Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Eversince I was notified back in August that I had been selected I have been working hard to put the trip to the back of my mind and get on with life.
Up until recently I have been fairly successful but now that it is so close its very hard not to be nervous. I have this knot in my stomach thinking about the days ahead.
It's not that I am afraid or anything it's just that the Falklands have always been this huge event in my mind and I go back not knowing what to expect. I must say though that I am getting many messages of support on the SAMA82 forums and it seems I am not the only one feeling this way.
Nice to know we aren't flying down on some clapped out Tri-Star :)
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Oh this is also a test of the ability to publish using the email feature of blogspot so I hope it turns out ok. Just have to be careful of new lines as they seem to screw up the formatting.
Monday, 29 October 2007
It seems that I will not be alone and that there are a number of Scots Guards going as well which is just great. The first name on the list is David Allender which is fantastic as he was my SNCO and directly responsible for me. At the time he was this scarey Guards CSGT but when I met him in June he gave me such a warm welcome. I am sure we will have a lot to talk about as we were together for the entire campaign in one form or another. Another person I saw was Ian Morton who was also in Right Flank. Ian was badly wounded and I am sure he will have some very different memories.
There were a few more names that I recognised but I am not 100% I can put a face to them. However there is going to be 12 including myself so we will be quite a gathering.
Friday, 26 October 2007
Back in 1997 I was living in Rome, Italy, and had my first stab at making something. This was the result.
My First Falklands Website
Sadly I never finished it as my contract came to an end and I moved away and thus finding a new job became a top priority. I never did get back to doing it again and now I have lost the login details so not much chance of getting it back even if I wanted to.
On the way home, MVS Norrland July 1982
This photo is of all the junior NCO's of the Pay Team 2nd Battalion Scots Guards.
I was Right Flanks pay clerk and I am sitting at the back on the left.
The chap next to me on the right is Gordon O'Leary with whom I did my training as we joined the army on the same day. He was involved in a pretty horrific motor bike accident in 1981 and was back squadded for 6 months. He joined the battalion literally as we were about to sail. He looked after HQ company. Sadly Gordon passed away in 1995.
The chap in the front row on the left is Vic Williams who was G Company Pay Clerk. Vic is now retired living in Rochester, New York where he runs an Aiko dojo.
The chap next to Vic is John Bay who was Left Flank Pay Clerk. John is now a rather successful investment specialist running his own company with his brother.
Thursday, 25 October 2007
But for 8 members of the Scots Guards the Falklands meant their untimely deaths and the end of their lives.
I recently purchased a wreath and some rememberance crosses that I intend to take with me and leave on Tumbledown and at the cemetery in Port Stanley.
You guys may have gone but by many of us your sacrifice has not been forgotten.
And of course we shall never forget the attached of 9 PARA RE who died along side
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Sergeant Roberts, Robert Jackson (awarded the Military Medal for bravery) and Alan Crawford (still serving in 2007 when I attended the reunion, now a Major).Pretty sure this was taken on board the Norrland on the way back during one of the concerts we put on for ourselves to lighten up the mood.
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
So what is so interesting about The London Gazette? Well for over 350 years this has been the official publication used for making announcements. This is the issue for announcing all the awards for the Falklands conflict and contains many entries for the Scots Guards.
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the appointment of the undermentioned as Companions of the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of distinguished service during the operations in the South Atlantic:
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Ian Eldon SCOTT (467628), Scots Guards
Lieutenant Colonel Scott was in command of 2nd Battalion Scots Guards when they captured Tumbledown Mountain on East Falklands by a battalion night attack on 13th June 1982 as a part of the plan to secure the vital ground en the approach to Port Stanley. Tumbledown Mountain was known to be held by the enemy in considerable strength. It was equally certain that this enemy had been alerted to the likelihood of a renewed British offensive because of the nature and timing of operations two nights previously.
Lieutenant Colonel Scott planned his attack carefully the Battalion took their first objective without opposition. As they moved to take their second objective the Battalion was met by a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machine gun fire. Well positioned enemy snipers dominated the difficult, rising ground over which the Guards had to advance, and harrassed exposed movement. The nature of the ground on the flanks and the weight of enemy fire upon it made manoeuvre impossible. A battle of attrition developed and the success of the plan hung in the balance. This phase lasted for six hours. Throughout, although almost constantly under artillery fire himself, Lieutenant Colonel Scott led his Battalion in an outstanding manner. He personally directed and encouraged the leading Company Commander and his example and coolness inspired and steadied all around him. He caused artillery fire to be brought down close to his forward troops so that they were able to close with the enemy and defeat them. It was due to Lieutenant Colonel Scott's personal determination and leadership that the Scots Guards were able to achieve a break through at this vital point and so capture their main objective.
