|Service/branch||Fleet Air Arm|
|Years of service||1962 – 1989|
|Commands held||801 Naval Air Squadron|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Cross
Air Force Cross
Commander Nigel "Sharkey" Ward DSC, AFC, RN commanded 801 Naval Air Squadron from HMS Invincible during the Falklands War, of April to June 1982, and was the senior Sea Harrier adviser to the Command on the tactics, direction and progress of the air war.
Commander Ward flew over sixty war missions, achieved three air-to-air kills, and took part in or witnessed a total of ten kills; he was also the leading night pilot, and was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry.
As Sea Harrier adviser to the Command, Ward's first job was to assemble two working squadrons of aircraft. Including those transferred from N899 Headquarters Training Squadron, twelve were scraped together for 800 Naval Air Squadron aboard HMS Hermes, and eight for HMS Invincible's 801 Naval Air Squadron. Only in mid-May were they reinforced by eight more Harriers of 809 NAS and six Royal Air Force GR.3s. Just six Navy Sea Harriers were lost by accident or ground fire, and not one in air-to-air fighting.
According to his own book, written shortly after the conflict, Ward was an inspirational leader and put his men first, if there was any risk to his men or the tactics were wrong then he would not hesitate in pointing out that, perhaps there was a better or less risky way of completing the task/mission objectives.
After retirement from the Royal Navy in 1989, Commander Ward wrote a book, Sea Harrier Over the Falklands: A Maverick at War, first published in 1992, with reprints in 1995 and 2001. In 2001, he returned to the RNAS Yeovilton to fly with his son Kris, after the younger Ward qualified to fly the Sea Harrier FA2. Kris, who is also referred to as "Sharkey," has gone on to become the Senior Pilot of the Naval Strike Wing. In this time he has completed numerous tours of Afghanistan.
 Ward's aircraft
- XZ451 Sea Harrier FRS1 - Built: 18 June 1979: First RN Sea Harrier. Three confirmed kills over Falklands (Pucara & C-130 by Lt. Cdr. N. "Sharkey" Ward, Canberra by Lt. A. Curtis, both 801 NAS, HMS Invincible) Written-off 1 December 1989 near Sardinia due to control failure. The pilot, Lt. M. Auckland (801 NAS, HMS Ark Royal) ejected safely.
- ZA175 Sea Harrier FRS1/FA2 - Built: 7 December 1981: One confirmed kill over Falklands (Dagger by Lt. Cdr. N. "Sharkey" Ward, 801 NAS, HMS Invincible). Airframe was ugraded to FA2 standard in 1996.
 Confirmed damaged and kills
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- 1 May - Lt. Cdr. "Sharkey" Ward and Lt. "Soapy" Watson in Sea Harriers of Number 801 Squadron on CAP engage three Turbo-Mentors. One enemy aircraft is damaged by cannon fire from Ward's aircraft.
- 21 May - FMA IA 58 Pucará: Two Pucaras intercepted by Number 801 Squadron CAP (Lt. Cdr. N. Ward, Lt. S. Thomas and Lt. A. Craig). One Pucara was destroyed by cannon fire from Ward's Harrier and the pilot, Major Carlos Tomba, ejected safely and walked back to Goose Green. Ward later complimented Major Tomba on how he continued to fly his aircraft after Ward had filled it with so many holes.
- 21 May - Mirage V "Dagger": Number 801 CAP (Lt. Cdr. "Sharkey" Ward and Lt. Steve Thomas) were vectored towards three Dagger-As (which were not carrying any Air-to-air missiles) of FAA Grupo 6, north of Port Howard. In a turning fight, the three Daggers were destroyed with Steve Thomas accounting for two and Sharkey for one, all with Sidewinder missiles. His wingman Steve Thomas descended to attack a Pucara, but was hit by AAA fire and lost all radio contact with Sharkey. Sharkey declared his wingman missing and possibly shot down. Both Sharkey and Steve Thomas managed to return safely to HMS Invincible, even though Steve Thomas had battle damage to his aircraft which took out his main and standby radio. The Argentinean pilots attacked, Maj. Piuma, Capt. Donaldille and Lt. Senn, were seen ejecting from their aircraft.
- 1 June - C-130 Hercules: Number 801 Squadron CAP (Lt. Cdr. "Sharkey" Ward and Lt. Steve Thomas) destroyed an Argentine unarmed C-130 Hercules approximately 93 kilometers north of Pebble Island. Ward's first AIM-9L Sidewinder missile fell short of the C-130, but the second started a fire between the inner and outer port engines. Ward then fired 240 rounds from his Harrier's two ADEN cannons, this action broke off the wing of the enemy aircraft, sending it crashing into the sea and killing the seven crew members. Although this particular C-130 was performing a daylight reconnaissance flight, the Argentinians had been using a C-130 to attack merchant ships re-supplying the task force by simply pushing a bomb out of the back of the aircraft as it flew over (one bomb struck a ship, but bounced off to no effect). They were also using the aircraft to lay land mines around Port Stanley and resupply the Argentine forces. The Argentinian crews aboard were captains Rubén Martel and Carlos Krause, vice-comodore Hugo Meisner among the officers Miguel Cardone and Carlos Cantezano joining at petty officers Julio Lastra and Manuel Albelos.[clarification needed]
 Response to defence cuts
On 19 October 2010, Kris Ward confronted David Cameron about proposed defence cuts: "I am a Harrier pilot and I have flown 140 odd missions in Afghanistan, and I am now potentially facing unemployment. How am I supposed to feel about that, please, sir?" Nigel Ward supported his son, saying "It's an absolutely appalling decision" to axe carrier-based jets.
- Commander Sharkey Ward (1992). Sea Harrier Over the Falklands: A Maverick at War. Leo Cooper. pp. 299 pages. ISBN 978-0-85052-305-8.
- Commander Sharkey Ward (1995, reprint). Sea Harrier Over the Falklands: A Maverick at War. Orion. pp. 400 pages. ISBN 978-1-85797-102-6.
- Commander Sharkey Ward (2001, reprint). Sea Harrier Over the Falklands: A Maverick at War. Cassell Illustrated or Cassell & Co. pp. 400 pages. ISBN 978-0-304-35542-6.
- Fleet Air Arm, Falklands War 1982
- Navy News - News Desk - News - Harrier pilot follows in father's footsteps
- "Unique double for Navy Harrier father and son". Daily Telegraph. 30 March 2001. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- (Spanish) Argentine radio interview
- Sea Harrier Serials[dead link]
- Sea Harrier Serials[dead link]
- "Major Carlos Tomba’s Pucara". BBC News. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- (Spanish) Argentinean Air Force: History
- ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed C-130H Hercules TC-63 Pebble Island
- Britains Small Wars.com
- "Cameron's Sharron Storer moment". waugh.standard.co.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- The Team | The Phoenix ThinkTank - Naval Think Tank
- Imperial War Museum (IWM):
- Ward, Nigel (1982). "IWM interview [Audio diary recorded by Ward]". IWM Collections Search. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- IWM (30 October 1992). "IWM interview [with Ward]". IWM Collections Search. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- IWM (2002). "Transcript: Commander Nigel 'Sharkey' Ward [on shooting down an Argentine Mirage aircraft]". The Falklands Conflict (archive.iwm.org.uk). Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- Reviews of book "Sea Harrier Over the Falklands: A Maverick at War"
- www.sharkeysworld.com - Defence of our Nation: Assisting in countering "Sea Blindness"