Falklands 35 ~ Scott Wilson

24317228 Corporal Scott ‘Scotty’ Wilson 3 March 1957 ~ 12 June 1982 Age 25

William Spence Wilson was born in Leith an area in the North of Edinburgh on 9 July 1927. He married Janet Melrose in 1954 in St Andrew, Edinburgh. Scott was born into a Military Family on 3 March 1957 here are some words written by Paul Moore…

‘Scott Wilson was born in Abadan, Iran, to William and Janet Wilson, His father was serving in the military.  Later, the family home was in the Sighthill area of Edinburgh, although they moved to Durham after his father left the army, having joined the Prison Service. The family returned to Sighthill following the death of his father.

Scott was a very popular member of 9 Parachute Squadron RE, always happy and loved his time with 9 Sqn.  He spent many years in 9 Sqn and was a very good sportsman, especially at football, where he represented the Corps.  Scott was married to Jean, who was also from a military family.  Her Father was in the REME and posted to Aldershot where she met Scott. Jean has an older sister, Linda.  Linda was married to Keith ‘Ginge’ McCarthy from 3 Para. 

2 Troop 9 Para Sqn RE departed from Portsmouth with a re-enforced troop of 53 men on board the Norland on 26th April with 2 Para Group.  Scott and John Ferry shared a bunk on the journey down South and had many conversations about what they were going to be tasked with and training programmes.   The journey down was very busy with training, especially updated battlefield first aid skills and teaching the men from 2 Para what to do, if they encountered a minefield!

Eventually the powers that be, realised that 3 Para did not sail with any Sappers, and were going ashore first, therefore 2 Troop were cross decked on the 19th of May to the Canberra to join 3 Para.  A few days later, on May 20th we were cross decked again, this time to HMS Intrepid.  Our landing took place on May 21st, on-board Landing Craft into Green Beach at Port San Carlos. 

During the initial search of some buildings that had been used by Argentine Forces, Scott recovered a Royal Navy White Ensign which was believed to have been flown at Moody Brook Barracks in Stanley.  Scott carried this across the island before passing it to his Section 2IC Paul Moore for safe keeping with strict instructions that it was to go in the Airborne Forces Museum should anything happen to Scott.  The flag was placed in the care of the museum in late 1983 having been embroidered with great care by Lesley Moore.

3 Para attacked Mount Longdon on the evening of 11 June 1982. Both Scott and his Brother-in-Law, Keith McCarthy were killed by artillery fire.  Scott was 25 years old when he was killed in action.

After the War, a decision was made by the Government to bring the bodies back, due to the extreme distance and difficulties getting to the Islands.  Not all the families took up this offer of repatriation, however, both Jean and Linda did.

Scott was buried in Eastern Hills Cemetery, Edinburgh on the 2nd of December 1982, following a service at St Nicholas Parish Church, Sighthill.  HQ Scotland provided a ceremonial Land Rover and Gun Carriage to carry his coffin with John Ferry in charge of the coffin bearer party.

A tough time for the Wilson family indeed as William Spence Wilson died in 1981 just a year before his son, he was just 53 years old. Scott married his wife Jean in Dumfries in 1980. Jean now lives in Wiltshire.

We thank all of the Wilson family for their service!

© Jay Morgan Hyrons

NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story please contact the author…

Falklands 35 ~ Brian John Short

The Falklands War was made up of a Task Force brought together swiftly and some people who had no expectation of being included found themselves in the South Atlantic. All played their part but for some it brought home to them not just the suffering of the time but a deeper understanding of the suffering of others that went before them.

We are learning more all of the time of the suffering of ‘She Who Waits’ and the children that are left behind as War devastates families with far reaching consequences. Brian is one of those children who lost his father before he was born and came to a greater understanding of his own and his mothers suffering from his experiences of 1982.

Thankfully he was one of our Task Force that made it home. His book will be out next month. Here are some of his thoughts…

‘My name is Brian John Short, and it is perhaps not surprising to hear I am the second member of my family to join the Royal Marines. What might be surprising is that I have same name as Royal Marine Brian John Short, my father who was killed at Suez three months before I was born. Now this is not an appeal for sympathy, but it sets up my early life and shows the impact war and failed diplomacy had on my life even before I was born and how I feel qualified to post here.

Growing up in Plymouth with a hostile stepfather meant that sooner or later [but actually sooner] I had to leave the family home, and with always having leant towards the Royal Marines the careers office SNCO welcomed me with open arms. He must have had a quota to fill, as one mention of playing the drums in the cadet and had me auditioning at Deal as a musician and not a commando.

