SAS hero involved in Iranian Embassy siege backs Portsmouth's bid to honour Falklands heroes
A SPECIAL forces hero, who was part of the SAS team that stormed London’s Iranian Embassy after it was taken over by terrorists, has championed Portsmouth’s effort to honour all the fallen heroes of the Falklands War.
Rusty Firmin has thrown his weight behind a campaign to finally add the names of 128 soldiers, airmen and civilians killed during the bloody 74-day battle to the city’s Falklands memorial.
The £10,000 drive has been launched by Royal Navy veteran and Falklands survivor Barrie Jones and comes ahead of the 40th anniversary of the conflict next year.
Currently, the city’s tribute in Old Portsmouth only honours those killed as part of the maritime effort to liberate the British territory from the Argentinean invaders.
Rusty, who served for 15 years in the special forces, was with B Squadron, 22 SAS, when the Falklands was invaded in 1982.
The veteran trooper and his team had been charged with training for a secretive mainland assault of Argentinian airfields, to destroy key military leaders, missiles and jets – an attack which never materialised.
The conflict is one that saw the SAS suffer one of its largest single losses of life in its history, when a Sea King helicopter carrying special forces troopers crashed, killing 20 people.
Speaking to The News, Rusty said: ‘I was out there with a lot of the guys who died, especially the lads who died in the helicopter crash.
‘So I’m really happy with what's happening in Portsmouth. This is a memorial. This is what it is about.
‘I don’t see any reason to not mark this. There’s not enough being done for veterans anyway.
‘It’s the 40th anniversary. I don’t see any reason at all to say I wouldn’t back this.’
Rusty was part of the famed operation, captured live on TV, to free hostages from the Iranian Embassy, which was taken over by terrorists on April 30, 1980.
The Ex-SAS Sergeant was the Blue Team backdoor assault team leader and charged into the building, shooting a grenade-wielding terrorist dead, helping to end the six-day siege.
Then, two years later, he was deployed to Ascension Island to begin training for a full-frontal assault of Argentinian airfields as part of the Falklands conflict.
He said: ‘It was decided we would attack the mainland and try to get rid of the Exocet missiles that were left and kill the pilots. We would then escape to Chile.
‘That was shelved and we then ended up relieving some of the guys who survived the helicopter crash.’
He added: ‘I'm sure I wouldn’t be sitting here today talking about it if I had attacked the mainland.’
Portsmouth City Council is supporting the new Falklands memorial bid.
The additional names will be inscribed on a new plaque that will be installed next to the current memorial.
It’s hoped the new tribute will be fixed in place before June 2022.