Falklands : Falklands Pay Tribute to Outspoken Admiral from Penzance
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 11.08.2013 (Article Archived on 08.09.2013)
Sir John Forster "Sandy" Woodward GBE KCB who was head of the Task Force during 1982 conflict and later attacked cuts in warship numbers, has died on 04 August 2013 at 81 following a long illness.
Falklands Pay Tribute to
Outspoken Admiral from Penzance
By J. Brock (FINN)
Sir John Forster "Sandy" Woodward GBE KCB who
was head of the Task Force during 1982 conflict and later attacked cuts in
warship numbers, has died on 04 August 2013 at 81 following a long illness.
Admiral Woodward, born in Penzance, Cornwall, joined the Navy as a
schoolboy at the age of 13, attending the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth and
joined the Royal Navy
in 1946. Becoming a submariner in 1954, he passed the Royal Navy's rigorous Supreme Command Course known as The
Perisher in 1960 and received his first command, the "T" Class submarine HMS TRELESS He then commanded HMS GRAMPUS
before becoming the second in command of the nuclear fleet submarine HMS VALIANT. In 1967, he was promoted to Commander
and became the Instructor of the The Perisher Course.
He took command of HMS Warspite in December 1969. He was promoted to the rank of Captain
in 1972 and in 1974, he became Captain of Submarine Training and in 1976 he
took command of HMS SHEFFIELD.
In 1978 he became Head of Naval Plans in the Ministry of Defence and
was promoted to Rear Admiral and appointed as Flag Officer
First Flotilla in July 1981.
Commanding the Hermes aircraft carrier group, he headed the Task Force
317.8, in the Falklands War under the Commander-in-Chief Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse and worked out the timetable for the campaign, starting from the end and
working to the start. Knowing that the Argentine forces had to be defeated
before the (Southern Hemisphere) winter made conditions too bad, set a latest
date by which the land forces had to be ashore, that in turn set a latest date
by which control of the air was achieved.
Possibly the most well-known single incident was sinking of the ARA General Belgrano. He knew that
the Belgrano and her Exocet armed escorts
were a threat to the task force and he ordered that the Belgrano be
For his efforts during the war Woodward was knighted. His book One
Hundred Days, co-authored by Patrick Robinson, describing his Falklands
experiences, is a candid account of the pressures of high command in wartime
and the impact on the individual commander.
Woodward was appointed Flag Officer Submarines and NATO Commander Submarines
Eastern Atlantic in 1983 and a year later he was promoted to Vice Admiral.
In 1985 he was Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments)
before retirement in 1989 he also served, from 1987, as Commander - in-Chief Naval Home Command and Flag and Aide - de Camp to her majesty the Queen.
Sir Sandy Woodward visited the Falklands in 1992 as part of the Islands’
Heritage Year celebrations.
Admiral Woodward married Charlotte McMurtrie, with whom he had a son and a
daughter, in 1960. They later separated. He leaves behind his
longtime companion, Winifred Hoult, with whom he lived in Bosham, Sussex.
He went on to write a memoir of his time as the Falklands task force
commander titled One Hundred Days.
people and Government of the Falkland Islands were very saddened to hear of the
death of Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward. They recall with gratitude the important
part he played in the Liberation of the Islands from Argentine Forces in 1982.
Their thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this sad time.