Life as a musician in the Royal Marine Band was good and would have remained so had the Argentines not decided to invade the Falklands. Surprised to be recalled from Easter leave, us ‘bandies’ assumed we would take over gate guarding duties whilst the roughty toughty commandos went and sorted out the Argentines. Our assumption was both wrong and premature in equal measure as our wartime military role was attached to the medical squadron, and they requested our attendance!

Within 48 hours the band and several thousand marines, paras and various other cap badges were on the cruise ship Canberra in Southampton preparing to sail south. Having seen my father’s headstone complete with both his and my name, I could not help wondering if fate was going to play some cruel trick and have us both be victims of circumstances outside our control.

Sailing south, the band undertook various military and medical training regimes, until near the Equator boredom amongst the troops and the need for music got the better of us and we started playing for the men. With a captive audience and being the only source of entertainment, we were a great success and in great demand, both as a full band and also as smaller rock and jazz bands playing in the bars. This would have been a great end to the trip has the Argentines had gone home, but sadly this was not to be.

History sadly records how it did become a shooting war, with the inevitable life changing impact on both the fighting soldiers and their families. I thought about how my own mother must have received the news of my father’s death and what forever impact it had on her and myself. The band went into our well-rehearsed military role, which mostly involved unloading casualties from the helicopters and moving them down for treatment. The first deceased we received were people known to us on the journey down, which was both sickening and sobering as got to grips with being in a war. It led us to participating in burials at sea for four of our fallen comrades, but our musical contribution added decorum and poignancy to what was a sad and emotional occasion.

Having now received Argentine prisoners the band also had to turn their hand to guarding the prisoners. Yes, some of them were conscripts but we also encountered regular Argentine marines and special forces amongst the people we were guarding. For the most part they behaved, although somewhat shocked be on a ship they had been told they has sunk.

With our professional soldiers, sailors and marines taking care of the dirty business of war, I was in no doubt about the outcome, and for once I was right. With the war won [and yes, it was a bloody war] we took the thousands of Argentines to where they should have stayed, at home. Having actually set foot on the Argentine mainland and got a bollocking for my trouble from a swarthy moustachioed officer, Canberra quickly dropped off the POW’s, gathered up her troops to make the long journey home. The voyage back was triumphant, we played a lot of music and we drank a lot of beer, but everybody knew that not everyone who has sailed south was now going home with us. After a spectacular homecoming into Southampton, I held it together until I saw one little girl trying to find her dad amongst the troops coming down the gangway. I am sure she found him, but in that moment, it caught for me all the emotion of the last few months, my own mother’s loss and the families who would not be welcoming their loved one home. I cried and was changed forever, and so would they be.

In recent years at reunions there are progressively fewer of us and with the 40th anniversary approaching, who amongst us will be there for the 50th. [don’t worry, it rhetorical] So, I decided someone ought to write the band’s story down before it is too late, and I also decided it would be me. ‘The Band That Went To War’ will be published in November 2021, and I hope it reflects something of the war as experienced in our little bubble aboard the Canberra of Spring 1982.’

Brian’s father died on 6 November 1956. He is remembered at Haslar Royal Military Cemetery in Gosport.

We thank them both for their service!

© Jay Morgan Hyrons

NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story please contact the author…

Falklands 35 ~ Barry James Wallis

D135931G Weapons Engineering Mechanician 2 Barry James Wallis HMS Sheffield 11 January 1956 ~ 4 May 1982 Age 26

Barry James Wallis was born in South Africa on 11 January 1956, to Frederick and Paula Wallis. Barry had one older brother Brian. When he was about 12 years old the family returned to the United Kingdom. Barry had always wanted to join the Royal Navy. The Wallis family had a long history in the Rochford area of Essex where it appears that Barry’s father Frederick died on 21 March 1972.

Henry Wallis was born in Prittlewell, Essex around 1813 he married Mary Ann Atkins on 25 October 1836 in Eastwood in the presence of her parents Samuel and Elizabeth. Mary Ann was baptised in October 1817; she was just slightly younger than her husband. Henry and Mary Ann had their first son the following year, it appears they had six children James was their fifth child born in 1847. The family lived at Eastwood Jay Birds Farm in 1841 prior to James birth. They continued to be farm labourers for some years to come.

James Wallis married Jane Sams on 11 March 1871 in Prittlewell. James and Jane’s first child, a daughter Rosetta Jane was born soon after. The couple went on to have several children their eldest son Frederick Henry was born in 1873. As the years went by the family remained in farming. Rosetta married Joseph; they were living in Orsett with their three children in 1901.

Rosetta Martha Jane Smith was born on 6 March 1907 her mother Rosetta died aged just 35 years old, possibly in childbirth. By the time she was four years old Rosetta Martha Jane was living with her grandparents James and Jane back in Eastwood, Essex. Joseph married Rosetta’s younger sister Florence Eliza and by 1911 they were living in farm cottages in Hornchurch with the rest of the children including their son Charles. Forward to 1939 the family were living in South Ockenden, Rosetta Martha Jane never married but lived to the age of almost 80.

