Admiral Sandy Woodward

“It was a mistake. I regret that when the war was over we agreed to play it low key. We should have made more noise, to make sure people realised it was the Navy that had done the job, not the bloody Air Force or the Army. The Air Force dropped one bomb on target. There were more Commandos, who are naval soldiers, than there were Army.”

Admiral Sir John Forster “Sandy” Woodward
March 2012

Admiral Sandy Woodward commanded the British Naval Task Force in the South Atlantic during the Falklands War in 1982.

Admiral Sir John Forster Woodward, believed that if he and other senior Royal Navy officers had made more of what they had achieved in the South Atlantic, the Royal Navy would not now be in its present state – which he described as “fairly dire” in March 2012. The Navy took itself for granted, and the country took the Navy for granted. Then we allowed it all to disappear after the Falklands.

Sandy Woodward graduated from the Royal Naval College Dartmouth, and joined the Royal Navy in 1946. He became a submariner in 1954, and was promoted to lieutenant that May. In 1960 he passed the Royal Navy’s rigorous Submarine Command Course known as The Perisher, and received his first command, the T Class submarine HMS TIRELESS. Promoted to lieutenant-commander in May 1962, 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 (known as Teacher) of The Perisher Course. He took command of HMS WARSPITE in December 1969. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1972. In 1974, he became Captain of Submarine Training and in 1976 he took command of HMS SHEFFIELD.

Sandy Woodward became Head of Naval Plans in the Ministry of Defence in 1978. In July 1981, he was promoted to Rear Admiral and appointed as Flag Officer First Flotilla.

Photo: Admiral John Woodward during in the early 1980’s. Royal Navy Photo.

Complied by Thomas Joseph Simpson
Tuesday April 5, 2016

Sandy Woodward


  1. You did your job, Sir. The Royal Navy has always done it’s job, and when the shooting stops, is promptly underfunded, and forgotten. We need a government prime ministers who have served in the forces; because the ones we have are all incompetent wimps.

  2. David, I am ex 3 Para and appreciate your words, it was an all Arms War and we all stood together many miles from home in familiar weather (Brecon & Scotland) proud to have been part of the Task Force!

  3. I agree with Admiral Sandy Woodward being a Veteran Bootneck myself. But it was not only a military campaign but also a huge effort by civilian contractors, so what ever your cap badge or company what got us through this was the Great British Spirit. I’m sorry to say this is now lacking and the great has been taken out of GREAT BRITAIN. No doubt all the defence cuts, poor pay, accommodation, food and pensions will eventually come back and bite us on the arse.

  4. We need our sovereignty back first then we can take our armed forces back in the direction of providing a strong flexable effective force for the protection of The UK and her international interests.

  5. Well said, long time coming though. I believe we are more at risk than any other time in our history. With Russia once more flexing its muscle and so much unrest in the world we have to be constantly vigilant. Appearance at this time is paramount and the lack of fighting ships and armed personnel makes us look weak. We need to protect our interests but sadly it looks like we are unable to. The government need to act now before we are totally reliant on others and put some backbone back into our armed services. The people of Britain would support this so for once the government need to listen.

  6. Unfortunately Britain has gone soft. That is not to say it should be looking for the next fight but it needs to be prepared when that does arrive. All the services are important. The Navy especially. We barely have a Navy left and those ships that are still left keep breaking down. I appreciate that the current government was left with a huge mess to clear up with regard to its finances but it needs to stop wasting money on its own bureaucracy and spend money where it is required.

  7. I served on HMS Hermes then.
    We were just doing our job.
    We were Pusser. No better no worse than anybody else.
    Apart from the Argies, they were a shambles !

  8. After trafalgar the navy was run down after the First World War the navy was run down the general public never had any reason to question the way we got rid of the Leanders the type 12s the counties the tribals the carriers why should they because in time of trouble the men and women of the Royal Navy will struggle through they should not have to our downfall is that as we proved in the Falklands we will come through and win no matter what the cost

  9. British Armed Forces, Teamwork, That’s what we excel at, and why we are all in it together; we don’t care what uniform you wear we are a team. Jai Gurkha too don’r forget them mates.

  10. BZ from the RAN . We (HMAS Stalwart) were in Sembawang (Singapore) when tho poo hit the fan . The two RN Tribals tied up in front of us sailed for the UK post haste . I remember them sailing past us and we lining the rails to give them a good send off . Lots of “Go gettems” and “Can we play too?” The Kiwis behind us (HMNZN Canterbury) did it better . Lined ship and sang the “Maori Farewell ” and on the Quarterdeck , a “Warriors Haka ” .

  11. I think that all our armed forces worked well together in the Falklands and they still do but if it wasn’t for the RN we would not have been able to take back our sovereign territory. I think it is an absolute disgrace the way the navy has been cut to the bone. Would we now be able to retake the islands, I doubt it. Mind you if Jezzy Corbyn gets in then he will hand the islands to the Argies without a fight. OMG.

  12. We should have parked the whole SAMA82 Fleet in the Thames opposite Westminster (I know impossible) , no bunting, just a black edged Union Flags, for each of our lost comrades, draped over the sides to remind politicians & civil servants what failed intelligence and dimplomacy prior to the war resulted in.
    Sandy bottoms Sir & BZ to all.

  13. You should not forget the role played by the Merchant Navy; without them and their ships we could not have retaken the Falklands. It was an operation combining many resources, including myself, all of whom played their part, but as is usual other people, especially politicians, try to steal any credit due.

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