This page is dedicated to the memory of:
Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic (Mechanical)
Allan John Knowles
HMS Sheffield sailed from Portsmouth on November 19th, 1981 for a patrol in the Arabian Gulf. After taking part in a major Mediterranean exercise, and four days before her planned return to Portsmouth, the ship was diverted to the South Atlantic on April 2nd, 1982, within hours of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. While on forward radar picket duty about 70 miles south and east of Stanley, on Sunday May 4th, the Type 42 destroyer was struck amidships by an Exocet missile fired from Argentine Naval Super Etendard aircraft. The missile’s warhead failed to explode, but the resulting fires quickly spread, and the ship had to be abandoned.
Allan was among 20 who died in the attack. Only the body of Petty Officer David Briggs DSM was recovered; the rest lie in the ship, now a registered war grave at the position 53-04’S 56-56’W, where she sank on May 9th, whilst under tow.
Allan married my sister Carol, on the 5 th of November 1981 and was delighted to become a ‘StepDad’ to her young children, Richard and Karen. He adored them and was looking forward to playing a prominant role in their upbringing. Two weeks after marrying, on the 9th of November, he sailed from the UK aboard HMS Sheffield for a patrol in the Arabian Gulf. His ship then joined 17 other destroyers and frigates for the annual exercise ‘Spring Train’. On the 2 nd of April, four days before the ship was due to return home, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. Sheffield along with 6 other ships were ordered to immediately sail to the South Atlantic.
On Sunday May the 4th , the Type 42 destroyer became the first casualty of the war, being struck amid ships by an Exocet missile fired from an Argentine aircraft. Allan was one of 20 to die that day and his body was never recovered.
After a small memorial service for Allan in HMS Sultan, it was my turn to set sail in HMS Bristol, to lead the second battle group down to the islands. On completion of hostilities Bristol remained in theatre as the Flag Ship. With not having a day pass without thinking about Allan, I was extremely moved to have the opportunity to take part in a memorial service held above the Sheffield at 53 deg 04S 56deg 56W and to say my final farewell to him.
Three years later, I returned to the islands as the Falklands guardship. I visited the battle sites and once again had the opportunity to lay a wreath at a memorial service in San Carlos to commemorate Allan and all those that sacrficed their lives for the islands.
My Sister never remarried and had her own personal battle with cancer to cope with over the years. It was somewhat poignant, therefor, that as we all came together in commemoration of the 40th annversary of the Falklands war, that on the 5th of June 2022 Carol was finaly reunited with her husband Allan.
Rest in peace Allan and Carol.
Family and friends are encouraged to contribute.
We will add information to this memorial as we receive it.
If you have a photo, an anecdote, or simply to say you remember him, we will be very pleased to hear from you, so please contact the sama office at firstname.lastname@example.org