The outcome of this engagement, which lasted nine hours, was instrumental in breaking the enemy's will to fight on.
The conduct of the Scots Guards during this protracted and exhausting night engagement was exemplary and much of the credit rests with their Commanding Officer.
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Military Cross to the undermentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during the operations in the South Atlantic:
Major John Panton KISZELY (486680), Scots Guards.
On the night of 13th/14th June 1982, on the Island of East Falkland, the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards attacked well entrenched enemy positions on the craggy ridge feature of Tumbledown Mountain, seven kilometres to the west of Port Stanley. Major Kiszely was commanding the leading Company as they neared the last phase of the assault.
Despite heavy artillery fire from our own guns, the enemy continued to fight back. Major Kiszely immediately appreciated that direct action was essential to maintain the momentum of the attack. Under fire and with a complete disregard for his own safety, he led a group of his men up a gully towards the enemy. Despite men falling wounded beside him he continued his charge, throwing grenades as he went. Arriving on the enemy position, he killed two enemy with his rifle and a third with his bayonet. His courageous action forced the surrender of the remainder. His was the culminating action in the Battalion successfully seizing its objective.
Major Kiszely, by his outstanding leadership and heroic example was an inspiration to his men. His bravery and courage under fire were of an exceptionally high order.
Lieutenant Robert Alasdair Davidson LAWRENCE (508365), Scots Guards.
On the night of 13th/14th June, on the Island of East Falkland, the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards attacked well entrenched positions on the craggy ridge feature of Tumbledown Mountain, seven kilometres to the west of Port Stanley. Lieutenant Lawrence and his Platoon were amongst leading elements in the assault.
As they came up to an area of prominent rocky crags they came under intense fire from an enemy machine gun position. Lieutenant Lawrence, to the fore throughout, immediately led an attack. Throwing grenades onto the enemy's position as he went, he continued in the heat of the fire fight to exhort his Platoon to follow him in the assault. His attacking group destroyed the enemy.
Firm on that position, he gathered up a handful of his men and began to work his way along the ridge to engage an enemy sniper. As they closed and just before he could attack, Lieutenant Lawrence was severely wounded.
His actions were an outstanding example of leadership under fire and courage in the face of the enemy.
24549305 Guardsman James Boyle Curran REYNOLDS, Scots Guards.
On the night of 13th/14th June 1982, on the Island of East Falkland, the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards attacked well entrenched enemy positions on the craggy ridge feature of Tumbledown Mountain, seven kilometres to the west of Port Stanley.
During the attack, Guardsman Reynolds' Platoon came under fire from a group of enemy snipers. His Platoon Sergeant was killed instantly. A confused situation developed and his Section became separated. Guardsman Reynolds immediately took command. Having located the enemy snipers he silenced several of them himself.
That done and showing a complete disregard for his own safety, he moved forward to render first aid to a wounded comrade. He himself was wounded in the hand by enemy sniper fire, but continued to aid his colleague. Whilst doing so, he was killed by enemy mortar fire.
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the undermentioned in recognition of distinguished conduct and bravery during the operations in the South Atlantic:
Distinguished Conduct Medal
23867615 Warrant Officer Class 2 William NICOL, Scots Guards.
WO2 Nicol was the CSM of Left Flank, 2nd Battalion Scots Guards throughout the campaign in the Falkland Islands. During this time he maintained exemplary standards of personal courage and leadership which inspired similar standards in all members of his company. Three particular occasions stand out:
On 8th June some 12 enemy aircraft involved in an attack on shipping at Fitzroy flew in three sorties at low level over the Company's position at Bluff Cove. No warning of the enemy aircraft was received but, despite this CSM Nicol so rapidly and skilfully organised and controlled his company in firing rifles and machine guns, moving from sangar to sangar with no thought for his own safety, that 2 or 3 enemy aircraft were brought down by the Battalion.
On 14th June at Tumbledown Mountain, his company were ordered to take a strong enemy position as part of a Battalion night attack.
After the initial assault, the company came under constant and devastating machine gun and sniper fire. One of the platoon sergeants was wounded, and CSM Nicol went forward under accurate sniper fire to rescue him. Wounded in the hand while doing so, he continued to tend the dying sergeant.
He remained cool and calm under heavy fire encouraging and exhorting his men and, at the same time, advising one of the young platoon commanders how to defeat a seemingly impregnable enemy position.
