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Failings that sunk HMS Sheffield revealed after 35 years

Newly declassified documents have revealed a catalogue of errors that led to the sinking of HMS Sheffield during the Falklands war in 1982.

An official report, kept secret for 35 years, concluded that the destroyer could have avoided being downed by an Argentine missile.

The blast killed 20 crew members, while others suffered injuries after being forced to abandon ship.

The complete report lists a catalogue of failings. It shows that one of the two officers on look-out at the time had gone for a coffee, and the other was in the lavatory.

However, it appears that blame was hushed up so as not to undermine the national mood of victory at the end of the war.



Thatcher's Falklands testimony 'like a film script'

New documents revealing former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's unpublished testimony to the Franks Inquiry into the Falklands conflict is "like a film script", according to a Professor of Contemporary British History.

Professor Peter Hennessy, of Queen Mary University of London, described Thatcher's recollection of the conflict as "vivid".

Official files reveal Falklands missile row with France

Fears France could allow Argentina to acquire deadly Exocet missiles at the height of the Falklands War strained Margaret Thatcher's relationship with president Francois Mitterrand close to breaking point, according to official files made public today.

Publicly Thatcher always praised Mitterrand for his support during the conflict, but papers released by the National Archives under the 30 year rule reveal the intense suspicion and distrust of the French in London.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

At one point, a furious Thatcher warned the president it could have "disastrous" consequences for the entire Nato alliance if a fresh consignment of the French-built Exocets was allowed to reach Argentina.

Britain woke up to the threat of the Exocet on May 4, when a pair of Argentinian air force Super Etendard fighters attacked the British Task Force heading towards the Falklands and unleashed two sea-skimming guided missiles.

Falkland Islands documents released under 30-year rule

A 'Condemned Islands' leaflet produced to drop on Argentine forces on the Falkland Islands. Credit: National Archives/PA Wire
A map detailing information about British military positions around the Falkland Islands. Credit: National Archives/PA Wire
A map showing British forces surrounding Port Stanley in 1982 during the conflict. Credit: National Archives/PA Wire
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