Commander Nigel "Sharkey" Ward DSC AFC RN commanded RNAS 801 Sea Harrier flight from HMS Invincible (R05) during the Falklands War, of April to June 1982, and was senior Sea Harrier adviser to the Command on the tactics, direction and progress of the air war.
The first problem was getting the aircraft together. Including those transferred from N899 HQ Training Squadron, 12 were scraped together for HMS Hermes (R12) 800 Naval Air Squadron and 8 for HMS Invincible's 801 Naval Air Squadron. Only in mid-May were they reinforced by eight more Harriers of 809 NAS (plus six RAF GR.3's). Just six Navy Sea Harriers were lost by accident or ground fire, and not one in air-to-air fighting .
After the task force left Portsmouth, an Admiral spoke to the wifes and families of the Harrier pilots after the task force had left. The Admiral told the families that they did not expect any of the pilots to return. Ward thought that it was a very stupid thing to say.
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.
After retirement from the Navy, Commander Ward wrote a book: "Sea Harrier Over the Falklands: A Maverick at War" He later returned to the RNAS Yeovilton to fly with his son, after Kris had qualified to fight the Sea Harrier.