Frederick Henry Wallis married his bride Martha and on 28 June 1895 their oldest son Oswald Stanley Wallis was born in Rochford, Essex. By 1901 Frederick was a postman, the family still living in the Hockley area, he appears to be then known as John. John and Martha went on to have four more children. I do believe John went back to farming & was still a farm labourer in 1939.

Oswald Stanley Wallis married Amy Alice Thackeray in 1919. Amy was the daughter of Thomas Thackeray and Elizabeth Papps married in 1896 in London. Elizabeth was a widow with a baby girl Edith, when her first husband died aged just 26 years old. It does look like Thomas may also have been in the Royal Navy. It also appears that after his death Edie originally went to stay with relatives and later died in Rochford aged just 17 years old. Thomas and Elizabeth had a daughter Amy Alice born on 15 August 1901.

Amy was just eighteen years old when she married Oswald Stanley Wallis. Their son was named after his father Oswald Stanley Wallis junior was born on 9 December 1919; Oswald senior was Barry’s paternal grandfather. The couple’s family grew over the next seventeen years and in 1932 Frederick John Wallis was born. His younger brother was also called Barry.

Frederick John Wallis was set for a bit more adventure than staying with his relatives in the Rochford area as many couples did back through those years. Frederick and Paula spent some years living in South Africa. Later back in the Rochford area, Barry’s mother Paula remarried in 1974 in Southend On Sea. Barry joined the Royal Navy after attending Westcliff High School.

Barry married Jenny Baker in Chatham, Kent in 1978. Jenny had been born in the Chatham area. Barry and Jenny had one son Alan James Wallis born in Portsmouth in 1981. When the Falkland Islands were invaded Barry & Jenny’s home on land was in Portchester. Barry was serving on HMS Sheffield; the ship had sailed from Portsmouth on 19 November 1981. Their mission was a patrol in the Arabian Gulf followed by a major exercise in the Mediterranean.

It is the nature of Navy life that a wife is left home as it is with many Forces families, just often Naval wives have longer separations, times on shore are to be cherished. HMS Sheffield had been away for six months. Jenny was at home with a young baby, like most wives she would have been preparing for Barry’s imminent return when the news came through that HMS Sheffield was heading ‘Down South’ without stopping at Blighty.

HMS Sheffield went on divert on 2 April 1982, a month later, on 4 May 1982 she was struck amidships by an Argentinian Exocet Missile fired by a Super Etendard aircraft. Thankfully the missiles warhead failed to explode, otherwise there would have been many more deaths. In many ways luck was on the side of the ship but nevertheless 20 men perished that day. Barry James Wallis was one of those men.

Barry is described as very laid back until he was wound up. Barry’s hobbies included fixing cars, shooting, and sailing which he partook on behalf of the Navy. He was also on the social committee at HMS Collingwood. Alan is like so many children who grew up without knowing his father. In 2012 Alan received the Elizabeth Cross. It was 30 years after his father Barry had died, the award was first commissioned by Her Majesty Elizabeth II as a mark of recognition for those killed in any conflict to be awarded to the Next of Kin of relatives.

AFC Portchester always remembers the fallen each year from different conflicts Barry is one of two men who lived in the town when they were killed in the Falklands War. He is also remembered on all the main Falklands Memorials both here and there.

We thank you for your service!

© Jay Morgan Hyrons

NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story please contact the author…

Falklands 35 ~ Michael Edward Gordon Till

D099091A Chief Petty Officer Weapons Engineering Mechanician Michael Edward Gordon Till HMS Sheffield 4 February 1947 ~ 4 May 1982 Age 35

On Mike’s mothers’ side the family were miners from Houghton Le Spring in Durham. Mary Gordon Laidler was born on 13 October 1919, her parents James Laidler and Jane Stockport had married in 1913. Both James and Jane’s family were miners, though prior to their marriage Jane had been in service. The Laidler family may be traced back to the 1700’s working in the pits in the Houghton Le Spring area. Prior to her marriage Mary had worked in a Drapery Shop.

Jack Edward Frederick Till was born in Southampton on 13 November 1920 to Edward and Elsie Till who married in 1918. Jack had an older sister Mary Elizabeth born on 1 July 1919. Elsie’s family originally from Wiltshire had settled in South Stoneham by the turn of the 20th century.

Jack Till and Mary Laidler married in 1946 in Southampton just after WW2 had yet again wreaked havoc across the World. Michael Edward Gordon Till was the couple’s oldest son born on 4 February 1947 in Southampton. Mike had two brothers Bryan and Peter, by 1951 the Till family was complete.

