HRH The Duchess of Gloucester will join Falklands veterans to remember loss of HMS Ardent in 1982
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester will join over two hundred HMS ARDENT Falkland survivors and families of fallen shipmates in HMS Drake Plymouth on Saturday 27 May 2017 to remember the 22 shipmates killed in action. This will be the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the Devonport-based Type 21 Frigate HMS ARDENT in the 1982 Falklands Conflict, the HMS Ardent Association has gathered every year in Plymouth to remember their fallen shipmates.
Since launching the Type 21 Frigate HMS Ardent in May 1975, HRH the Duchess of Gloucester has been the sponsor of the ship and later the HMS Ardent Association and has attended all key anniversary events of the Association. In 2015 HRH led the dedication for the HMS Ardent Association Anchor Memorial located in the grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum on the 21 May 2015, the 33rd anniversary of the sinking of HMS Ardent in Falkland Sound.
Also in attendance will be cadets from T.S. ARDENT, part of the Bollington & Macclesfield Sea Cadets who have remained affiliated with the HMS Ardent Association since 1982. The founders of the Association, Len Yeatman and Tony Ray, commented that their original idea for the Association was to be a centre of contact for the ship’s company. What they never expected was for the Association to be one of the strongest to come out of the 1982 Falklands War and for Plymouth to remain such an important part of the survivors’ lives.
HMS Ardent was a Royal Navy Type 21 frigate. Built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland and launched by the Duchess of Gloucester 9 May 1975.
On 19 April 1982, HMS Ardent sailed from Devonport, Plymouth for the Falkland Islands. On route, she escorted taskforce ships that had left late, on their way to Ascension Island, arriving on 3 May and sailing on the morning of the 7 May as part as the amphibious task force. On 21 May 1982, whilst lying in Falkland Sound and supporting Operation Sutton by bombarding the Argentine airstrip at Goose Green, Ardent was attacked by at least three waves of Argentine aircraft. The air strikes resulted in the sinking of Ardent the next day and the loss of 22 members from the 199 crew who later abandoned ship onto the frigate HMS Yarmouth.
The HMS Ardent association was set up immediately after the 1982 Falklands War in a hope to foster and promote the name HMS Ardent and provide a focal point to remember our fallen crewmates and have held reunions in Plymouth every year since 1982. The association president is Admiral the Lord West of Spithead who was First Sea Lord and Commander in Chief of the Royal Navy from 2002 until 2006 and the Commanding officer of HMS Ardent in the 1982 Falklands War. Lord West was the last to leave the sinking ship and was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for his leadership.
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