South Atlantic Medal 1982, with Rosette, Steward A.W. Elsdon, R.F.A. Resource.
Officially impressed: “STWD A W ELSDON RFA RESOURCE”
The RFA Resource was active during the Falklands War where she was an Armament Stores Ship as part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, which stored a significant amount of heavy weaponry, including Sidewinder Missiles, Torpedoes etc.
One day on 4th May 1982, the RFA Resource had only just resupplied the Destroyer HMS Sheffield when the Sheffield was struck by an Exocet Missile launched from an Argentine Super Etendard Strike Fighter.
As a result, of the 281 crew members on the Sheffield, 20 died in the attack with another 26-63 being injured.
Fortunately as they had just dropped off fresh supplies, the RFA Resource was “one of the first vessels on the scene to pick up the survivors from HMS Sheffield.”
Apparently after the attack, the RFA Resource, which had on board some Wessex Helicopters and Crew from 845 Naval Air Squadron were sent out to pick up survivors and comb the area for any men who went overboard.
The rescue operation was succesful, The Royal Navy’s HMS Arrow even coming right up to the side of the ship as it billowed out smoke for the survivors to jump across.
In true British fashion, the survivors of the Sheffield, led by Sub Lieut Carrington-Wood were found to be singing the Monty Python song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” as they were awaiting rescue, which they still sing at reunions.
After the news of this song lifted the spirits of the war, when HMS Coventry was similar sank three weeks later, the crew were found bobbing around in their life rafts singing the song as well.