On 27 March 1957, the family set sail from Liverpool on the Empress of France headed for New Brunswick, Canada all set to make a new life. Jack travelled ahead of his family, Mary and the boys left Liverpool on the 21 June 1957 on the Empress of England all set for their new life. Sadly, less than five years later Jack died, Mary and the boys returned to England to be near her mother.

After leaving school Mike initially studied communications in Durham, he joined the Royal Navy when he was 19 years old. Initially Mike trained at HMS Collingwood and HMS Rhyll. On his travels as a young matelot Mike met his wife to be Audrey, the couple had their first child Emma, born in Weymouth in 1967. Military life is one of movement, the couple’s daughter Julia was born in Gosport in 1970 and their third daughter Nancy was born in Scotland in 1971 where the family were then based. Mike had started work on the submarines the year prior to Nancy’s birth.

When the Falkland Islands were invaded in April 1982 Mike was serving on HMS Sheffield though due to leave the ship that month it was postponed as she joined the Task Force to travel ‘Down South.’ As a Senior Computer Chief Mike was sadly to perish at his post when HMS Sheffield was hit by an Exocet missile on 4 May 1982. Without their computer systems ships are unable to defend themselves and therefore it is these amazing service personnel who stay working in extremely difficult circumstances to try their best to get those vital systems back up.

Mike and Audrey had been together for 15 years when he died. He had already been at sea for five months prior to the Falklands War, HMS Sheffield was just four days away from returning home when she was ordered to join the Task Force. Mike wrote home often, although he was away often, he was very committed to his family life.

In 2008 BBC Radio 4 honoured Mike with the readings of some of those letters he wrote home, read by Stephen Tompkinson. The programme ‘Falklands Families’ highlighted stories from different perspectives including the Governor, Rick Jolly, Army and Air Force participants. Through Audrey’s words and Mike’s letters it gave an insight to their story, one of sadly too many families torn apart by War in 1982.

Mike loved Cross Country and middle distance running and had quite a collection of trophies. Whilst on board HMS Sheffield in March 1982, the ship became the first to carry out a 100 x1 mile relay whilst underway, in doing so they claimed the waterborne record, Mike was 4th in the event. After his death in 1983 his family presented the Fleet with the ‘Mike Till Trophy’ the trophy is of an albatross soaring over a breaking wave, it is sculpted in wood.

All of Mike’s daughters have grown up and married. In May 1994 Mike’s grandson was born in Germany and named Alexander Michael after his grandad. His other grandchild Isabelle shares his birthday.

Mike was both dedicated to his Naval career as well as to his family, not the easiest life to juggle but he did so with a smile on his face. He was described as kind, gentle, patient, and tolerant.

For his bravery on 4 May 1982, he was Mentioned in Dispatches and therefore his medal contains a single bronze oakleaf to denote this.

 We thank you for your service!

© Jay Morgan Hyrons

NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story please contact the author…

Falklands 35 ~ Daniel Wight

Shenia’s favourite photo of Danny

23908198 WO2 Daniel Wight 2 Scots Guards 28 April 1945 ~ 14 June 1982 Age 37

Daniel Wight was the eldest son of Glenville Wight and Mary Seath Macdonald who married in Newington, Edinburgh in 1944. Daniel was born in the same area where his parents married, on 28 April 1945. Daniel became known to all who knew him as Danny. Danny had one younger brother Jim who was born two years after him in 1947.

Danny attended James Clark School, Edinburgh, after leaving school he joined the British Army in 1962. Initially he trained at Pirbright after which he went to 1st Battalion Scots Guards where he served for much of his service.

Danny was a tall man standing 6’4″, but he was also a big character, not easily forgotten. Danny met his wife Shenia in the Park Hotel in Edinburgh early in 1970 whilst home on leave. They both liked Folk Singing which was on at the hotel that night. Danny Wight and Shenia Brown Duffy married on 6 February 1971 at the Register Office in Hunter’s Square, St Giles, Edinburgh.

Prior to meeting Shenia, Danny had played the big drum in the Pipe band. Shenia says ‘Once he had a drink, he would get the sticks out. Many a Christmas, my decorations would be broken with him swinging them.’ Danny, it seemed loved music and would sometimes drum on the coffee table as well as turn a song in the mess.

Whilst Danny was in Honduras in 1971, he asked his wife to send him the words of ‘Flower of Scotland’, when Shenia returned to Scotland in 1982 she was surprised to find the song had become so popular. They were both fans of the Scottish Folk Duo, The Corries. Danny was posted to the Guards Depot in the late 70’s and it was after that he went to the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards.

