The average age of the 200 men on board HMS Ardent was 23 in May 1982 when she made a lonely midnight run into Falkland Sound, an hour ahead of the British amphibious group about to retake the Islands. In the crucial hours that followed, her naval gunfire support kept enemy troops and aircraft pinned down at Goose Green and Darwin. Despite a few scares it all looked good. Until 5.44 p.m. At that precise moment, out of the gathering dusk, Ardent came under the most concentrated attack of any ship taking part in the landings. She was hit 17 times in 22 minutes and 1 in 4 of her ship s company was either killed or wounded. She lost a greater proportion of her men than any other fighting unit in the entire war. So why has the British public forgotten her name? Through Fire and Water tells the frigate s story from Christmas 1981 in Amsterdam to her sinking in Falkland Sound and beyond. It follows the families who waved off sons, lovers, brothers, husbands and fathers as she left the dockyard. It explains what it was like for British sailors in the Falklands and how it felt for those waiting at home for news. It reflects the sickening fear of being in a defenceless warship single
Mark Higgitt is a forty-eight-year-old journalist who lives in South Warwickshire with his wife. They have two daughters.