HMS Coventry Falklands victims honoured at memorial arboretum

HMS Coventry The story of HMS Coventry is to be made into a film

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Sailors killed when their ship was sunk in the Falklands War have had a plaque and oak tree dedicated to them at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Nineteen sailors died and 30 were injured when HMS Coventry was hit by Argentine bombers on 25 May 1982.

Reverend Martin Kirkbride from Coventry Cathedral, who served in the conflict with the Royal Navy, led the service.

It comes as Falkland islanders vote in a referendum on whether to remain a British overseas territory.

'Never forget'

Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982, entering the capital Port Stanley early in the morning.

During the 74-day conflict, HMS Coventry was positioned to lure enemy bombers away from British troops landing in San Carlos Bay.

Three bombs dropped by Argentine planes hit the ship, with two of them exploding. While 19 lives were lost, 280 people survived.

HMS Coventry plaque The plaque was unveiled next to the oak tree

Chris Howe, who suffered severe burns during the attack, said he was pleased the crew was being recognised at the arboretum.

Mr Howe said: "After 31 years many of us would have liked to have had some form of dedication to our shipmates that we left down in the South Atlantic in May 1982.

"We'll never forget. We don't want to forget and we meet again this year on 25 May.

"This year we'll be in the city of Coventry where we'll have our act of remembrance followed by our reunion where we raise a glass to our shipmates that we left down there on patrol."

In two months of fighting, 255 British and about 650 Argentine servicemen were killed, along with three Falklands civilians, before Argentine forces surrendered.

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