Sqdn Ldr Jeffrey ‘Jeff’ Glover was based at RAF Wittering when the Argentinians invaded the Falklands on 2 April 1982.
Jeff of 1 Sqn RAF and was the pilot of a harrier, a Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 when he was hit by a Blowpipe SAM over Port Howard, West Falklands while on reconnaissance mission from the carrier HMS Hermes on 21 May 1982. Jeff ejected safely but his harrier was written off, damaged beyond repair. Jeff was the only British Serviceman to be held captive during the War during which time he spent 12 days out of the 7 weeks he was a prisoner in solitary confinement.
He said ”The treatment I got varied. In the Falklands it was very good, which may have been partly sympathy because the right-hand side of my face was twice the size of the left and I had the most beautiful black eye.” You can see that black eye in the photo of him with an Argentine medic. He was dragged from the sea at gunpoint and later taken to the mainland of Argentina.
Jeff described the incident “The plane must have rolled very rapidly to the right, almost through 360 degrees. I looked down, saw my right hand and pulled the ejection seat handle. At that point I blacked out and was unconscious . . . I had effectively jumped out in a 600 mph wind up in the free air stream with my left arm still out. “It flailed backwards and pretty well broke my arm, my left shoulder-blade in two places and my collarbone. My face was badly bruised through wind-blast and possibly the speed at which I had hit the water.”
Jeff found himself close to drowning in the icy sea but managed to swim to the surface. Luckily he was taken aboard a rowing boat by Argentinian soldiers at rifle point. Jeff was later taken to the mainland of Argentina. He says of that time ….
“Someone who has just ejected and is in stress, maybe injured, is probably an ideal candidate to interrogate, but fortunately that didn’t happen. Medically, they did a reasonable job on me. There was certainly no aggro. When I was in the officers’ mess I was visited by 10 or 12 Argentine pilots who came in to say hello and ask me how I was feeling. One chap gave me a bottle of wine. Another said he would shake me by the hand because I was a pilot, but he didn’t agree with what I was doing. I said ‘fair enough’ and that was it.”
After about 5 weeks Jeff was flown to Buenos Aires, where he spent another four or five days in hospital before his plaster cast was removed.Then he was flown to Montevideo where he was met by the military attach and driven to the ambassador’s residence.
Three years after the War and after making a remarkable recovery from his wounds, Jeff was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air. In 1988 Jeff joined the Red Arrows and later served with NATO on operations in the former Yugoslavia before retiring in 1996. He then went on to become a Civilian Flying Instructor.
We thank you for your service Jeff!