Ward, Nigel David 'Sharkey' (IWM interview)
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Audio diary recorded by commanding officer of 801 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm on board HMS Invincible during Falklands War, 1982
REEL 1 Audio diary recorded by commanding officer of 801 Sqdn, Fleet Arm on board HMS Invincible during Falklands War, 1982: 5/4/1982: reaction to send off of Task Force; start of combat training; morale; attitude to Lord Carrington's resignation; members of squadron; anticipated role of squadron; sings parody of song 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' composed by 820 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm; reasons for recording audio diary; need for unit to get onto war footing; disappointment in rejection of John Nott's resignation; talking to journalists on board; adjusting to demands and pressures of war. 6/4/1982: poor flying conditions; outcome of conversation with 'Soapy' Watson. 7/4/1982: day's activities; achievements of squadron; briefing duties; opinion of squadron's readiness. 9/4/1982: previous day's meeting on board HMS Hermes; air intercept role of squadron; missile firing practice; night flying. REEL 2 Continues: opinion of Boscombe Down's testing of Sea Harriers; outcome of weapons testing. Saturday: reads part of progress report sent to Task Force commander. Monday: review of weekend's activities; disarray amongst 800 Sqdn, Fleet Air Arm; importance of influencing Captain Lin Middleton. 18/4/1982: belief Argentineans might still back down; problems with fuel during landing during night flying; further air combat and air intercept training and discussions; obtaining allocation of Sidewinder missiles; dissimilarities between Fleet Air Arm squadrons; opinion of his unit. 19/4/1982: opinion of performances in combat training operations involving HMS Hermes and 800 Sqdn. REEL 3 Continues: Airborne recording from cockpit during mock combat with 800 Sqdn and comments. 20/4/1982: previous nights training exercise; question of 800 Sqdn's lack of knowledge of weapons system; discussion with Jeremy Black regarding media coverage; comments of air interception by 800 Sqdn against Argentinean reconnaissance aircraft; differing radar pick-ups between 800 and 801 Sqdns; reaction to operational status of 800 Sqdn; reaction to non-arrival of Sidewinder missiles; equipping with automatic pistols. 23/4/1982: state of readiness; intercepting Argentinean reconnaissance aircraft; loss of helicopters removing Special Air Service from South Georgia; ditching of Sea King helicopter and search for missing crewman; anxieties about role of HMS Hermes; Sidewinder missile supply problems. 26/4/1982: Royal Navy attacks on Argentinean submarine Santa Fe; reaction to re-capture of South Georgia; receiving permission to shoot down Argentinean reconnaissance aircraft; writing paper advising on role of Sea Harriers; discussions with Robin Kent on board HMS Hermes; questions aims of Task Force and role of Sea Harrier squadrons. REEL 4 Continues: 2/5/1982: air activities during 1/5/1982; Paul Barton's first squadron kill; shooting down of Canberra by Al Curtis; air attacks on Port Stanley; further air activities; waiting for retaliation; daily routine, 2/5/1982. 9/5/1982: circumstances of strike on HMS Sheffield, 3/5/1982; death of Nick Taylor, 3/5/1982; opinion of allocation of aircraft from HMS Hermes; question of over-tasking of squadron, 4/5/1982; loss of squadron pilots in probable air to air collision, 6/5/1982; attacks on Darwin and Fox Bay; reaction to Royal Navy ship locking weapons onto his aircraft; question of staff's use of Sea Harriers; question of 800 Sqdn's performing aerobatics during combat air patrols. REEL 5 Continues: attack and capture of Argentinean fishing vessel Narwhal; accommodation of Narwhal's crew on board HMS Invincible. 11/5/1982: concerns over 800 Sqdn's use of radar and tasking; opinion of Chris Honeyball. 22/5/1982: strike on HMS Ardent; air combats and personal kills; squadron morale and kills. 25/5/1982: recap of previous days actions including Royal Navy losses; manning aircraft during attack on Atlantic Conveyor. 4/6/1982: levels of flying and fatigue; shooting down of Ian Mortimer; loss of aircraft on frozen deck; chasing Argentinean Hercules. REEL 6 Continues: shooting down of Argentinean Hercules aircraft. Cockpit recording, 5/5/1982: Avro Vulcan strike on Port Stanley airfield; Sea Harrier visual searches; shooting down of Nick Taylor; loss of HMS Sheffield; ineffectiveness of helicopter torpedoes; question of being tasked away from duties; question of frequencies being changed for security; opinion of command; further aspects of Task Force operations; atmospheric and noises from cockpit. REEL 7 Continues: atmospheric and noises from cockpit.
Associated people and organisations
- Royal Navy, Hermes
- Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, Sqdn 820
- Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, Sqdn 801
- Royal Navy, Invincible
- Merchant Navy, ATLANTIC CONVEYOR (SS)
- Royal Navy, Ardent
- Ward, Nigel David 'Sharkey'
- Mortimer, Ian
- Watson, 'Soapy'
- Middleton, Lin
- Kent, Robin
- Curtis, Al
- Barton, Paul
- Taylor, Nick
- Honeyball, Chris
- Argentine Navy, NARWHAL, fishing vessel
- Black, John Jeremy