In March 1982, HMS Coventry was one of a small squadron of ships on exercise off Gibraltar. By the end of April that year, she was sailing south in the vanguard of the Task Force towards the Falklands. As diplomacy failed, crisis became conflict and war was inevitable. For Coventry, the war began in earnest on 1 May. Her job was to be 'on picket' to the north west of the islands. She was to provide early warning of approaching enemy aircraft from the west, and fend off any incoming threat to the highly valuable ships and aircraft behind her. On 25 May, Coventry was attacked by two Argentine Skyhawks, and hit by three bombs. The explosions tore out most of her port side and killed 19 of the crew, leaving many others injured - mostly by burns. Within twenty minutes, she had capsized, and was to sink early the next day. In her final moments, when all those not killed by the explosions had been evacuated from the ship, her Captain, David Hart Dyke, himself badly burned, climbed down her starboard side and into a life-raft. This is his compelling and moving story.
David Hart Dyke began his naval career as Midshipman (RNVR) in 1959. He then went to Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth as a regular officer before serving as Commander of the Royal Yacht Britannia, Captain of HMS Coventry in the Falklands conflict, and Chief of Staff to the Commander British Naval Staff in Washington, DC. After he retired in 2003, he transcribed the voice-recordings that he had made on his return from the Falklands over 20 years earlier. These recordings, along with the reminiscences of his ship's company, became the gripping story of Four Weeks in May.