Service planned for Stalham man killed in Falklands War

Richard Dunkerley

Richard Dunkerley, 23, from Stalham, was killed onboard the HMS Ardent during the Falklands War in 1982. - Credit: Supplied by the Stalham and District Royal British Legion

A memorial service is being planned for a young Stalham man who died in the Falklands War.

Richard Dunklerley was 23-years-old when he was killed onboard the HMS Ardent during at attack by the Argentinan air force.

He had attended Stalham Junior and High Schools and used to visit Sea Palling beach with his family.

Richard Dunkerley

Richard Dunkerley attended Stalham Junior and High Schools before joining the Royal Navy. - Credit: Supplied by the Stalham and District Royal British Legion

After school he joined the Royal Navy, undertaking training at the HMS Ganges, the shore-based training establishment on Shotley peninsula near Ipswich.

He then served on board the HMS Ardent as a Cook Petty Officer First Class, and in April 1982 the ship was sent to the Falkland Islands.

On May 21, while lying in Falkland Sound and bombarding the Argentine airstrip at Goose Green, the Ardent was attacked by at least three waves of Argentine aircraft.

The first attack saw two 1000lb bombs miss the ship. With two hours to dusk, the crew were hoping to survive until darkness came. With an hour to go, the Ardent had endured 16 attacks.

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Attack number 17 saw an Argentinian jet break through the defences and drop two 500lb bombs on the ship.

The force of the explosion tore through the vessel, shattering the dining-hall, cutting off communications between the bridge and the control centre and causing the ship to lose steering.

On May 22, the ship sunk. At that time it was known that 22 men had lost their lives.

Richard Dunkerley memorial plaque

A service commemorating the 40th anniversary of Richard Dunkerley's death is planned for May 21 in Stalham. - Credit: Supplied by the Stalham and District Royal British Legion

For the 40th anniversary, the Stalham and District Royal British Legion has planned a memorial service for Mr Dunkerley at St Mary's Church on May 21 at 11am.

Stalham Town Council has arranged for the High Street to be closed off prior to the service.

Ex-servicemen, several standards from the Royal British Legion, Sea Cadets, TS Fearless Marine Cadets, Pipes and Drums from The Royal Naval Association and a contingent of Royal Marines, RAF, Army, Navy, police, fire and ambulance service, and Stalham High School, will march along the High Street, starting at 10.30am.

The Sea Cadets will line up outside the Church to provide a guard of honour and the Royal Marine Cadets will provide a guard of houour inside the church for the laying of the wreaths.

Free tea, coffee and refreshments will be provided after the service at The Swan Inn.