Looking Back: In 2016 I made a short visit back to The Falkland Islands. After a 20 hour return flight we touched down at RAF Brize Norton, welcomed by heavy rain and an enquiry as if to I had “anything to declare?” Simply shaking my head, I proceeded through the Customs Check. I had brought nothing back but my thoughts, the experience, and a whole bagful of mixed emotions. Much of those thoughts are personal; I need time to unpack them and sort out what is for public sharing and what is for carefully folding and putting away. Similarly, some of the experiences are private – since they involved shared time with the 1982 War Veterans who made the journey with me. Together we had visited, re-visited, little known places that had become everyday news in 1982; Goose Green, San Carlos, Ajax Bay, Two Sisters, Tumbledown, Mount Harriet, Mount Longdon,Buff Cove, and ‘Bomb Alley’ (*Falkland Sound). Each place having its story, each place having a cairn and cross that spoke of those who had died there. The scars of battle can still be found. We talked a lot. We had kept silent a lot. Together we laughed a lot...... laughter can be a good disguise for tears.
As Chaplain it was my privilege to lay no less than 7 wreaths during our stay. That included laying one on an unnamed grave marked, ‘A soldier of Argentina. Known unto God’. We laid that wreath with the same quiet dignity and respect as those we laid on the graves of British combatants.
The most moving privilege was that of being able to visit Pebble Island, the nearest landfall to the final resting place of D118 HMS Coventry. I am most grateful to British International Helicopter