Frank Owen Armes – 21
Marine Engineering Mechanic (Mechanical) 1
Frank came from Norwich and was the youngest of three children. He went to school at Heartsease High School and was a keen sportsman, into running, football, canoeing, abseiling and shooting. His dream was to join the navy and so at first opportunity he did just that, with the aim of sailing onboard HMS Ark Royal. Happily for Frank, his first draft was indeed to the Ark – but it was the ship’s last commission, as she was retired in 1979. He went on to join HMS London and then the Coventry and was a proud member of her crew with many friends and a dry sense of humour. He became infamous for his Ministry of Silly Walks re-enactment at HMS Phoenix whilst wearing a fear naught suit. Frank was killed at his post in the forward engine room. There is now an Open Ark room within the Open Academy (the replacement for Frank’s old school) a place for support and protection of students. The school also now awards a Frank Armes Unsung Hero Memorial Shield each year to the student most befitting of being an unsung hero. He is also remembered on a memorial stone and bench in Costessey, Norwich.
John David Law Caddy – 34
Acting Chief Weapons Engineering Artificer
Born in West Hartlepool, and living in Eastleigh, John had a reputation for being hard but fair and looking after his team. His ready smile has been passed on to his grandchildren, judging by recent photos! John was killed in the computer room.
Paul Brian Callus – 24
Marine Engineering Artificer (Mechanical) 1
Paul came from a military family – grandfather in the Army and later RFC/RAF and father in the RN. After education at St. John’s College in Southsea, he joined the RN as an artificer apprentice in 1974. His first ship was HMS Bristol, and during a visit to Charleston, Virginia he met and fell in love with Cynthia Humphrey, whom he married just after Christmas 1980. On return to the UK where he lived in Emsworth, he was drafted to HMS Coventry, but had plans to leave the navy and emigrate to the USA and settle there with his new wife. Sadly, Paul never got that chance, and this likeable and capable engineer – nicknamed ‘Pooh Bear’ – was killed in the forward engine room, seconds after reporting compressor damage from the bomb that had torn into the compartment.
Stephen Roy Dawson – 22
Acting Petty Officer Catering Accountant
Born in Liverpool and eldest of three children, Stephen is commemorated with a headstone in St. Mary’s Churchyard, West Butterwick, Lincolnshire near his family home and also on the local war memorial. West Butterwick CofE Primary School present the Stephen Dawson Achievement Award each year to the pupil who shows the best progress and achievement. Stephen was killed in the junior rate’s dining hall.
John Keith Dobson – 20
Acting Weapons Engineering Mechanic (Radio) 1
‘Dobbo’ was from Plympton in Devon and was a popular member of the crew with a wicked sense of humour. The youngest of five children, he went to school at Exmouth Comprehensive and after leaving school and turning 18, joined the navy. Coventry was his first ship, and he had joined earlier in the year just in time for Operation Springtrain. In a strange twist of fate, another John Dobson died in the Falklands on the same day – the bosun of the Atlantic Conveyor, which led to some confusion when his name was mentioned on the news before Dobbo’s family had been informed of his loss. John was one of those killed in the computer room.
Michael George Fowler – 37
Petty Officer (Sonar)
Born in Watford, the second of two sons. Nicknamed ‘Foxy’, Mike married his wife Rose in Pompey in 1973 and lived in Southsea. Regarded as a father figure to his young colleagues – the torpedo and sonar section or ‘TAS apes’. Michael was killed in the junior rate’s dining hall.
Ian Peter Hall – 22
Weapons Engineering Mechanic (Ordnance) 1
Ian was born in Oxford in 1960 and had a twin sister, Alison. He went to school at Church Cowley Primary and later Oxford Boys School, joining the navy in 1978, as his father had before him. Described as a quiet and cheerful lad who mixed well with everyone, ‘Nobby’ had previously served on HMS London before joining HMS Coventry, where he immediately fitted in and became firm friends with many of his mess mates. Ian was killed by the explosion that wrecked the Tech Office.
Rodney Ritchie Heath – 34
Described by Captain Hart-Dyke as an excellent officer who had been responsible for the success of the Sea Dart system, Rodney was born in Brighton, and went to school there at the Brighton & Hove Grammar School. All that sea air had some effect and Rodney joined the RN in 1965, serving at HMS Collingwood before sea drafts on HMS Ulster, HMS Gurkha and HMS Sheffield before some time ashore and finally joining HMS Coventry in 1979. He had spent much of his recent career ‘writing the book’ on the Sea Dart system – how to maintain and operate it, and the system’s success in circumstances it had never been designed to cope with was in no small part due to his efforts. He was a popular officer known as ‘Rod’ or ‘Black Rod’ and enjoyed various sports including squash and was also keen on cars, having restored an E-type Jaguar. Rod was killed in the computer room, below the Ops room.
Kyu Ben Kwo – 50
‘Ben’ as he was widely known, was a ‘Dhobyman’ (or unofficial laundryman in naval parlance) from Shaukiwan in Hong Kong. He refused the offer to leave the ship at Ascension Island and chose to remain with his shipmates. Ben made it off the ship successfully, but had a heart condition and suffered a heart attack in the water and died. He was the first British casualty buried on the Falklands, in a temporary grave at San Carlos. In November 1982 his body was repatriated to the UK and then onward to his wife, Wong Shu Ling, in Hong Kong for a Catholic burial.
David John Arden Ozbirn
Chief Petty Officer Action Weapons Engineering Mechanician 1
Described as a good man and friend in a happy department. David was the computer chief, and was killed in the computer room.
