Thursday, 29 December 2011
And here I talk about what it feels like to be shot at
All in all the talk went down very well and I was happy with most of what I said. It was hard to get the timings exactly right as 2 hours sounds like a lot but rapidly vanishes.
Next challenge for me is that I have been accepted by sixthstar to be a special guest speaker on cruise ships from the Royal Caribbean cruise line on cruises from Southampton. Will have to start preparing 3-4 45 minutes talks about the Falklands War. Look out for some postings about how this progresses
Friday, 21 October 2011
Monday, 5 September 2011
Sunday, 4 September 2011
Fine bunch of men
Then I got to thinking about this photo because I don't remember it being taken. Not that that means much as it was 30 years ago (almost) so I should be given some leeway as to the state of my memory.
As there are precious few photos with me in it I got to wondering if I was there, and what do you know I am :)
Front row, 6th from the left, kneeling, holding my SLR. I think the chap to the left of me is Kev Bottoms (ACC). The chap to the right I dont recognise but the chap next to him is Eddie Collins (8th from left). Tally is 11th from the left.
I look so small and weedy compared to the rest.
Friday, 2 September 2011
Details can be found on facebook here
Really looking forward to this event as this time it seems to be aimed more at families and is spread over a weekend rather than a formal sit down dinner with speaches. I worry that as this isn't officially sponsored by the regimental association there might be a conflict with anything organised by them.
However its great that Vince Campbell and Bill Montgomery have organised this.
Thursday, 25 August 2011
One of the "problems" with the battle for Tumbledown is that a lot has been said by the Argentine side and very little from the British. There are no books that deal exclusively with the battle as for most it is a foot note to the more dramatic events of the surrender of the Argentine garrison.
From the Argentine side there have been 2 conflicting stories. One hailing the activities of 5BIM as a battalion and the other focusing on the actions of just 1 reinforced platoon left to defend the West end of Tumbledown in isolation.
Against this confusing background is set the titanic struggle of Left flank and the hurried skirmishing of Right Flank and as such the 2 stories have not really been told together.
Mikes new book is certainly going to set the story straight and though the vast majority of mankind have little interest about a battle fought almost 30 years ago I for one was fascinated to read what is by far the most accurate retelling of the battle to date
Good job Mike and look forward to seeing you in October when you give your talk at Karlberg.
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
It's going to be interesting to see what we can do with the site
To quote from the website...
SAMA (82) began its existence on April 2nd 1997, the fifteenth anniversary of the uninvited arrival of Argentine forces in the Falkland Islands. Soon afterwards, a task force was assembled in Great Britain and dispatched to the South Atlantic to restore Her Majesty's Sovereignty. On June 14 1982, Major General Jeremy Moore RM was able to announce to the world that the Falkland Islands were once again living under the Government of their choice. Seventy four days of occupancy had elapsed.
Since those heady days in 1982 many things have changed. The Islanders now have a measure of economic independence, and the geography of the capital, Stanley, has been radically reshaped. There is now a new airport complex, integrated with the garrison which continues to defend the Falklands against any aggressor. But most of the Task Force members also had their lives altered. Just under 780 were wounded, with injuries ranging from minor shrapnel scratches, through disfiguring burns, to amputation and loss of a limb or limbs.
Even those who were not wounded physically found that they had changed on their return home. A few were suffering from the cluster of severe symptoms known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; others merely had disturbed dreams. For nearly all veterans of the short but sharp South Atlantic conflict, November 11th's Remembrance Sunday now became an intense emotional experience, along with feelings of sadness and loss on specific anniversaries such as the land battles of Goose Green, Mount Harriet, Tumbledown, Two Sisters, Wireless Ridge and Mount Longdon - or the death in action of a friend and comrade elsewhere, perhaps at sea, or closer to shore at Fitzroy Cove, or in the Battle of San Carlos Water. Three Falkland Islanders also died in the fighting; two hundred and fifty five members of the Task Force did not return to their homes ...
All members of that Task Force are united in one thing. They, or their next-of-kin, received from Her Majesty's Government the South Atlantic Medal. It was awarded to all personnel who took part in operations in the South Atlantic for the liberation of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. To qualify, the recipient had to have at least one full day's service in the Fakland Islands or South Georgia, or thirty days in the South Atlantic operational zone, including Ascension Island. Additionally, those who qualified under the first condition were awarded a rosette to wear on the medal ribbon.
What is perhaps surprising is that nearly 30,000 of these medals were awarded, underpinning the Government's seriousness in terms of generating the forces needed to carry out the difficult task of dislodging the Argentine invaders. The breakdown of medal awards is: Royal Navy 13,000; Royal Marines 3,700; Royal Fleet Auxilliary 2,000; Army 7,000; Royal Air Force 2,000 and Merchant Navy/Civilian 2,000.
