Rear Admiral Hugh Edleston
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Posted 29 August 2016 - 01:10 AM
"Rear-Admiral Hugh Edleston, who has died aged 67, became a cool-headed, and highly successful commanding officer of several warships after serving during the Falklands conflict.
On the morning of June 12 1982, off the Falklands, Edleston was the senior warfare officer on watch in the operations room of the destroyer Glamorgan. During the night Glamorgan and two frigates had given gunfire support to the Royal Marines ashore, her ship’s company had just fallen out from action stations, and she was preparing to depart for her daytime duty of giving anti-aircraft cover to the fleet away to the east.
Then at about 0626, a flash was seen from the shore but was assessed as tracer. On the bridge Lieutenant Ian Inskip began to manoeuvre Glamorgan violently as, almost simultaneously, a further flash was seen, and a radar echo and an Exocet homing radar were detected in the operations room. Edleston’s quick reactions, deep in the heart of the ship, enabled him to alert all weapons and sensors, to give a general warning to prepare for a missile hit and, in the few seconds of the Exocet’s flight, to fire a Seacat surface-to-air missile.
His actions helped to minimise the Exocet’s lethality when it slammed into Glamorgan. Under the force of the explosion, the ship heeled over, fires broke out, and the lights flickered, but Edleston at his command console managed the confusion with calmness and skill. His accurate and timely reactions and his advice to others, including the captain on the bridge, was key to maintaining the ship’s fighting ability and to her survival.
Hugh Anthony Harold Greswell Edleston was born into a naval family on January 24 1949 and educated at Wellington College, where in later life he became a governor.
He entered Dartmouth in 1967, qualified as an advanced warfare officer in 1980, and became one of two Senior Air Warfare Officers in Glamorgan when she emerged from a refit in late 1980. After trials and work-up she was designated as the flagship of a small British task group sent to the Gulf, under the command of the Flag Officer First Flotilla, Rear-Admiral “Sandy” Woodward. Edleston brought his skills into play to make Glamorgan a highly capable flagship, ensuring that the crew of the operations room reached a level of proficiency consistent with Woodward’s high standards. This enabled the admiral to obtain maximum advantage from a series of exercises with an American battle group led by USS Coral Sea, which examined anti-carrier operations, anti-surface warfare, and utilising a submarine in close support. All these scenarios were later to be critical to success in the Falklands."
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