Tribute for Falklands victim

Ian Turnbull
Ian Turnbull

A NAVY chef who lost his life 30 years ago during the Falklands conflict will be remembered with a wreath-laying ceremony.

Ian Turnbull had just turned 18 when he became one of 19 crewmen to go down with HMS Coventry as it was sunk by Argentinian aircraft.

The assistant cook was the only person from Hartlepool to be killed during the 1982 war when the destroyer was struck on May 25 near Pebble Island.

His aunty, Jean Young, said not a day goes by without his family remembering “fun-loving, happy-go-lucky gentle giant”.

The 8th Hartlepool Company of The Boys’ Brigade is to mark the 30th anniversary of the attack with a ceremony at Westbourne Methodist Church, in Westbourne Road, at 7.30pm on Friday.

Ian, a former Brierton School pupil from the Owton Manor estate, was a member of the company before he signed up to the Navy at just 16.

Jean, 64, who lives on the town’s Fens estate, said: “It feels like a long time ago, but then I remember it like yesterday.

“He was like a son to me and all the family were really, really upset. We heard that his ship had gone down and then his mum was told he was ‘missing presumed dead’.

“He was a lovely person. A fun-loving, happy-go-lucky gentle giant, who is still remembered and loved.”

Jean visited the Falklands a year after Ian’s death with his parents, Norma and Eddie Turnbull, and his sister Susan.

Jean said: “They took us out to Pebble Island to the exact spot where it had sunk. We put wreaths over and had a ceremony. It was like a funeral in a way.”

Ian’s was the only name to be added to Hartlepool’s war memorial in Victory Square, and his family still regularly visit the monument.

Jean, who is mum to three sons, added: “He had always wanted to be in the Navy, he loved it.

“He’d come back home for his 18th after passing his exams and we had a big party. He twisted his ankle going down the stairs and wasn’t allowed back with the Navy until he got better.

“When he got back, he said he had been put on a ship and was heading to Gibraltar on exercise.

“We thought he was doing really well and we were very proud of him and pleased for him, but then he was sent to the Falklands.”

Norma asked for her ashes to be spread at sea before she died nine years ago.

Jean said: “She always missed him and wanted to be back with her son.”