THE widow of the navy commander in charge of the operation to reclaim the Falkland Islands has died.
Lady Margaret Fieldhouse, of Ryde Place, in Gosport, remained a prominent civic figure in the town after the death of her husband in 1992.
In 1953, Margaret ‘Midge’ Fieldhouse married the man who would later become Admiral of the Fleet and the First Sea Lord.
As Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse commanded Operation Corporate – the 1982 mission to recover the Falkland Islands – at the navy’s nerve centre in Northwood, London.
He worked closely with Baroness Margaret Thatcher, who was prime minister at the time. During the conflict, Lady Fieldhouse became a firm friend of Baroness Thatcher who regularly ate with them at Northwood.
Speaking to The News in 1997, on the 15th anniversary of the Falklands War, Lady Fieldhouse said the conflict was ‘an on-going nightmare.’
When the Falklands were recaptured, Lady Fieldhouse, a former wren officer at HMS Daedalus, visited the sick and wounded in hospital.
Speaking of the dark humour that kept the war wounded in good spirits, she said: ‘One of them had lost his right leg and I said, “Oh, that’s awful”, and he said, “Yes, it had my very expensive tattoo on it”.’
During this time, Lady Fieldhouse also took on an unofficial role comforting servicemen’s wives.
‘We had to make sure when people lost their husbands they didn’t get newspaper people on their door,’ she said.
‘We tried to send somebody there before the press heard but it was very difficult.’
Meanwhile, she also headed several charities and entertained the military’s top brass.
Her husband was made Lord Fieldhouse of Gosport in 1990. He died two years later, aged 64, after a major heart operation.
After his death, Lady Fieldhouse continued working to support naval charities and became a patron of a number of associations including the Submarine Dreadnought Association and HMS Trafalgar Association.
She championed several local charities and causes, including the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service and the Gosport Sea Cadets.
Gosport councillor Peter Edgar, who shared many civic events with her, said: ‘She was a tremendous character. She continued to be heavily involved in the civic side of Gosport life. She was somebody who really supported local causes. We have lost a great local character who was a great credit to Gosport.’
She is survived by a son, Mark, and two daughters, Amanda and Sarah.
n Lady Margaret Fieldhouse. Born on May 22, 1927, died March 5, 2011.