As we pay tribute those who gave their lives in service of their country, here we focus on just a few examples of sacrifices made by men of the Royal Navy.
Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, 23rd June 2010
Sergeant Steven William Darbyshire, aged 35 serving with 40 Commando Royal Marines was killed by small arms fire during a firefight with Taliban forces whilst on a security patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand province. Joining the Marines in 1996, he had served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and a previous tour in Afghanistan. He lived in Wigan with his partner Kate and their two young sons Ryan and Callum.
His family said “Our world will be a bleaker place without him, his infectious laughter and fantastic sense of humour. Mere words do not begin to convey the deep grief and painful heartbreak his untimely death has brought to his shattered family and friends”
Sea King helicopter collision, Arabian Gulf, 22nd March 2003
While flying during the initial phases of the Second Gulf War (Operation Telic) two Airborne Early Warning Sea Kings of 849 Squadron from HMS Ark Royal collided. There was an explosion and both fell into the sea, killing all on board. The reasons for the crash in broad daylight have never been fully understood. Although on an operational mission, the accident and loss of these 6 officers was a great shock to everyone; Lt Philip D Green (30), Lt Antony King (35), Lt Marc Lawrence (26), Lt Philip West (32), Lt James Williams (28) and Lt Andrew Wilson, aged (36).
HMS Fittleton, North Sea, 20th September 1976
While conducting a routine mail transfer underway, wooden minesweeper HMS Fittleton was accidentally sucked into the path of the much larger frigate HMS Mermaid. The collision caused the minesweeper to capsize quickly, trapping many of her crew.
Many had lucky escapes but 12 men died, the majority members of the London Division of the Royal Navy Reserve.
WWII – HMS Avenger, 120 miles West of Gibraltar, 13th Sep 1942
HMS Avenger was an escort carrier, hastily converted from a merchant ship under the war emergency programme. She sunk with a very heavy loss of life when struck by just a single torpedo fired by U-155. The torpedo detonated the magazine and the whole ship was gone in 5 minutes. Only 12 of her crew survived while 67 officers and 446 ratings perished.
- Remembrance with the Royal British Legion (RBL)
- Royal Marines – Roll of Honour (Commando Veterans Association)
- 6 Royal Navy Personnel killed in Iraq (MoD)
- HMS Fittleton – Roll of honour (Ton Class Association)
- HMS Avenger (Royal Navy Research Archive)