On a beautiful warm and sunny evening on Plymouth Hoe members of the HMS Ardent Association gathered on the 36 anniversary of the sinking of HMS Ardent, and the loss of 22 shipmates lives, to remember them and the events of the 21 May 1982 in Falkland Sound.
The Hoe Memorial saw a large group in attendance. Kev and Jean McDonald, Alan and Gill Joyce, Les and Christine Scott, Kate Goddard, Steve and Jill Horn, Bernie Berntsen, Bob (Doc) Young, Steve and Kim Palmer, Barry Young, Jo and Mark Gray, Steve and Alexis Strachan, Beryl and Len Yeatman.
There was also a lady with two charming young girls on the fringes of the gathering who seemed to be quietly showing an interest. Len eventually plucked up the courage to ask if she was with our group. She replied, “Yes, I’m Gary Nelsons Daughter, Claire!!”
“Well, that really knocked me for six, but I managed to compose myself and brought her into our group and introduced her to everyone. ( Really emotional)”
Steve Palmer laid the flowers, and after the minute silence Len managed to croak the salutation, “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old……” “Claire spent quite some time chatting with most of the group, and I think she enjoyed being with us and said she hoped to be at the Remembrance Service on Saturday,” Len reported.
Tony & Carol were away in their caravan near Truro and had sent Len a text to say they had laid flowers at the War Memorial there for Pedlar Palmer.
Meanwhile, some 8,500 miles to the South, Jon Major laid a wreath at Blue Beach cemetery in the Falklands. Jon reported back “What an incredible day today. The sun shone, and it was a beautiful day. Word can not describe the day…”
The day before Brum Serrell tirelessly cleaned the HMS Ardent Anchor memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in preparation for the 21 May wreaths.
Virtually at 19:00 hours UK time a toast of rum was made across the UK and abroad by survivors and association friends:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.