David Hart Dyke

Captain David Hart Dyke CBE, LVO, ADC (born 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.

David Hart Dyke
Born (1938-10-03) 3 October 1938
Havant, Hampshire, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Navy
Years of service1959–1990
Commands heldHMS Coventry
Battles/warsFalklands War
AwardsCommander of the Order of the British Empire
Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order
Diana Margaret Luce (m. 1967)
ChildrenMiranda Hart (daughter)
Alice Hart Dyke (daughter)
Other workClerk and Chief Executive of the Worshipful Company of Skinners

Background and education

Hart Dyke, a member of the Hart Dyke family, 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 a car crash in 1963. He was educated at St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate, Kent. His father served as a commander in the Royal Navy, before being ordained in 1953.[1]

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] and served aboard the frigate Eastbourne, based in the Far East and Persian Gulf.[3] He was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant on 1 September 1961, and was promoted to lieutenant on 1 January 1962,[4] to command a Gay-class fast patrol boat based at Plymouth. He served aboard the Ton-class minesweeper Lanton during the Indonesian Confrontation in 1963, then as navigating officer aboard the frigates Palliser on fishery protection duties in 1963–1965, Gurkha in the Persian Gulf, 1965–1966, and Tenby in the Dartmouth Training Squadron, 1966–1968, before being appointed an instructor at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth,[3] where he was promoted to lieutenant commander on 1 January 1970.[5] He attended a year-long staff course[3] before being promoted to commander on 30 June 1974[6] and appointed first lieutenant and executive officer of the guided missile destroyer Hampshire.[7] From 1976 he served on the staff of the Royal Naval Staff College, then from 1978 as the commander of the Royal Yacht Britannia.[7][8] He was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (4th class) (MVO) on 1 January 1980.[9]

On 31 December 1980 Hart Dyke was promoted to captain,[10] and appointed to command of the Type 42 destroyer Coventry, seeing active service during the Falklands War.[11] On 25 May 1982 Coventry was stationed north-west of Falkland Sound with 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.[12]

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.[7] From 1987 until 1989 he was Director of Naval Recruiting,[7] and 7 July 1988 was also appointed a naval aide-de-camp to the Queen.[13] On 1 January 1990 Hart Dyke was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE),[14] and retired from the Royal Navy a week later on the 7th.[15]

After leaving the Navy Hart Dyke 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.[16]

Personal life

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: award-winning comedian and actress Miranda Katharine (b. 1972) and Alice Louisa (b. 1975). His nephew is plant hunter Tom Hart Dyke, heir to Lullingstone Castle.[1]

In media

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.[17][18][19] 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.[20][21]

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.[22][23] Some filming took place aboard HMS Edinburgh in mid-2013.[24]


  • Hart Dyke, David (13 January 2007). Four Weeks in May. UK: Atlantic Books. ISBN 9781843545903.[25]


  1. 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. "Interview with David Hart-Dyke (30291)". Imperial War Museum. 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  4. "No. 42846". The London Gazette. 30 November 1962. p. 9353.
  5. "No. 44997". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1969. p. 13004.
  6. "No. 46363". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 October 1974. pp. 8525–8526.
  7. "Hart Dyke, Captain David : Who's Who". ukwhoswho.com. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  8. "Crew Lists (H)" (PDF). Royal Yacht Britannia. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  9. "No. 48041". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1979. p. 3. Note: This class was abolished in 1984 and all holders upgraded to LVO.
  10. "No. 48490". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 January 1981. p. 459.
  11. "No. 49194". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 December 1982. p. 16121.
  12. 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.
  13. "No. 51413". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 July 1988. p. 8191.
  14. "No. 51981". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1989. p. 4.
  15. "No. 52017". The London Gazette. 15 January 1990. p. 639.
  16. "Captain David Hart-Dyke". Buckingham First Day Covers. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  17. "Sea of Fire". hmscoventry.co.uk. 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  18. "Sea of Fire (TV Movie 2007)". IMDb. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  19. Sea Of Fire, The Sinking of HMS Coventry (D118) on YouTube
  20. "S06E09 Sinking The Coventry". Seconds From Disaster. 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  21. Seconds From Disaster: Sinking the Coventry on YouTube
  22. Wiseman, Andreas (26 October 2012). "Ealing Metro boards Falklands War thriller Destroyer with Paul Bettany, Matthew Goode attached". Screen Daily. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  23. Pearson, Ben (17 October 2012). "Matthew Goode & Paul Bettany to Lead Naval Action Film 'Destroyer'". FirstShowing.Net. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  24. Gibbons, Duncan (18 July 2013). "Filming of sinking of HMS Coventry for new Falklands War film Destroyer". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  25. 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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