‘Screaming and gunfire rang out’

FEAR Dave Colville
FEAR Dave Colville
An exercise involving Hampshire emergency services has been held on board HMS Queen Elizabeth at HMNB Portsmouth.  Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, Hampshire Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and Portsmouth Naval Bases Emergency Response Team (ERT) were put through their paces on board the Royal Navys brand new aircraft carrier.  The ship put together a realistic harbour fire exercise with training smoke and mock casualties to test their agencies in their response and in working together to combat an emergency on an extremely unfamiliar environment.

IN PICTURES: The first major emergency training exercise on HMS Queen Elizabeth

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PEOPLE living in Port Stanley were ordered to stay inside during the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands in April 1982.

Dave Colville, 58, of Southsea, was living at Port Stanley after moving to the islands in 1977 to work on a sheep farm in West Falkland.

Recalling the moment Falklands governor Rex Hunt broke the terrifying invasion news on local radio, he said: ‘We sat in stunned silence after the broadcast.

‘We were told to stay indoors. The only people allowed on the streets of Stanley were the small band of volunteers who made up the Falkland Islands Defence Force, and the detachment of Royal Marines who were stationed at Moody Brook barracks at the far end of town.’

Mr Colville recalled staying up all night, before he heard gunfire ring out at dawn and went upstairs to peek out of the window.

He said: ‘I was worried because most of the houses were wooden and bullets would zip straight through them. Then I got the fright of my life as a line of bullets bounced off the cathedral roof right by us. We hastily closed the window and ran downstairs. From the front window we could see tracer shells arcing from somewhere in the harbour.

‘Shouting, screaming and the sound of machine gunfire rang out – it was clear the Royal Marines were having a hell of a battle at Government House.’

The fighting ended with the surrender of the marines. Three weeks later, Mr Colville was ordered to leave the islands by the invaders.