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…

Falklands 35 ~ Colin Paul Vickers

D083308A Petty Officer Aircrewman Colin Paul Vickers 31 March 1949 ~ 12 June 1982 Age 33

Many of the Naval men had a few years of service behind them, Colin was one of those men.

Ernest Vickers and Edna Annie Donaldson married in late 1929 in Selby, Yorkshire. Ernest was born on 12 July 1909, the oldest son of Ernest Vickers and Annie Hirst who married in 1904. Ernest had two older sisters and three younger brothers. Edna Annie was born on 9 September 1908 the third child of Hector and Ellen Donaldson. Ernest Vickers Sr was a Watchmaker and Jeweller prior to the start of WW1.

Some members of the family were born in Leeds others in Grimsby but by 1911 they were settled in the Selby area of Yorkshire.

By the start of WW2 Ernest and Edna Annie had four children Norman, Gordon, Anne, and Kathleen. Colin Paul Vickers was their last child born In Selby on 31 March 1949. Two of the brothers went on to marry two sisters. Norman married Joyce Farmery in 1952 and Gordon married Maisie Farmery in 1954. Brothers Gordon and Colin both served in the Royal Navy.

Colin started out his journey with the Royal Navy at HMS Ganges when he was just a lad of 16 years old. By the time the Falkland Islands were invaded on 2 April 1982 Colin had almost 18 years of service behind him. Colin married Patricia Robinson in Selby in 1970.

After HMS Ganges Colin went to HMS Vernon and then on to HMS Minerva. He then did his Underwater/Control Helicopter training and qualified. He last served with his shipmate Buck Ryan on the Ark Royal by which time Colin was 824 NAS.

HMS Glamorgan interestingly was built by the builder Vickers-Armstrong launched on 9 July 1964 the same year that Colin joined the Royal Navy. HMS Glamorgan was delivered to the Royal Navy two years later. When the invasion took place in 1982 HMS Glamorgan was off Gibraltar about to take part in exercises with many other ships. She was immediately sent on divert to join the Task Force, by 1 May she joined HMS Arrow and HMS Alacrity as they sought to bombard the Argentine positions around Stanley.

The first attack on HMS Glamorgan caused minor underwater damage. Two weeks later 14 May 1982 she supported Special Forces during their raid on Pebble Island. She then continued engaging in the bombardment of various positions, in main part to divert attention on the British landings at Post San Carlos due to take place 21 May 1982.

On 11 June 1982 Glamorgan was again called to action by way of support to the Royal Marines fighting the Battle of Two Sisters. The last few days of the War were to be intense.

By now Colin was a Petty Officer Aircrewman on HMS Glamorgan. At 6.37 on 12 June 1982 the ship was attacked with an Exocet missile fired from an improvised shore-based launcher. Despite evasive measures the missile hit the deck, the ship’s Wessex helicopter exploded causing a severe fire in the hangar.  Thirteen men died that day, others wounded. Colin sadly was one of the men who died. They were buried at sea that evening in Royal Naval tradition.

The year after the Falklands War Colin’s widow and his brother Gordon made the pilgrimage to the Falkland Islands.

When Gordon died his ashes were taken ‘Down South’ and scattered at the burial site, brothers who served together were again united in death.

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 ~ Clark Mitchell

24185774 Lance Sergeant Clark Mitchell 2 Scots Guards 17 February 1956 ~ 14 June 1982 Age 26

Clark Mitchell was born on 17 February 1956, he came into the world at Charleston Maternity Home in Montrose, Scotland. His parents Robert and Fan had six children altogether including a set of twin boys.

Clark was brought up in Laurencekirk a small town in Aberdeenshire known as ‘The Lang Toun’ or ‘The Kirk’ by locals. Clark was educated firstly at Laurencekirk Primary School & later the Laurencekirk Secondary School. As a youngster he had joined the Army Cadets. After leaving school Clark joined the British Army aged just 16 in 1972. He began his journey at the Guards Depot, Pirbright in Surrey as a Junior soldier.

In 1975 Clark Mitchell married Theresa Julie Manning on 5 September at St Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church in Glasgow.