The couple had two children Darren born in Edinburgh in 1971 and Matthew born in London in 1976. Both boys went to the Queen Victoria school in Dunblane. Darren is now a Major in the Army Air Corps and Matthew has his own business, Discreet Scotland which provides private tours.

Both Danny and Shenia’s sons have married, Darren has two children Daniel and Leah, Matthew has two girls Gracie and Emeli.

Danny was known for being strict as a soldier but was well respected by his men. John Kiszely says ‘Danny Wight was Drill Sergeant of the battalion, that means he was the deputy Regimental Sergeant Major. He was brilliant at his job with a great sense of humour. Everyone in the battalion knew him and everyone really liked and admired him. What a tragedy it was that he was killed. So sad.’

It was indeed sad, Danny was killed on 14 June 1982 in the battle for Mount Tumbledown, alongside John Pashley. Nine men lost their lives that night, eight of them Scots Guards, 43 other men were injured.

Danny is remembered on all the usual Falklands memorials but this year a plaque was unveiled to the nine in Blackpool, Shenia was in attendance. The Tumbledown Veteran’s and Families Association sought permission to add the plaque to the cenotaph in Blackpool as that is where they meet each year.

Danny’s mother Mary died in 2007. Shenia lives in Edinburgh. Danny was a big character in life and remains so in death, he is immortalised as one of 255 servicemen who gave their lives for the freedom of others.

We thank you for your service!

© Jay Morgan Hyrons

NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story please contact the author…

Falklands 35 ~ Ken Henderson

Ken Henderson was born in a farm cottage in Arras near Market Weighton in Yorkshire on 3 December 1953. Ken is the oldest son of Norman Henderson and Betty Scrowston who married in 1952.

Betty was the youngest daughter of Robert Atkinson Scrowston and Gertrude Hopper who married in 1916 during WW1. Robert was born into a farming community, the couple had seven children altogether Robert, Arthur, Phyllis, Doris, Veeny, Betty and lastly Raymond. Sadly, Robert Sr died in a farming accident in 1931 aged just 40 years old. The two older boys, just teenagers at the time shouldered the responsibility of farm work while the older girls took care of the younger children, back in those days families had to pull together with no benefit system in place.

Norman Henderson was the only son of Ken Henderson and Annie Bell who married in 1926. Annie was born on 16 August 1891 and shared her birthday with her son Norman born on the same day in 1926. Annie was widowed in 1939 but went on to lead a long life passing away at the age of 95. Ken’s children remember her as ‘Nan’.

L to R Annie Henderson Norman Henderson Betty Henderson Gertrude Scrowston

When Betty met Noman, she already had a son Robin from a wartime romance who Norman adopted. The couple went on to have two boys together, Ken and his younger brother David.

Baby Ken with his Grandmother Gertrude

Ken’s education commenced at Market Weighton Catholic Primary school followed by the Marist College in Hull. Ken was not sporty during his schooldays and only found his interest in Orienteering after he joined the British Army. After leaving school as with many youngsters of that era Ken felt that local opportunities in the workplace were limited and so he joined the Army.

Ken first married in 1975 in Sennelager, the couple had two children Jason and Simon. When the Falkland Islands were invaded in April 1982 Ken was serving with 132 Battery RA at the Royal School of Artillery. The Battery had only just moved from Germany in March 1982. Ken’s trip ‘Down South’ started with a coach to Brize Norton, then C-130 Hercules to Ascension Island and finally the QE2 to South Georgia and the MV Norland to San Carlos.

Ken says of his feelings during those 74 days ‘Cold & wet, mostly. Somewhat apprehensive, hearing about what was happening to others, we were only involved directly in combat in the last 48 hrs.’ The last 48 hours were certainly intense.

He says of the War ‘It was unfortunate, but necessary for the country & the Forces to be able to hold their head up around the world for having come to the aid of British subjects under a dictatorship.’

Altogether Ken served for 22 years leaving eventually as a Sergeant. He spent his remaining years of service in Germany and the United Kingdom doing a lot of orienteering and a ‘bit of soldiering’. After his discharge Ken became a salesman in retail and a sales coach. He is now retired and lives by the seaside with his second wife Diane, the couple married in 2015. Ken enjoys photography.

In 2002 for the 20th anniversary Ken travelled to the Falkland Islands as part of a pilgrimage. He says it was ‘a superb week, staying with an islands couple, Tony & Lynn Blake. Couldn’t believe the amazing reception we got everywhere on the islands.’ Everyone feels that way with the welcome the islanders give to the ‘Class of 82’.

Ken would like to be remembered as someone who ‘Takes life as it comes & did what was asked of him when called to do so.’

We thank you for your service!

