The ‘Falklands Free with Hedon help’ exhibition opened on Wednesday, April 27 and was attended by some special guests invited by organiser Tony Porter.
In October 1982, the Mayor of Hedon, Councillor Henry Vies Suggit and his wife Ann presented inscribed pewter tankards to those from the town who took part in the South Atlantic war campaign. While no formal record was kept of the number of tankards presented or the names of the recipients. Tony Porter from Hedon Museum believes twelve men from Hedon were presented with a tankard for their service in the Falklands Campaign. Tony, who was also presented with a tankard, says he has identified eleven of them, albeit there is still a mystery man. Some of the men from Hedon who served, and relatives of others, were present for the exhibition opening.
One of the men, who currently lives in West Yorkshire, but actually from Princes Avenue Preston South, and who spent his 18th birthday aboard HMS Yarmouth sailing for the Falklands was Mike Winn. HMS Yarmouth was an elderly frigate, and Mike’s story explains his and the ship’s role in the conflict.
Mike Winn’s Story (excerpt):
“On the day that HMS Sheffield, a much newer, larger and more highly equipped ship, was hit by an Exocet missile, we were dispatched to help her with fires aboard and with damage control. For us, the war just got real and very serious. Whilst alongside her and stationary in the water a second Exocet missile flew across the bows of the ships, luckily passing us and being ‘seduced’ by a chaff cloud that had been fired up into the air. As the ship was clearly in imminent danger of exploding, as the fires got close to the Sea Dart missile magazine, we helped get the ship’s company off her and moved away.
“The following day, Sheffield had not exploded and we were ordered to return to her and take her in tow. and if possible take her in tow and take her to South Georgia which had recently been liberated from the Argentine forces who had landed there. I was one of the boarding party who set up the tow from aboard the Sheffield. When we got on her she was a sobering sight. Smoke was still coming out of the opening escape hatches, she had a huge gaping hole in her starboard side where the decks were burnt away or melted from the intense heat. The tow rope was set up and we were airlifted by helicopter back to our ship. The following morning, as we towed her at about 5 knots, and in thick fog, the sea started to get into Sheffield and she slipped under the water and sank.” – Mike Winn (May 2022)
Mike Winn’s full story is available to read at the exhibition along with those of the other men from Hedon who served some still with us, others who have passed away since. There is a fascinating collection of photographs taken during the conflict and other artefacts.
One of the men however remains unidentified. Photos were taken off him at the tankards presentation in October 1982 and were published by the Gazette at the time. However, his name is currently a mystery. We appeal to readers to help us identify the man. Tony Porter explained that it would be great if his story could be added to those of the other Hedon men at the exhibition.
The exhibition is open at Hedon Museum every Wednesday and Saturday 10am – 4pm until Saturday 18 June 2022. It is FREE admission.
Find Hedon Museum on what3words: https://w3w.co/caves.consoles.scorch.