Ready For Anything

A Falklands war veteran who suffers horrific burn injuries learns to cope in the outside world when he is discharged from the 3rd para unit.

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Walking up the gang plank of the SS Canberra carrying his kitbag over his shoulder Tony Parker was going to war; he kissed his mother and wife and embraced his father before he set off on a journey to a place he’d never even heard of to do his duty as a soldier for Queen and country. The crowds of people waving flags came to see them off.

 Other soldier’s wives, mothers, fathers, and children lined the dockside as the soldiers embarked on a journey that would take them over 8.000 miles across the South Atlantic to the little known Falkland Islands. The people on the islands wanted to be recognised as British subjects because many of them were ex pats. On the 2nd of April 1982 the Argentine government decided to invade what they claimed to be called Guerra de Las Malvinas. Argentina in 1981 was suffering one of their worst economic crises in their history. It was when a group of salvage workers and a small group of soldiers raised the Argentinean flag that the conflict between the two countries began. The British Defence Secretary John Nott informed the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the threat by the Argentinean government who claimed Britain could not defend the Islands. John Nott advised that the HMS Endurance be moved closer to the islands as our only naval presence at that time. Margaret Thatcher dominated the war cabinet and called for immediate action to be taken. The Ara Santisima Trinidad had already sent an amphibious squad of Special Forces on the 19th of March. The resistance from Sir Rex Hunt and the 67 marines based at Moody Brook barracks tried to defend against the assault but in the end surrendered to Commander Guellermo Sanchez Sabarots and Hugo Santillan at Government House at Stanley the Islands Capital.

So began “Operation Cooperate” to take back the Islands.

 

Tony stood against the handrail waving until the dock was out of sight then all the men found their units and were assigned below decks.

Commander Christopher Burne led the operation to the Falklands.

He was taking orders from Admiral Henry Leach who was in direct contact with The Prime Minister. Ronald Regan the US president said that he would help both nations and hope that the conflict could be resolved soon. He made the assault ship USS Iwo Jima available to us and the New Zealand Prime Minister Rob Muldoon sent the HMNZS Canterbury to help us out. In total there were 127 ships. Other forces joined from Gibraltar. We were well equipped with Chinook and Sea King helicopters 28 Harrier’s and 14 Harrier GR3 aircraft. 122 Jet fighters, Vulcan bombers, (refuelling aircraft) and two phantom Jets to protect them. It took over a month to reach the Falkland Islands and the men were getting restless. A special force was sent out to recapture South Georgia. On 21st of May Major Guy Sheridan of the 42 Commando SAS Units set off to retake South Georgia but they were withdrawn when two Chinook helicopters crashed killing over 20 men. It was the largest group of men to die in one action in the SAS. The reality of war was kicking in and Tony Parker felt like the rest of the men. He just wanted to get off the ship and do the job he was paid for.

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