Falklands 35 ~ James Hamilton Murdoch ‘Doc’

24282774 Lance Corporal James Hamilton Murdoch ‘Doc’ 3 Para 21 May 1957 ~ 12 June 1982 Age 25

James Hamilton Murdoch was born in the Provan district of Glasgow on 21 May 1957. It appears his parents John and Margaret married in Glasgow in 1955. Doc had a younger sister Jean who married a paratrooper in 1983, the couple named their son ‘James Murdoch’ after his hero Uncle.

Doc was educated at Renfrew High School, he then joined JPC in September 1972 at Malta Barracks in Aldershot. Junior Parachute Regiment known as JPC was formed in 1961 as part of The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Depot. JPC was dedicated to training youngsters between the ages of 15-17 years old and they ended up there for a variety of reasons. Some just wanted to be Paratroopers but before they were able to become Sky Gods, they had to earn the right to wear that coveted Maroon beret. At JPC young men got their first introduction to the ethos of the Parachute Regiment along with discipline and tough training regimes.

Chad Hulme joined up at the same time as Doc and remembers leaves spent in Aldershot having fun and he says, ‘listening to Rod Stewart in a room we weren’t supposed to be’. After their training Doc went to 3 Para and Chad to 1 Para, Chad however still pays his respects at Doc’s grave regularly.

So where did the name ‘Doc’ come from? Tom Herring says ‘Doc Murdoch joined my section in B Coy 3 Para in 1975. He was prone to injuring himself from getting too much sun on his pale skin in Singapore, to getting a phosphorous burn in Italy. He did such a good job of bandage and self-treatment I made him the section medic. Hence the nickname Doc I was also his platoon Sergeant later in Osnabruck. I used to invite him and my other junior NCO’s over for Sunday lunch at my married quarter regularly.’

In fact, one of the most widely available photos of Doc out there is one where he has a wrist in plaster so there is another example of his injuries.

Here in this photo is Doc looking whole and uninjured for once with Andy Dunn at a 3 Para Machine competition circa 1981.

Doc was particularly remembered for his laugh which apparently was both unique and infectious. Paul Read says ‘Doc was a close friend in 3 Para. We met as Company drivers in Germany. I was C and he B Coy. He was a great character who always had a smile and an infectious laugh. We were both at the same Drill and Duties cadre to get promoted in Tidworth in 1981. Doc and I were by far the worst students in our group-however, it was memorable for the amount we laughed at each other during various lessons.

Once that laugh of his started it was infectious-needless to say, we were both jailed and shell PT on several occasions!! But you could never change his spirit. I recall the morning after the battle hearing with great sadness that Doc had been killed on top of Longdon.

In 2006 I returned with a load of guys from Doc’s platoon-I needed to go, to finally say goodbye-which was good. Although gone, he will always be remembered with fondness and in our hearts in 3 Para. Never Forgotten-Paul Read 3 Para ‘Class of 82’.

‘What a cracking guy Doc was, I was only a crow…last four months in Oznatraz…but without a doubt this man made my life…not a day went by without his laugh. RIP mukka x’ ~Chris Masterman

‘RIP Doc joined JPC together. Great guy sadly missed. Could light up any room with his personality’. ~ Nick Butler

That is how it is you see for the ‘Class of 82’ they never forget their brothers from another mother, friendships made as teenagers and beyond stay with these men for life. Sometimes returning to a place where a comrade lost their life can be incredibly healing, despite the War that ripped some families apart I have yet to hear of anyone that did not benefit from visiting the Islands however long after the battles they left behind.

Doc it seemed was a character as are many paratroopers, they are not exactly light and fluffy, yet their spirit may be. During difficult times such as P Company, exercise, tours, and troubles, men like Doc lift the spirits of others.

Doc died as he lived trying to help others, during the Battle for Mount Longdon he died trying to save two comrades and yet once injured he could not be saved.

After the Falklands War, the War that was considered officially as a ‘Conflict’ it was not automatic for men to be added to local War Memorials. In Doc’s case it took 30 years and finally in 2012 the local council agreed to add names of those local men who died post WW2. Doc’s named was added to the War Memorial in a service conducted on 1 June 2013.

Doc was also known as Jim to those he served alongside. He is buried at Arkleston Cemetery, Paisley, Scotland.

For those who knew him just a close of the eyes and a little imagination would bring back the memory of the laugh described as somewhere between a cackle and a shriek.

We thank you for your service!

© Jay Morgan Hyrons

NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story please contact the author…

Falklands 35 ~ Mary Goodwin

Mary Ann Goodwin 22 December 1900 ~ 12 June 1982 Age 81

Mary Ann Cartmell was born in the Falkland Islands on the 22nd December 1900, she married  John Hewitt in 1919 and had two children. Mary became a widow when John passed away on the 24th July 1923. 

