Falklands veteran had concerns politicians in the UK would not hold their nerve during the conflict

A FALKLANDS veteran revealed he was concerned politicians in the UK would not hold their nerve during the conflict.

By Steve Deeks
Sunday, 19th June 2022, 8:34 pm

Havant veteran Philip Barber, 69, flight commander of HMS Arrow, a ship that rescued most of the surviving crew from HMS Sheffield, said he was ‘not surprised at the losses’ during the war but felt uncertainty from the government.

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Speaking at the 40th anniversary during a parade in Havant town centre, he said: ‘We did not really know what we were going into. But I was always concerned the politicians would lose their nerve with the casualties we started suffering.

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The Falklands 40 parade through Havant. Picture: Mike Cooter (090622)

‘There were a few attacks by the Argentinians on (HMS Arrow) but they missed. It all happened very quickly and was over quickly - too fast to think about the consequences.

‘We were able to let loose on the Argentinians who wouldn’t have liked it very much.’

Fortunately, the government stood firm and despite the losses, the conflict was deemed a success with the island liberated.

After the ceasefire HMS Arrow was the first ship to sail home. ‘There was a great deal of elation that we had got the job done and were going home to see our families. The Red Arrows did a flyover,’ Philip said.

The wreath laying service outside St Faith's Church in Havant. Picture: Mike Cooter (090622)

‘It was surreal to get home and watch on television what you had been involved in.’

Philip said there were challenges with finding out what was going on during the conflict. ‘We used to listen to BBC World Service, which was the best source of information for us,’ he said.

Speaking of the anniversary, he added: ‘It is a great celebration. We all still keep close company.’