Film tells story of ship’s sinking

GOING DOWN ... HMS Coventry begins to sink after being attacked by Argentinian planes.
GOING DOWN ... HMS Coventry begins to sink after being attacked by Argentinian planes.

THE story of a British ship sunk during the Falklands War, from which two South Tyneside seafarers were safely rescued, is to be made into a film.

Destroyer, about the sinking of HMS Coventry, is to be based on a book by its commanding officer, David Hart Dyke.

The vessel, which had gone into service in October 1978, sank on May 25, 1982, with the loss of 19 lives after being attacked by Argentinian planes.

Among the survivors was leading stores inspector Andrew Stewart, 24, of Bamburgh Avenue, South Shields, and his colleague Paul Robson, of Wansbeck Road, Jarrow, who later returned to his family on Tyneside on board the QE2.

Mr Hart Dyke, a former Commander of the Royal Yacht Britannia, published his memoir called Four Days In May in 2007.

The same year, he told a BBC documentary he was aware of the risks when he was ordered to lure enemy bombers away from British troops on the mainland.

He said: “I realised why we were doing it.

“If necessary, we were the sacrifice rather than other ships which were more important. And that’s war.

“You’ve got to take risks to win.”

Survivors of the attack are planning a reunion in Coventry this week to mark the 29th anniversary of the tragedy.

HMS Coventry was abandoned and had capsized within 20 minutes of being struck.

In addition to the fatalities, 30 seafarers were injured.

As the crew waited to be rescued, they sang Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, from Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.

No member of HMS Coventry received an award for bravery, but a rescue worker received a Distinguished Service Medal.

And after the war, a memorial cross to the fallen was erected on Pebble Island, just north of West Falkland.

The film will be written and directed by Tom Shankland, who made horror film, The Children, in 2009.