On the 7th June 1926 Mary Married William (Bill)Goodwin and later had two sons, William ( Nutt) and Laurence ( Laurie) and lived in the camp for some time.

Eventually Mary and Bill moved into Stanley where they successfully ran a dairy herd and supplied fresh milk to the residents. After Bills death Mary and Laurie carried on with the dairy until age and I’ll health defeated them. This didn’t deter Mary she then took in lodgers and cooked hot lunches for many of the single men who came to the Falklands including teachers and BAS personnel. 

Mary died on the 13th June 1982 as a result of injuries sustained during the bombing of Stanley in the final days of the war. 

Mary was much loved by her family and still missed to this day. 

The above information was provided kindly by Mary’s granddaughter Jackie who is Nutt’s daughter.

During the Falklands War there were casualties on both sides as there are in any War. As we honour those we lost it is difficult for all of us who lost people we loved during that time. There is never an easy answer to the why and the how with death, all we know is that along with birth it is the only thing that all us humans have in common, it is a surety, we just know not what the number on our ticket is.

Mary was a civilian, one of just three lost tragically towards the end of the War and even more tragically by British fire, during the bombings of Stanley. Though each death is tragic in its own way, compared to events such as WW2 it is amazing that from the time the Falkland Islands were invaded, all throughout the War only three civilians died.

Let us always remember Mary in our thoughts as part of the 258 and at the same time be thankful to our Task Force that they did such a Stirling job to retake the islands so swiftly with so little loss of life to both our Troops and the Islanders.

© Jay Morgan Hyrons

NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story please contact the author…

Falklands 35 ~ Brian Marsden

D176786Q Naval Airman (Aircraft Handler) 1 Brian Marsden HMS Invincible 7 December 1962 ~ 16 June 1982 Age 19

Brian Marsden was born on 7 December 1962 at Rossendale General Hospital in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. His parents Jack Marsden and Joan Kirk married in 1958. The couple had their first child the following year in 1959, a daughter Jacqueline. Brian was their third child the middle of three brothers. Gary was born in 1961, Brian in 1962 and lastly David in 1964.

The family had roots in Lancashire going back in time. Brian’s maternal grandfather John Kirk and his wife Lilian were married in Blackburn in 1938. Joan was their eldest child; her brother John was born four years later. John grew up and served in the Royal Navy, he inspired Brian and his two brothers with his stories.

Before joining the Royal Navy, Brian had been a member of the Sea Cadets which he loved. Brian went to Moorhead High School; he was described by his mother as a ‘really happy go lucky lad.’ During his two years of training his service included HMS Seahawk, Culdrose, HMS Heron, Yeovilton and HMS Bulwark. Brian joined HMS Invincible as an Aircraft Handler after his training. He was home on leave when the Falkland Islands were invaded.

During the Falklands War whilst onboard HMS Invincible he kept diaries about his experiences as a young nineteen-year-old. As Brian started to write on his adventure ‘Down South’ he wrote about the Total Exclusion Zone explaining what it was. As for all servicemen letters from and to home broke the boredom and gave them something to look forward to, the simple pleasures were the most treasured. He wrote an entry the day before the San Carlos landings, his expectation that hundreds of people would be killed that day thankfully turned out to be wrong.

Brian made another entry on 12 June 1982 about HMS Glamorgan, the event itself and the casualties. His last entries were happy ones about the surrender, the relief, the celebrations finally that the islands were back with the British. The War had ended when the Argentines surrendered on 14 June 1982, an excited Brian made his last entries in his diaries.

Fate is strange; Brian was killed in a tragic accident two days after the War ended. Brian had just started his shift on the flight deck, his watch supervisor described the sea conditions as ‘atrocious’, Brian died when he was crushed between a flight deck tractor and the ‘island’ superstructure. Despite valiant life saving efforts Brian died later in the ship’s sick bay.

Twenty-five years later a television documentary aired bringing Brian’s diary entries to life. After he died Brian was buried at sea in Naval tradition which may be expected but nevertheless leaves families with no grave to visit, no real goodbyes. His diaries were returned to his mother Joan.

Brian’s brother Gary served in the Royal Marines and his younger brother David followed him into the Navy. Brian’s nickname was Budgie.

We thank you for your service!

© Jay Morgan Hyrons

NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story please contact the author…

Falklands 35 ~ John Stuart Woodhead DSC

C021908A Lieutenant Commander John Stuart Woodhead DSC HMS Sheffield 7 October 1941 ~ 4 May 1982 Age 40

John Stuart Woodhead was born in Nottingham on 7 October 1941, the son of Stuart Woodhead and Kathleen Ford. Stuart and Kathleen married at Bolsover Methodist Church, Chesterfield in 1939, the same church where Stuart’s older brother had married three years previously. The Woodhead family had roots in Derbyshire going back a couple of generations.

