30 years ago I woke up in Swinton Barracks Munster Germany with everyone talking about the Arggies invading some place in Scotland, only to find out later what and where the Falklands were. Eventually spent 4 months there in the nineties and enjoyed it.
Thirty years ago, a bit earlier than this, I was sat at my desk in Norfolk catching up on some paperwork when I got a message that I was to be at Boscombe Down, in Wiltshire, by lunchtime to take part in Operation Corporate. No one knew what Corporate was at this stage, of course.
Asked somebody to organise transport and went and packed some overnight kit – PJs, washing kit, clean underwear and a pack of cards.
There had been a bit of a problem with transport, none available, and someone had rung MoD to ask how urgent this Corporate thing was, and could I go by train.
The reply had come back "If the only available car is the Station Commander’s staff car, give him that. He will be here by lunchtime!”
I felt quite important for a while (but not for long)!
A Ford Escort was found and off I went.
I didn’t sleep in my own bed again for three weeks and covered about 1500 miles, visiting, and not in the logical order, Boscombe, Chivenor (Devon) St Mawgan (Cornwall), Sealand (Cheshire) Kinloss (Moray Firth), twice, Milford Haven, (South Wales) MoD London, Southampton, Portland (Dorset).
I didn’t actually get to the Islands until later, until long after the shooting stopped, but the stuff I did was used down there, so I felt quite happy that I had contributed, and still do.
When I finally got back I was censured because I had failed to present my vehicle for planned maintenance at the requisite mileage.
Those who know the military mind will understand perfectly!
Was in Reserve. Got a call and was in RM Poole in 4 hours. Unfortunately I was asked to do things normally done by those who had rushed off. Had an interesting time but would have much preferred to have gone South. The lads who went did a great job. I slept in a "cabin" vacated by a guy who had surveyed the Islands recently and whose embryonic book was grabbed by the powers that be and formed a key role in deciding the beachhead.My company gave unpaid leave but offered to make up the difference between military pay and my civvy one, and to pay a pension if the worst happened. Very generous, I thought.
I'd been a civvie for twelve years by then. Having a hard time running a pub in Knotty Ash. It might have been better if I had still been serving and gone with the lads.
At a re-union later, I found that the lad I gave a lift down to the re-union was a brewery representative for Bass in Manchester. He had approached the brewery and they had laid on free ale for the whole weekend. A lot of the men attending the re-union were just back from the Falklands, so they and us had a good cheapo weekend.
I wonder if I will be around to attend the thirtieth anniversary of the end of hostilities in Afghanistan? Or even the fifth come to that?
I didn't get down there until it was all over but did somehow seem to share a lift home in a Hercules with an aquired helecopter that was hung in the mess back at Lyneham.
30 years ago I was at my cousin's wedding reception, around 10pm a soldier arrived and passed a message to my cousin's new husband.
He had a choice of destination for the next morning, Northern Ireland or Falklands.
He chose the Falklands on the grounds that you knew who was shooting at you there.
They went on their honeymoon 12 months later
I was working in Devonport Dockyard at the time, there's a lot of my pipework at the bottom of the South Atlantic thanks to the Exocet missiles used by Argetina.
You all make me feel quite inadequate.
I had just been moved from a "Top of the Shop" job to, what I thought was,a very mediocre ground tour. I was about to try my hand in the outside world when Operation Corporate landed on my desk. It was no time to abandon ship. I had been to Ascension, twice, before the war. I had a very,very small part to play but I was able to watch the Air Transport operation in some detail.
In the past I had been very dismissive of service organisation but, as always seemed to happen, when the chips are down - everyone works well together and things happen.
People who think that the US Military did not help are wrong, likewise some South American Countries. The French.......50-50 I think.
As an ex Vulcan Navigator Radar I had a keen interest in the bombing efforts particularly as I had served on the prime Flight Refuelling receiver squadron in the Sixties. Longest trip 18hours 15mins. Much experience had been forgotten and had to be re-learned in quick time.
"You all make me feel quite inadequate."
We each do our own thing.
We did what we had chosen to do, were getting paid to do, and for the most part enjoyed doing (though not perhaps at the time).
I don't feel inadequate when somebody raises thousands for charity set against my own couple of quid for the RNLI.
I just think good luck to them, but that's not for me.
I'm pretty sure that there were so many who had spent time in the TA who were a little shocked at being conctacted. The idea of free parachute and free fall lessons suddenly didn't seem such a great idea to me. I think that this was probably the first time that purely TA soldiers had been called up for duty in many a long year as the VR bit of the title had been dropped. I know I was shocked.
Many young lives were lost possibly because our Government had left the door partially open with the wrong signals and actions.
Years later I met up with many of our brave warriors when they were doing a walk through Wales to raise funds for my Spinal Injuries Unit and after giving my wife due warning to have a chat with my son I took Simon Weston home to have a bath and spend the night in a proper bed rather than camping out on the floor of one of our gyms.
I will never forget that night as we were sitting downstairs in the lounge when the most beautiful singing we had ever heard came resonating through the house from the bathroom. He has such a wonderful voice and I don't think many know that.
Today my thoughts are with friends who didn't come home and that wonderful voice.
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