Glen Stuart Robinson-Moltke
Injured and concussed in the damage control HQ, Glen was assisted to the upper deck and helped into a survival suit and was observed to be in a confused state, and had to be helped to leave the ship. When it came his turn to go, he was helped over the railings and slid down the side of the hull. Unfortunately, in his semi-conscious state, he had little to no control of his slide and struck his head on the stabiliser fin jutting out of the hull, breaking his neck. His body was never recovered.
Bernard James Still
Leading Seaman (Electronic Warfare)
Bernard hailed from County Laoise in Eire and had previously served on HMS Kent and is remembered as a young lad who was always laughing and willing to muck in and do his bit. He was killed in the junior rate’s dining hall.
Geoffrey Leslie John Stockwell – 25
Petty Officer Marine Engineering Artificer 2
Geoffrey was from Whitstable in Kent, attended Kent College and had a younger sister, Ruth. His father Leslie was the Sheriff of Canterbury. Geoffrey was a superb hockey player and was awarded Combined Services colours for his hockey playing. He trained at HMS Caledonia in Rosyth and ended up as a PO ‘throttle jockey’ on Coventry’s main engines. Geoffrey was a keen cricketer and was in the habit of using long and boring action stations practice to play cricket between the Olympus engines using makeshift bats and stumps and balls of masking tape! Geoffrey was killed along with many of his colleagues by the bomb that tore open the forward engine room. Herne Bay Sea Cadets’s unit standard is dedicated to him.
David Anthony Strickland – 29
Chief Petty Officer Acting Weapons Engineering Artificer 1
David was from Freckleton in Lancashire and spent his childhood summers in the Newbiggin-by-the-Sea area in Northumberland. He had been married to his wife Cindy for just over a year, moving to Harrow to be with her, before Coventry went to the Falklands. As part of the Sea Dart team, David was killed by the blast that wrecked the computer room.
Adrian Derek Sunderland – 18
Able Seaman (Electronic Warfare)
‘Sunny’ completed his seaman (electronic warfare) course at HMS Dryad in March 1981 and joined HMS Exeter on a loan draft to get some sea time shortly after. He was then posted to HMS Coventry. As a junior rate, he was given the option to leave the ship before it proceeded to the Falklands, but chose to stay onboard. His action station was in the Operations Room, but he was off watch for the final engagement, and he was killed in the explosion that wrecked the junior rate’s dining hall. Regarded by his colleagues as unassuming, modest and good-natured. He is remembered on a memorial plaque outside Lewin Building at HMS Collingwood.
Stephen Tonkin – 20
Marine Engineering Mechanic (Mechanical) 2
Hailing from Sheffield, nicknamed ‘Stevie’, Coventry was his first ship, and he was killed in the forward engine room with several of his colleagues.
Ian Edward Turnbull – 19
Remembered by his sister Susan as a great friend and brother, it had always been Ian’s dream to join the navy. Known by many as ‘Tiny’, he was a keen fisherman, always up for a laugh and described as a gentle giant. Initially serving at HMS Dryad where he did his best to empty Dryad Lake of fish, his next draft was to HMS Aurora, and he was one of the 5 volunteers who came onboard Coventry to replace the 5 crew we sent home before continuing to Ascension. Ian was killed by the bomb that destroyed the junior rate’s dining hall.
Philip Patrick White – 26
Acting Weapons Engineering Artificer 2
Hailing from Donegal and therefore inevitably known to many as ‘Paddy’, Philip was the image of the dashing sailor with a Tom Cruise style smile that he used readily and often. Relatively young and inexperienced, he was somewhat ‘taken under the wing’ of some of the more worldly-wise members of the crew, particularly on a visit to Amsterdam where he ‘fell in love’ repeatedly and had to be dissuaded from racking up large bar bills buying drinks for the suspiciously friendly local female populace! Philip was the computer maintainer and was killed by the blast that destroyed the computer room, immediately below the operations room.
Ian Robert Williams – 21
Weapons Engineering Artificer (Apprentice)
‘Bungy’, as he was known on Coventry, was from Neston on the Wirral near Liverpool and joined the navy in 1979, training at HMS Fisgard in Torpoint (where he was nicknamed ‘Willie’) and became an apprentice at HMS Collingwood (with a nickname change to ‘Stumpy’!). In May 1981 he had joined HMS Coventry for the ‘sea training’ phase of his apprenticeship. A typical young apprentice with his life ahead of him, Ian loved music (playing the clarinet and chasing around the South coast on his motorbike to rock concerts) and was also a keen fencer. His sea training was nearly at an end when Coventry sailed for the Falklands. Ian was killed in the computer room, his action station as part of the weapons engineering damage repair team.
Paul T. Mills – 29
Petty Officer Marine Engineering Mechanic (Mechanical)
Paul was in the after engine room and was injured with a skull fracture, though this was not realised at the time. Initially dazed, he came round and succeeded in escaping the ship, but on his return to the UK suffered several episodes of blacking out. X-rays revealed first his undiagnosed skull fracture and also a brain tumour that had resulted from it, which was growing aggressively. He died as a result of this on 29th March 1983. He is buried in the Church of St. Andrew churchyard in his home town of Swavesey in Cambridgeshire; his name is now on the Swavesey Churchyard war memorial and also on a plaque inside the church.
With thanks to the many members of the HMS Coventry D118 Facebook group, SAMA 82 and Jay Morgan Hyrons, who is working on a definitive Falklands casualty blog, from which some of the above details have been sourced.