Marines handed flag carried in Falklands

30/5/2012 (MP)''Royal Marines from Yankee Company 45 Commando collected the Yankee Company flag from the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney on Wednesday, that George Mechen carried during the Falklands campaign in 1982. The Royal Marines are travelling to their base in Arbroath with the flag for reunion.''Pictured is: Royal Marines from Yankee Company 45 Commando with (front left) Lieutenant Simon Ward and (front right) Sergeant Mick Slunker with the Yankee Company flag inside the Royal Marines Museum.''Picture: Sarah Standing (121879-6604)
30/5/2012 (MP)''Royal Marines from Yankee Company 45 Commando collected the Yankee Company flag from the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney on Wednesday, that George Mechen carried during the Falklands campaign in 1982. The Royal Marines are travelling to their base in Arbroath with the flag for reunion.''Pictured is: Royal Marines from Yankee Company 45 Commando with (front left) Lieutenant Simon Ward and (front right) Sergeant Mick Slunker with the Yankee Company flag inside the Royal Marines Museum.''Picture: Sarah Standing (121879-6604)
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IT was carried for hundreds of miles as Royal Marines yomped towards victory in the Falkland Islands in 1982.

Now a home-made flag belonging to Yankee Company of 45 Commando has been reunited with its unit in Portsmouth ahead of an event to commemorate 30 years since the end of the war.

In 1983, the flag was put into storage in the vast archives of the Royal Marines Museum at Eastney seafront

Yesterday, serving marines from Yankee Company 45 Commando travelled down from their base in Arbroath, Scotland, to pay a visit to the museum and borrow the flag.

They will take it back north of the border to reunite it with Falklands veterans who served in the unit in 1982.

Major Dan Caldwell said: ‘During the Falklands, Yankee Company’s Sergeant Major carried the flag throughout the conflict. It was a symbol the company bonded around.

‘It’s hugely important to the company symbolically and very personal for Yankee Company veterans.

‘When they lost one of their men during one of the actions, the sowed a star on the flag to remember him by.’

The flag was made by the wife of Sgt Major George Mechen, of Arbroath, who carried it with him during the Falklands campaign.

He donated it to the Royal Marines Museum in 1983 and will be among those Falklands veterans who will be reunited with the flag next month.

Royal Marines Museum curator Ian Maine said: ‘The request for the flag came from the unit and we were only to happy to oblige.

‘It’s always good to host Royal Marines here. It’s the best part of my job.

‘It’s nice to reunite the unit with their flag and it’s been great to find out a bit more about it from them.

‘For instance, before today I had no idea the blue star was sewn on in memory of one of their number who died.

‘In war, flags play a huge role. They are laden with meaning and are fascinating.’

In exchange for borrowing the flag, Yankee Company commandos donated mementos from their tour of duty in Afghanistan last summer to the museum.

Mr Maine said: ‘We’re very grateful. We’re going to have a good sift through all the photos and items they have given us and see how we can add to our exhibitions here.’