With water brought all the way from the ocean where their ship now rests, veterans of HMS Sheffield watched her memorial dedicated – 40 years to the day she was fatally attacked.
Penny Salt, whose late husband Captain ‘Sam’ Salt commanded the destroyer, anointed the new £15,000 monument at the National Memorial Arboretum with South Atlantic sea water.
The monument honors all who served in ‘The Shiny Sheff’: the wartime/post-war cruiser which helped hunt down the Bismarck; the Type 42 destroyer lost in the Falklands; and the Type 22 frigate which was built to replace losses in 1982.
Veterans were left drenched by frequent Staffordshire showers as the Chaplain of the Fleet, the Venerable Andrew Hillier led the service of dedication and remembrance, assisted by, among others, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence – who served as the destroyer’s navigator in 1980-81 – and Commander Mike Norman, Executive Officer in 1982.
It will serve as a focal point for anyone who served on a ship bearing the steel city’s name – HMS Sheffield will return as one of eight new Type 26 frigates being built over the next dozen or so years – to remember forebears and comrades, and good times as well as tough.
“I think Sam would be delighted that there is a memorial here, he said that there was never a day that went by when he didn’t remember those who had died,” said Mrs Salt.
“He was able to talk about it in a professional capacity, but found it difficult talking about it emotionally, it cut very deep.”
John Galway, chairman of HMS Sheffield Association which drove the fundraising campaign to create and install the memorial, added: “A lot of the former crew members have said it’s long overdue, but as well as remembering the ones we lost in the Falklands, we’re also remembering all who have served in previous HMS Sheffields.
“We’d been out in the Gulf for six months and we’d bonded together, so yes, I did lose friends. Everyone was a friend. We were a Sheffield family.”
Designed by artist Peter Naylor, the monument recreates a warship’s bows cutting through the waves. The sea is framed by a pentagon with rope detailing as used in the wartime cruiser’s crest. The words of dedication are etched and positioned on the rear sloping face:
For all who served in the three HMS Sheffield ships:
Frigate 1986 -2002
Unveiled 4th May 2022
40th anniversary of the loss of HMS Sheffield
and twenty of the Ship’s Company
in The Falklands Conflict
‘Fair Winds and Following Seas’
The HMS SHEFFIELD Association