'We believe the Russians are giving satellite info to the Argentinians'

·1-min read
HMS Coventry sinks after being hit by a missile
HMS Coventry sinks after being hit by a missile

A day after HMS Antelope is sunk by the Argentinians, the destroyer Coventry suffers the same fate.

Aboard task force flagship Hermes CPO Michael Debenham writes in his secret diary: "How many missing, we don't know. Several air attacks today. The Atlantic Conveyor was hit by what is believed to be an Exocet. Without doubt this was meant for Hermes.

"Again we believe that the Russians are lending a hand by feeding satellite info to the Argies. Not a good day at all. Maybe our land forces are doing better."

He finishes with a note suggesting the enemy is frightened by the imminent arrival of the Gurkhas.

Mail to and from home meant a great deal to forces during the conflict. They couldn't phone or message - letters carried by ships and aircraft were all important.

After HMS Sheffield was hit, a shocked Michael wrote home to wire Lynda: "It is awful the carnage, the agony that those poor sailors have gone through. Some of the scenes were horrific. How people managed to survive is beyond me. Spare a thought for their next of kin."

He added: "Many thanks for your letter which I received today. In Fact I had three, which cheered me up no end. All posted around the same time - 17th April, which is three weeks to get to us."

He describes the crew donning anti-flash overalls and sleeping fully clothed, expecting another enemy attack and ready for the alert klaxon to go off.

Learn more about Michael's secret diary here: swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/20055275.secret-falklands-war-diary-kept-sailor-aboard-argentinians-no1-target

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