she was hit and sunk during the Falklands conflict in May, 1982.

Veterans had hoped to drum up £16,000 before May to pay for the new tribute, which would honour sailors from all three previous HMS Sheffields, as well as the latest iteration of the vessel – a Type 26 frigate.

And within two days, the appeal sky-rocketed from £5,000 to more than £17,200, leaving HMS Sheffield Association’s chairman, John Galway, speechless.

The 62-year-old from Gosport in Hampshire, who was serving as a Able Rating (Radar) on Sheffield when she was hit, said: “I can’t put it into words how much this means. We’re absolutely over the moon.

“The fund was just ticking along at about £5,000. Then once The News and the Navy News put it out it just shot up.

HMS Sheffield after being hit in the Falklands

“It’s been absolutely brilliant. It’s nice to know that people do still remember.”

The association – formed nearly 50 years ago to represent sailors of the Second World War cruiser, then the Type 42 and most recently the Type 22 frigate, built to replace the Falklands loss – has already had a scale model of the monument designed.

Artist Peter Naylor has designed a stainless-steel bow of a warship, which will now be turned into a full-sized monument to anyone who served in the three ships.

It’s hoped the tribute will be unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on May 4 – just in time for the 40th anniversary of Sheffield’s sinking on May 10.

Navy veteran Bob Mullen was a 23-year-old Leading Hand (Radar) on Sheffield when she was sunk.

Speaking of the importance of the memorial, he said: "This isn’t just for us, this is for the families as well.

“This new memorial will keeps a focus on what happened so it’s just forgotten until you come round to the big anniversary.

“HMS Sheffield was a Portsmouth-based ship – the last British port in the UK it sailed from was Portsmouth.

“It sailed for six months on a deployment and never made it back.”

John, who spent 24 years in the navy and a further 16 years with the naval reserve at HMS King Alfred, on Whale Island, added: “It’s full-steam ahead now.

“And as the chairman of the HMS Sheffield Association, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed.’