HMS Sheffield sailed from Portsmouth on November 19th, 1981 for a patrol in the Arabian Gulf. After taking part in a major Mediterranean exercise, and four days before her planned return to Portsmouth, the ship was diverted to the South Atlantic on April 2nd, 1982, within hours of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands. While on forward radar picket duty about 70 miles south and east of Stanley, on Sunday May 4th, the Type 42 destroyer was struck amidships by an Exocet missile fired from Argentine Naval Super Etendard aircraft. The missile’s warhead failed to explode, but the resulting fires quickly spread, and the ship had to be abandoned.
Adrian was among 20 who died in the attack. Only the body of Petty Officer David Briggs DSM was recovered; the rest lie in the ship, now a registered war grave at the position 53-04’S 56-56’W, where she sank on May 9th, whilst under tow.