Livewire - June 13, 2012

live wire - IAN CARR
live wire - IAN CARR
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By Ian Carr, local Falklands veteran

THIS year marks the 30th anniversary of the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentina, an act of unprovoked aggression to which this country responded with its greatest feat of arms since the Second World War.

It is a poignant moment for the families of the 255 military personnel and three islanders who lost their lives, and for the many that were seriously wounded during the campaign.

During the conflict, I was a 19-year-old Royal Navy medic serving onboard HMS Herald, the only one of the three smaller hospital ships with the ability to escort SS Uganda into Falkland Sound (Bomb Alley) to evacuate casualties from this area.

It was noted later that the Argentineans had dispatched aircraft to attack Herald and Uganda as they thought both ships were ferrying troops ashore.

In two journeys to the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, HMS Herald moved more than 200 casualties.

In addition to the introduction of a hospital ward, the ships’ company vacated their mess decks and slept on camp beds in offices and workshops throughout the whole conflict to accommodate the injured, especially those with burns wounds who required additional support.

This year is especially important for me, as I will be reunited for the first time with some of the men from the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards, who I dealt with as casualties after the fierce fighting to retake Mount Tumbledown, which involved extreme close quarters combat at night.

For the courage displayed in the attack, men from 2nd Battalion Scots Guards were awarded one Distinguished Service Order, two Military Crosses, two Distinguished Conduct Medals (one posthumously) and two Military Medals.

Of the 255 “that remained forever on watch”, we all lost someone, whether a friend or colleague.

Therefore, it is important that the events that took place between April 2 and June 15 1982, are remembered. This was a short but bitter war in inhospitable conditions, won on a battlefield 8,000 miles away from home.

On Sunday, Blackpool will fly the Falklands flag alongside the Union Jack above the town hall, and there will be a remembrance service at St John’s Church.

The band of the Scots Guards Association will then lead the parade of Falkland veterans, including men of the Tumbledown Association, from St John’s Square to the Cenotaph, where the Mayoress of Blackpool will take the salute and wreaths will be laid.