John Woodhead was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire in 1850, he married Mary Renshaw in Chesterfield in 1875. Their oldest son Moses Woodhead was John’s grandfather born in Chesterfield in 1881. Moses was named after his maternal grandfather, he married Jessie Studley at Cross Church, Holywell in 1907. Stuart Leslie Woodhead was born on 11 July 1913 the younger son of Moses and Jessie. John’s father Stuart was born just before WW1 erupted; his mother Jessie died in 1938 the year before the world saw another World War commence.

By 1939 widowed Moses was living in Bolsover, his sons now married and living close by. John Stuart Woodhead was Stuart and Kathleen’s only son, sadly Kathleen died in 1946, just 34 years old and little John was only five at the time. Moses died on 25 March 1958 at Scarsdale Hospital.

A young John excelled at sport and became the Nottingham Pole Vault champion. Starting out at St Vincent, John soon found himself in the Fleet Air Arm as a junior radio mechanic. He served on HMS Albion and then at RNAS Culdrose. John transferred to the Royal Navy in 1961 and the following year he married Anne in Cornwall.  The couple had two daughters Denise and Linda born in 1963 and 1966.

Various courses followed as John combined family life with his Naval career, in 1980 John joined HMS Sheffield, 1981 promotion saw him a WEO. When the Falkland Islands were invaded on 2 April 1982, War was to touch the Woodhead family in the saddest of ways. By then John was a Lieutenant Commander aboard HMS Sheffield. Two days after the sinking of the Belgrano the Argentine Forces struck back. HMS Sheffield was struck by an Exocet missile, by sheer luck though the ship was hit the warhead failed to explode otherwise many more lives would have been lost.

Fire had started aboard the ship however which spread rapidly. Unfortunately, as the ship lost her fire-fighting systems and power those on board were left with the old-fashioned system of buckets of water to fight the fierce flames. The ship’s Lynx started with evacuations aided by other ships. In the computer room sat John Woodhead, the lead of a six-man team, their job was to try to get the ships weapons systems back online and restore power. Sadly, their efforts though valiant meant they became cut off from an escape route. All six were overcome by smoke and fumes causing them to lose their lives.

During the attack 20 men died, 24 men were injured, 242 men escaped without injury. Though it was a bad day at the office it could have been so much worse.

For his valiant efforts that day John was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross his citation reads: –

MONDAY, 11th OCTOBER 1982

The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the Posthumous award of the Distinguished Service Cross to the undermentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during operations in the South Atlantic:

Lieutenant Commander John Stuart WOODHEAD, Royal Navy

On 4th May 1982, HMS SHEFFIELD was hit amidships by an Exocet missile launched from an Argentine aircraft and sustained major damage and casualties. Fire and thick acrid smoke spread throughout the centre of the ship. After 4½ hours extensive effort, with fire approaching the forward missile and gun magazines the order was given to abandon ship.

At the time of the missile impact Lieutenant Commander Woodhead directed damage control action near the Operations Room. He then went below to the Computer Room and with the Computer Room crew began to assess the damage to his weapon systems. Smoke caused the Operations Room above and then the forward sections of the ship to be evacuated but Lieutenant Commander Woodhead continued at his post and carefully and with extreme determination co-ordinated attempts to restore power to essential weapon equipment and succeeded in restoring the computer facility. By his exceptional qualities of leadership, dedication to duty and courage he inspired the Computer Room crew to follow his brilliant example. Later, overcome by smoke, Lieutenant Commander Woodhead and his team died at their posts. His praiseworthy actions were in the highest traditions of the Service.

John’s father Stuart died just a year after him in 1983. His children inspired by their father grew up to achieve their own aspirations. John remains missed by many who knew him, a man of substance who loved the Ocean. He died as he lived with bravery and honour. John is remembered on all the usual Falklands memorials, he also is remembered on a plaque at St Edmund’s Church, Lychgate Green, Stubbington, Fareham, Hampshire. The plaque reads ‘IN LOVING MEMORY OF BOB FAGAN, MIKE TILL, BRIAN WELLSTEAD, JOHN WOODHEAD WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES SERVING THEIR COUNTRY ON BOARD HMS SHEFFIELD OFF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS 4TH MAY 1982.’

We thank you for your service!

© Jay Morgan Hyrons

NB Each blog text is copyrighted. Each blog is individually researched and written by the author, unless otherwise stated as personal quotes. Every care is taken to ensure that the information in each blog is accurate though occasionally public records are incorrect. If you have any further information or would like to add to this story please contact the author…