This page is dedicated to the memory of:
Mark Royston Stephens
Mark was the oldest son of four and as a youngster attended Robin Hood Junior and Manor Comprehensive schools. An avid football fan, he played soccer for Southwell boys.
The irony of it is, that he played in defence on the pitch and much later in defence of the Falklands was to lay down his life for it. He always wanted to join the Royal Navy from the tender age of 10 after visiting HMS Torquay whilst on holiday there.
SAIL LITTLE SAILOR
YOUR SHIP SAILS BY YOUR SIDE
SHE CHOSE YOU FOR HER CAPTAIN
SO SAIL HER MARK WITH PRIDE
We all love and miss you Mark, please take care of your younger brother Glyn who sadly joined you suddenly on 12/04/2002.
Mark was a young Steward on HMS Antelope who was liked by everyone on board the ship. He was only 17 and was one of the youngest lads on board; I was a stoker on board but would go ashore with the chefs and stewards quite a lot. Usually we went to a pub called the Old Chapel to listen to the music, join in the music quiz nights and even watch the football. Mark was very popular with the girls in the pub because he was so young looking, and I think they liked to mother him!
During an air raid while in San Carlos Water our ship was hit by two 1000lb bombs, neither of which exploded. Mark was seriously injured by metal splinters when one of the bombs hit the Senior Rates mess where he was based as a member of the First Aid party. He was taken to the after First Aid station where, sadly, he died due to his head injuries. I will always remember that moment we were told over the ships Tannoy that Mark had been killed.
Later on, the ship blew up as they tried to defuse the bombs. On my return to Plymouth I had to tell the girls in the Old Chapel of Mark’s death and they were shocked and upset – like all of us.
I always wanted my pay my own tribute to Mark in a personal way and this I did in August 1989 when my wife and I named our second son after him.
HMS Antelope sailed from Devonport on the 5th April and carried out a number of escort duties in the South Atlantic. She entered the Total Exclusion Zone on the 22nd May and joined the ships in San Carlos Water on the 23rd. That day, HMS Antelope was badly damaged and set on fire in the course of three separate air attacks during which Mark Stephens lost his life. In the afternoon, one of two unexploded bombs blew up while being defused, the ship then caught fire and was abandoned. That night, she blew up and sank, just off Ajax Bay.
Being 40 years this year since the death of Mark, I wanted to get in touch to explain the connection I have with his story.
April 29th 1982 my dad was killed in a mining accident, we’d been watching the task force progress and even though I was only 8 years old at the time it was something I took an avid interest in. I was also part of the local church choir at the time and so only a few weeks after he died I was at the same cemetery, and I was taking part in the service for Mark’s funeral, as part of the choir.
I’ve never forgotten about Mark and would always stop by the bench that bears his name when I was back in Mansfield Woodhouse and to me even though I didn’t know him, to me he was always a hero. Also because he was closer in age to me than most adults I found it easier to think and process on his bench than to talk to adults – it really helped me deal with my own grief.
There’s no more to this story, but I wanted to write as these things are often not told, or are just forgotten, but I’ve never forgot Mark, his service and his sacrifice and even though a great tragedy to be taken so young, indirectly he helped me get over the trauma of losing my dad at such a young age.
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 email@example.com