This page is dedicated to the memory of:

Lieutenant Commander

John Murray Sephton, DSC

HMS Ardent

Liz Chater

For many years I walked in the New Forest and regularly passed a small memorial to John Murray Sephton. As the years went by, the small stone began to sink lower and lower into the ground, the weeds began to encroach and the grass slowly grew over the edge of it. Occasionally I used to pick away the edges and a few weeds but was always a little reluctant as I didn’t want to be seen to “interfere”. The dog I walked there so often has long since died, and now I have a 6-year-old son. I took him there for a walk the other day, after many years of not walking there and I was sad to see that the memorial stone for John Sephton was even more covered over and the lettering beginning to disappear.

After I took my son to school this morning, I loaded up my car with a variety of gardening tools and went back to Bartley Cricket pitch were the stone is. I did a bit of tidying up. I hope the family don’t mind. I have reclaimed and re-exposed the full memorial stone, trimmed up the edges and used a bit of shoe polish to make the lettering stand out. I don’t know if his ashes were scattered there, or if it is just the memorial stone, but hopefully he’ll feel better for a wash and brush up!

I am currently undertaking a project to photograph and record all Armenian graves in India, hence my interest and concern that John Sephton’s memorial was weathering a bit too quickly. He’s not part of my project, but I couldn’t just walk on by.

Best wishes, Liz Chater

 

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

HONOURS AND AWARDS

NAVY DEPARTMENT

MONDAY, 11th OCTOBER 1982

The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the Posthumous award of the Distinguished Service Cross to the undermentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during the operations in the South Atlantic:

Distinguished Service Cross

Lieutenant Commander John Murray SEPHTON, Royal Navy

On 21st May 1982, HMS ARDENT on station in San Carlos Water came under heavy attack from the Argentine Air Force and sustained many bomb hits, causing great damage and loss of life.

After the loss of the Seacat missile system, Lieutenant Commander Sephton, the Flight Commander organised the use of small arms by the Flight as a last-ditch defence against the concentrated and severe enemy attacks. In a dangerous and desperate situation he was last seen directing fire on the exposed Flight Deck, shooting a sub machine gun vertically up into an A4 Skyhawk the instant before it dropped the bombs that killed him. Three other Flight members were also killed.

Lieutenant Commander Sephton’s extreme valour and self-sacrifice was an example and inspiration to all the Ship’s Company and undoubtedly deterred the enemy from making even more attacks.