Falklands 40: Distinguished veterans of the conflict bring laughs - and poignancy - to Royal Naval Association event

AS MORE than hundred guests gathered at a special event to commemorate the Falklands War, decorated veterans said it was British force ‘professionalism’ that secured victory – and galvanized long-lasting respect for the armed forces.

Saturday, 18th June 2022, 6:57 pm
Updated Sunday, 19th June 2022, 8:43 am

The crowd attended the Royal Naval Association event within naval base HMS Nelson as part of the commemorations for the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War.

Guest speakers included former First Sea Lord and former captain of sunk frigate HMS Ardent, as well as a Royal Marines commander Ian Gardiner, and merchant navy ship SS Atlantic Conveyor’s chief medical officer, Dr Gordon Brooks.

All of the distinguished veterans agreed that it was British professionalism across every part of the armed services that secured victory.

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The Royal Naval Association event to commemorate the Falklands War.

Ian Gardiner, commander of X Ray company during the Battle of Two Sisters, said an attitude of ‘fortune favours the brave and ‘who dares wins’ was ‘completely’ misplaced.

He said: ‘Fortune favours the well-led, well-motivated, well-trained, well-equipped.

‘Fortune favours the professional and the professional talks about logistics.’

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Dr Brooks hoped that more attention would be given to the ‘technical miracles’ performed to send more than 100 ships and thousands of personnel more than 8,000 miles to secure the Falkland Islands.

He said: ‘Interviews of people labelled survivors (asked) “how close were you to the missile strike? What was your worst moment?”. Nothing is asked about the technical miracles performed along the way.’

Lord West said more pride should be taken from the fact the UK was one of ‘only two nations’ that had the aircraft carrier capability to reclaim the islands.

He said: ‘If the Americans had done it there wouldn’t have been any Falkland Islands left.’

He added: ‘There was a huge support for the military after (the conflict) and that has carried on through.’

Dave Ives, a medic at Haslar Royal Hospital at the time of the conflict, said the commemoration event had been a useful way to understand what many veterans were still coming to terms with to this day.

He said: ‘We were working on the wards when people came back – the burns stick in your mind.

‘We all know people who were there and still with live with – knowing what they experienced and went through is really powerful.’