The main objectives of SAMA (82) are simply stated. We intend to maintain and promote a sense of pride and comradeship among all veterans of the South Atlantic campaign, and to keep them in touch with each other in a manner which respects both individual privacy and personal requirements. We also want to establish and maintain contact with other organisations involved in the welfare of the armed forces, and ensure that due consideration is given to the interests of all Falkland veterans. SAMA (82) will also investigate for consideration, by an appropriate organisation, any case of hardship or distress amongst South Atlantic veterans in which direct financial assistance is sought or recommended.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly for the the majority of SAMA (82) members, we desire most strongly to maintain and strengthen links with the people of the Falkland Islands.
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
One chopper that we almost all came in contact with was the sole surviving chinook "Bravo November".
I remember one particular incident which involved Ian Amos our Company Sergeant Major. We had just recently placed a tent over the latrines that had been freshly dug some distance from where we were staying at Ajax Bay in what had been the "Red and Green life machine". Ian had commissioned one of our REME armourers to make some "thunder boxes" so that instead of squatting over an open trench to do "our business" we would have the luxury of being able to sit down. Now Ian was a man of habit in that each morning he would go to the latrine tent with a copy of The Sun with strict instructions that nobody was to disturb him.
Problem is nobody had thought to tell the RAF that we had changed the location of the spot where the replem chopper was supposed to land. So you can imagine what happened when "Bravo November" turned up for her normal replem only to find a bloody big tent in the way. Of course not knowing what to do and at this point not able to see the frantically waving guardsman telling him not to hover over the tent she kept station for good minute or so.
Have you seen what the downdraft of a fully laden Chinook does to to tent?
All I can say is that poor old Ian was letf clutching an inch of The Sun each hand while everything else was ripped away. There he was fully exposed to the world with his trousers around his ankles yelling blue murder up at the pilots.
We all thought it was hilarious but Ian certainly had a sense of humour loss that morning and we all kept a healthy distance away from him :)
Anyway, 30 years later good old "Bravo November" is still at it flying missions in Afganistan
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Yesterday was the 29th anniversary of the liberation of the Falklands.
It's the one day of the year no matter how busy I am I take a little time to reflect on my life and look back.
Last night I was doing my Buddhist prayers and was reflecting that this time 29 years ago the fighting was over and the Argentines had surrendered.
I was up on Tumbledown still without a sleeping bag wedged into a crack between some rocks trying to sleep and stay warm. All around me was the evidence of battle; scattered shell cases, discarded helmets, rifles, bits of clothing, webbing, letters from loved ones and of course dozens of dead from both sides lying where they had fallen.
Rest in peace guys, both British and Argentine, and if any of the bullets I help feed into our GPMG killed you, know that I am truly sorry for I didn't hate you.
There is a wonderful poem by Kudyard Kipling called Tommy that captures the essence of what it is to be a soldier. Lets not forget our current batch of serving men and women. I have included an up to date version of this poem that shows little has changed in the 120 years since the Kipling first wrote the original
O then we're just like 'eroes from the army's glorious past.
Yes, it's "God go with you, Tommy," when the trip might be your last.
They pays us skivvy wages, never mind we're sitting ducks,
When clerks what's pushing pens at 'ome don't know their flippin' luck.
"Ah, yes" sez they "but think of all the travel to be 'ad."
Pull the other one. Does Cooks do 'olidays in Baghdad?
It's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, know your place,"
But it's "Tommy, take the front seat," when there's terrorists to chase
An' the town is full of maniacs who'd like you dead toot sweet.
Yes, it's "Thank you, Mr Atkins," when they find you in the street.
There's s'pposed to be a covenant to treat us fair an' square
But I 'ad to buy me army boots, an' me combats is threadbare.
An' 'alf the bloody 'elicopters can't get in the air,
An' me pistol jammed when snipers fired. That's why I'm laid up 'ere.
Yes, it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, "We 'ave to watch the pence";
Bold as brass the P.M. sez, "We spare them no expense.
But I'll tell you when they do us proud an' pull out all the stops,
It's when Tommy lands at Lyneham in a bloomin' wooden box!.
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Actually this time I met some more senior officers who had already graduated from the academy and had come back for a course. We discussed deployment in a combat zone and the various stress and strains placed upon serving soldeirs.
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
They had just finished doing a paper based exercise on the Falklands War when Major BQ rolled me in for a question and answer session after I had given a brief overview of my involvement in the events of 1982.
The whole thing went really well and we will repeat this later with other cadets