Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Letter written 21 May 1982

Dear Mum, Dad and Dave

Choppers came in today and yesterday to ferry essential supplies such as beer, soft drinks, chocolate and mail so I received both your letters, it was great hearing from you. I wrote to both of you yesterday so I haven't got a lot to say.

We aren't staying on the Ascension Islands, as a matter of fact all we are doiing is going around it in circles taking on supplies. Tonight we go South but you probably know about this from the news anyway. When we join the Task Force we will probably vacate the QE2 and board naval vessels to minimise the chances of all of 5 brigade being blown out of the water. As a result things will probably be much safer.

Rumours are rife but it is probable the QE2 will become a hospital ship so I wouldn't particularly wish to come back on board as a passenger. 5 brigade has 2 options. We are primamrily a reserve force to back up the paras and marines but there again we may be required to act indepently. Again rumour has it that there is another brigade under going traininbg and we hope that they will form a garrison.

As it stands we stand little chance of kicking the Argies off the islands through purely military operations in the forseeable future. We need to outnumber the enemy 3 to 1 to gain a certain victory. We are led to believe that they outnumber us by 2 to 1. However that isn't all that bad because most of the troops are new recruits from February. They use the same infantry weapons that we do so fully appreciate their ability in firepower. Saying that there weapons may be unusable due to the weather and the inexperienced training of the troops.

We expect to encounter pretty bad weather as we go further south. The weather itself is about the same as a Scottish winter, however saying that the wind is constantly blowing and can be a serious threat. The islands are gradually sinking into sea so the large majority of the islands are marshy and the atmosphere is very damp. Cover from the elements will be few and far between as there are only 2 clumps of trees in the netire islands.

I can't remember if I told you my job but in case I haven't I am now with company stores. Our job in life will be to ferry supplies such as food, water and ammunition up to the ftont line. We will probably be engaged in guarding and supply dumps and other instalations. My job as a pay clerk is now down to about 2 to 3 hours a week so it be hard graft. We have no idea when we will be back to England but as far as I am concerned the sooner the better

Morale is high though the novelty of going to war has to the large majority now worn off. I have never seen a body of men more dedicated to deal a crushing defeat to the Argies.

I am getting very fit as we do a hours rigorous training every day. This normally entails everyone running around the QE2 from Brigadier downwards. I'm getting a nice tan which puts a shame on my other ones and that is only from 1 hours exposure a day to the sun.

I think of you back in England and it is only now that I realise what a wonderful existence we live. As I think ahead to the conditions we will most probably have to endure I would be quite happy to say "here, keep the bloody islands". However I don't feel that way and never will.

Lots of love

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