David Hart Dyke

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David Hart Dyke
Born (1938-10-03) 3 October 1938 (age 76)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Navy
Years of service 1959–1990
Rank Captain
Unit HMS Hampshire
HMY Britannia
Commands held HMS Coventry
Battles/wars Falklands War
Other work Clerk and Chief Executive of the Worshipful Company of Skinners

Captain David Hart Dyke CBELVOADC (b. 3 October 1938) is a retired Royal Navy officer, former aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II, and former commanding officer of HMS Coventry, which was sunk during the Falklands War.


Background and education[edit]

Hart Dyke is one of four children born to the Reverend Eric Hart Dyke (1906–1971) and Mary Alexander (1915–2010). He has two sisters, Jane (b. 1936) and Sarah (b. 1946), and had a twin brother Robert, who was killed in in a car crash in 1963. He was educated at St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate, Kent. His father served as a commander in the Royal Navy during World War II, before being ordained in 1953.[1]

Naval career[edit]

Hart Dyke was conscripted for National Service in 1959, and served as a midshipman in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He then joined the Royal Navy and was trained at the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.[2] He was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant on 1 September 1961, promoted to lieutenant on 1 January 1962,[3] to lieutenant-commander on 1 January 1970,[4] and to commander on 30 June 1974.[5]

He served in the Far East and Middle East as a navigation specialist, and was Executive Officer of HMS Hampshire from 1974.[6] From 1976 he served on the staff of the Royal Naval Staff College, then from 1978 aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia.[6][7] He was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (4th class) (MVO) on 1 January 1980.[8] On 31 December 1980 he was promoted to captain,[9] and appointed to command of the Type 42 destroyer Coventry, seeing active service during the Falklands War.[10] On 25 May 1982 Coventry was stationed north-west of Falkland Sound with HMS Broadsword, providing radar cover for the ground troops in San Carlos Water, when she was attacked by four Argentine A-4 Skyhawks. Hit by two 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs, she capsized within 20 minutes, with the loss of 19 men.[11]

He subsequently served as Assistant Chief of Staff to the Commander of the British Naval Staff in Washington, D.C., from 1982 to 1984, and as Assistant Naval Attaché in Washington from 1985 to 1987.[6] From 1987 until 1989 he was Director of Naval Recruiting,[6] and 7 July 1988 was also appointed a naval aide-de-camp to the Queen.[12] On 1 January 1990 Hart Dyke was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE),[13] and retired from the Royal Navy a week later on the 7th.[14]

After leaving the Navy he was appointed Clerk and Chief Executive of the Worshipful Company of Skinners, a livery company of the City of London. He retired in 2003, and in 2007 published Four Weeks In May, his account of the loss of Coventry during the Falklands War.[15]

Personal life[edit]

On 8 July 1967 he married Diana Margaret Luce (b. 1939), the daughter of Sir William Henry Tucker Luce (1907–1977) and Margaret Napier. They have two children; Miranda Katharine (b. 1972) and Alice Louisa (b. 1975). His nephew is modern-day plant hunter Tom Hart Dyke, heir to Lullingstone Castle.[1]

In media[edit]

Hart Dyke has featured in two documentaries about the loss of Coventry. The first, Sea of Fire, was produced by Windfall Films and broadcast on BBC Two on 1 June 2007, to mark the 25th anniversary of the ship's loss.[16][17][18] The second, "Sinking The Coventry", was part of the series Seconds From Disaster, first broadcast on the National Geographic Channel on 27 December 2012, and also featured interviews with the Argentinian airmen who attacked the ship.[19][20]

A film, Destroyer, based on Hart Dyke's book, to be directed by Tom Shankland and starring Paul Bettany and Matthew Goode was announced in 2012.[21][22] Some filming took place aboard HMS Edinburgh in mid-2013.[23]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage 2 (107th ed.). Wilmington, Delaware: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. p. 1809. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Captain David Hart Dyke CBE LVO". United Agents. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 42846. p. 9353. 30 November 1962.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44997. p. 13004. 29 December 1969.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46363. pp. 8525–8526. 8 October 1974.
  6. ^ a b c d "Hart Dyke, Captain David : Who's Who". ukwhoswho.com. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Crew Lists (H)" (PDF). Royal Yacht Britannia. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48041. p. 3. 28 December 1979. Note: This class was abolished in 1984 and all holders upgraded to LVO.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48490. p. 459. 12 January 1981.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49194. p. 16121. 13 December 1982.
  11. ^ Hope, Christopher (18 May 2012). "David Hart Dyke, the captain of HMS Coventry recalls the horror of his ship sinking in the Falklands War: 'It was black, with people on fire...'". The Daily Telegraph (London: TMG). ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51413. p. 8191. 18 July 1988.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51981. p. 4. 29 December 1989.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 52017. p. 639. 15 January 1990.
  15. ^ "Captain David Hart-Dyke". Buckingham First Day Covers. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  16. ^ "Sea of Fire". hmscoventry.co.uk. 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Sea of Fire (TV Movie 2007)". IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  18. ^ Sea Of Fire, The Sinking of HMS Coventry (D118) on YouTube
  19. ^ "S06E09 Sinking The Coventry". Seconds From Disaster. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  20. ^ Seconds From Disaster: Sinking the Coventry on YouTube
  21. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (26 October 2012). "Ealing Metro boards Falklands War thriller Destroyer with Paul Bettany, Matthew Goode attached". Screen Daily. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  22. ^ Pearson, Ben (17 October 2012). "Matthew Goode & Paul Bettany to Lead Naval Action Film 'Destroyer'". FirstShowing.Net. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  23. ^ Gibbons, Duncan (18 July 2013). "Filming of sinking of HMS Coventry for new Falklands War film Destroyer". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  24. ^ David, Saul (31 May 2007). "'I might slip quietly beneath the waves'". The Daily Telegraph (London: TMG). ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 

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