HMS Sheffield’s flag rededicated to city after years in America

The Union Jack the HMS Sheffield proudly flew has been raised once again in the ship's spiritual home.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 11:23 am
Updated Monday, 6th May 2019, 12:57 pm
The Very Revd Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield Cathedral (left), pictured with others during the dedication of the flag. Picture: Marie Caley.

HMS Sheffield Association joined members from HMS Norfolk and other well-wishers to share the special occasion.

This year marks the 37th anniversary of the ship’s downfall, when it sunk in the Falklands War in May 1982.

The historic flag ended up in the US following the sinking, when it was taken to Newark by British police officers attending an international conference on combating car thefts.

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Pete Wilcox, The Bishop of Sheffield, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley.

Attendees from around the globe had been asked to bring their national flags to display.

One of the British officers, Peter Byng, brought the giant Union Jack which had been donated by his brother who was then commander of the HMS Sheffield.

Former Newark police chief Bill Brierley said the flag ended up in his possession when the British officers had to jettison some of their belongings to make space in their luggage for American souvenirs, including chocolates and cake mix.

It lay in his small personal collection of military memorabilia for more than 40 years, during which he often thought of returning it to the Royal Navy.

The Very Revd Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield Cathedral, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley NSST-05-05-19-FlagDedication-6

Mr Brierley handed it over to the Royal Navy during a ceremony at the Pencader Heritage Museum in Newark, Delaware, in September 2017.

It was finally returned to British soil last year.

In a service at the cathedral yesterday, the flag was rededicated by the Bishop of Sheffield and now hangs at the cathedral as a permanent reminder of the ship and those who gave their lives while serving on board.

The HMS Sheffield Association raised £5,000 to pay for its installation in time for the memorial service.

A representative from the Sheffield Sea Cadets, gives a reading during the service. Picture: Marie Caley

Speaking to The Star last year, Tanzy Lee from the HMS Sheffield Association said: "The cathedral already houses the bell from the first HMS Sheffield but although there's a commemorative plaque there's nothing physical from that second ship.

"It would mean a lot to the families of those who died and to the survivors to have this flag hanging there.

“All the photos and other possessions they had on that ship were lost, and this is something physical people can look at when the memorial service takes place each year.”

The flag will now be kept in St George's Chapel at the cathedral, alongside the battle ensign and Union Jack which flew from the ship's predecessor, the C24 cruiser.

Andrew Coombe, Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, pictured. Picture: Marie Caley