Tributes paid to Falklands war dead

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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WIDOWS of men killed in the Falklands conflict gathered today for a service of remembrance.

On the 30th anniversary of the Argentinian invasion of the islands in which 255 UK servicemen were killed, a single candle was lit in Staffordshire’s National Memorial Arboretum’s Millennium Chapel. It will be left alight for the 74 days until June 14 to mark the length of the conflict.

Margaret Allen, who lost her husband Able Seaman Iain Boldy when he was killed in an Argentinian attack on HMS Argonaut on May 21 1982, was at the service today.

She had been married for just one week when her husband left for the Falklands. His body never came home.

She said: ‘When I was told that Iain was missing presumed dead a part of me didn’t want to believe it.

‘I thought “There were five Iains on that ship, they might have got it wrong”. I couldn’t deal with the loss at all.’

She suffered post traumatic stress disorder from her loss, but it was not diagnosed for many years.

Now, having worked through it, she is part of the education team at the Arboretum, which has enabled her to turn her pain and grief into something positive.

She said: ‘The flower beds have been planted to reflect the different phases of grief. There’s red for anger, purple for despair, pastels for acceptance and yellow for memories.

‘I made myself walk through each stage because I couldn’t do it all those years ago.’

As well as the candle tribute, a memorial by the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA 82) to remember 255 UK servicemen who were killed during the war will be unveiled at the Arboretum on May 20, in front of more than 600 veterans.