Clark was a well thought of young man who had risen through the ranks during his career to Lance Sergeant. His service included Northern Ireland, Belize, Germany, London, Kenya, and Edinburgh. By the time the Falkland Islands were invaded in 1982 Clark was an experienced soldier with the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards.

Apparently, he was a quiet shy man until you got to know him, he was also brave which showed in his actions during the Battle for Mount Tumbledown. The enemy was well dug in on Mount Tumbledown, the mission not an easy one. During the assault he located and killed several snipers who were a danger to the Scots Guards during their assault. He was courageously at the front of the assault. Sadly, Clark was killed on 14 June 1982, one of eight men from his Battalion who perished that night. Clark’s actions earned him a posthumous Mention In Dispatches.

Though Clark’s siblings and their families, mainly live in the same area of Scotland his father Robert never quite got over his death and passed away after a long illness. Remembered with love by his comrades, friends, family and widow his name will always live on.

Clark is buried at Laurencekirk Cemetery, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire.

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 ~ Stewart Peter Frank McLaughlin

24277023 Stewart Peter Frank McLaughlin 3 Para 12 October 1954 ~12 June 1982 Age 27

Stewart Peter Frank McLaughlin was born in Wallasey on 12 October 1954 the eldest son of Edmund McLaughlin and Elizabeth Taylor. The couple went on to have a large family, all boys.

All paratroopers must show courage and steel to pass P Coy, once they have earned the right to wear their Maroon Beret and the wings that they don with pride, a whole world of excitement, a potential career and for sure a ‘Band of Brothers’ opens up in their world. For Stewart he was to go on to become a part of an exclusive club, the ‘Class of 82’.

Stewart was known simply as ‘Scouse’ to his comrades in arms. Scouse was an experienced soldier having served for several years already and attaining the rank of Corporal. 3 Para deployed to Osnabruck the newly formed 5th Field Force in BAOR Germany in the late 70’s. In 1980 they returned to the United Kingdom as part of 8th Field Force. As the ‘Spearhead’ battalion of course they were amongst the first ready to deploy should trouble occur, and it did.

When the Falkland Islands were invaded in April 1982 the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment were based in Tidworth. Stewart McLaughlin and Ruth Lawson had married in Hereford the year before, their son Stewart Kurt McLaughlin was born in 1982 in Wiltshire and unbeknownst to the young couple this tiny baby was never to get to know his father save from the memories shared with him by others. This the fate of so many children born just before or just after the Falklands War.

Stewart deployed ‘Down South’ with his Battalion who left on the Canberra a P & O liner requisitioned when Britain went to War. Carrying Paratroopers and Royal Marines the ‘Great White Whale’ as part of 3 Commando Brigade, travelled the 8000 miles to the Falkland Islands while the men on board kept up their training in readiness for what would face them upon arrival. The 21st of May 1982 was a busy day in San Carlos water as British Troops engaged in the landings.

3 Para tabbed across the East Falkland to Teal Inlet prior to their forward approach to Mount Longdon and the fierce battle that ensued. As a Corporal Scouse was a Section Commander of 5 Platoon, B Coy, 3 Para as the men began the Battle for Mount Longdon. During the next three days it was just pure old-fashioned War as assaults took place on Mount Longdon, Mount Tumbledown, Mount Harriet, Two Sisters and Wireless Ridge. Men literally fixed bayonets as they went into action with the knowledge that all were significant in the pathway to take back Port Stanley.

As a night assault the Battle for Mount Longdon was fierce. Sgt McKay the platoon sergeant of 4 platoon was killed and his section commander injured. Scouse as the platoon commander of 5 platoon did not hesitate. He led his men forward; it is said he uttered the words ‘I’m bulletproof’. The battle was fierce, the battalion were under heavy fire. Having survived the initial assault Scouse was sadly killed by small arms fire.

Scouse is buried in Rake Lane Cemetery, Wallasey, Merseyside. Since his death there has been an ongoing campaign to try and get him recognised with a bravery award. So far, the campaign has been unsuccessful.

Scouse is remembered always by his comrades in 3 Para, he has his own special place on Mount Longdon where those who visit can remember him.

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…