He remained unperturbed by the weight of enemy small arms, artillery and mortar fire thus instilling great confidence in men who might well have been frightened. He refused to be evacuated himself, until all the other casualties in the company (26 in all) had been evacuated. CSM Nicol's distinguished conduct and conspicuous personal bravery throughout the campaign and in particular on the three occasions described proved an inspiration and example to all ranks and have made an outstanding contribution to his company's exceptional achievements.
On the night of 13th/14th June 1982, on the Island of East Falkland, the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards attacked well entrenched enemy positions on the craggy ridge feature of Tumbledown Mountain, seven kilometres to the West of Port Stanley.
During the assault, leading elements came under intense enemy machine gun fire which was preventing any further advance. Sergeant Jackson reacted instantly: discarding his rifle and armed only with grenades, he clambered forward under fire over wet and slippery rocks towards the foot of the enemy's position forty metres away. Having climbed fully fifteen metres up into the rocky crags, single handed he attacked and destroyed the enemy's position with his grenades.
Sergeant Jackson showed outstanding courage under fire in the face of the enemy.
24408498 Guardsman Andrew Samuel PENGELLY, Scots Guards.
On the night of 13th/14th June 1982, on the Island of East Falkland, the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards were attacking well entrenched enemy positions on the craggy ridge feature of Tumbledown Mountain, seven kilometres to the West of Port Stanley.
During the assault, leading elements came under fire from a sniper hidden high up in nearby rocky crags. Guardsman Pengelly reacted immediately: abandoning his machine gun and armed with grenades, he climbed up the wet and slippery rocks toward the enemy position. Reaching the top, he hurled a grenade and killed the sniper. As he threw the grenade he was hit and badly wounded by enemy mortar fire. His courageous action was a significant
individual contribution of a high order to the success of the battle.
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the following names of those Mentioned in Despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during the operations in the South Atlantic:
Major The Honourable Richard Nicholas BETHEL M.B.t. (490483), Scots Guards.
24460571 Piper Steven William DUFFY, Scots Guards.
Monday, 22 October 2007
Introduction to the conflict. Background to the dispute. The invasion by the Argentine armed forces. The initial reaction of the British government and the various diplomatic efforts.
Starts with the departure of the Task Force and the journey south. The retaking of South Georgia by the SAS and Royal Marines. The final approach to the islands by 3 Brigade and the mobilization of 5 Brigade.
Starts with the "Black Buck" Vulcan bombing raids on Stanley. The air war and the enforcement of the air exclusion zone. Discusses the harrier and the use of the sidewinder missile. The sinking of the Belgrano by HMS Conqueror and the sinking of HMS Sheffield.
Starts with the aftermath of the sinking of HMS Sheffield and discussing the short comings of the British Navy. The attack on Pebble Island by the SAS and the landings of 3 Brigade at San Carlos.
The landings of 3 Brigade and the attacks on the ships in the San Carlos in the infamous "bomb alley". The sinking of HMS Ardent, Atlantic Conveyor, and HMS Coventry. Moves on to the deployment of 2 Para and the attack on Goose Green.
Picks up halfway through the battle for Goose Green and continues through to the final surrender of the garison. Ends up with some discussion about the naval losses and the impact of this on the plans of 3 Brigade.
Starts with the Paras and Marines walking across the Falklands, the SAS assault on Mount Kent, and the arrival of 5 Brigade in San Carlos. Carries on with the movement of the Scots Guards by Landing Craft to Bluff Cove and the disaster at Fitzroy when the Welsh Guards are hit on the Sir Galahad.
This part starts with the aftermath of the bombing of the Welsh Guards at Fitzroy and carries on with the assaults on the defences around Stanley upto the battle of Longdon.
Picks up from the battle for Mount Longdon through to Wireless Ridge. Also covers the fighting by the Scots Guards on Tumbledown.
Sadly 5 Brigade had very few journalists who followed the various units so the coverage is fairly sketchy. Also they have got some facts wrong. They incorrectly credit "C" Company of the Scots Guards as taking the initial objective on Tumbledown. The problem is there was no "C" Company, the company that took the first objective was "G" Company otherwise known as "The Rabbits". Also the interview with Captain Spicer is a bit confusing as the states that it was all over in a couple of hours but what he was referring to was the figthing by my company Right Flank. In fact the assault took some 14 hours and at one time became seriously bogged down as Left Flank had great difficulties in taking their objective.
Picks up from Wireless Ridge and the advance into Stanley. The final surrender of the Argentine garison and summaries from the various veterans who had contributed their personal memories.