I had taken early Easter Leave plus some Re-engaging Leave from HMS Brilliant when the Falkland Islands were invaded. The ship was exercising off Gibraltar and I was enjoying my time off, I had just started to decorate my sons bedroom whilst he was away on a school skiing holiday.
The BBC News had just announced that Argentina had invaded the Islands and I like many other people was trying to work out where they were. I also managed to convince Carol (and myself ) that there was no way I would be recalled as Tug Wilson was onboard in my place hence the reason for taking early leave. I thought I would end up in Drake as a general dogsbody. How wrong could I be
Tug had just been promoted to PO and the boss what him to gain some experience onboard as a senior rate, I bet he wished he had left the ship on his promotion!
I returned home after a visit to my in-laws, to find a note from the Regulating Department HMS Drake requesting my presence at the Reg Office ASAP.(or words to that effect). As I walked into said Reg office I was greeted by an RPO with words “you can bloody well shave that off for starters they will be using gas down there” ” That’s very comforting to know” was my reply. After that encounter everything went at full speed, I was told I would be flying out from RAF Lyneham to the Ascension Islands to rejoin Brilliant. There was some other lads off the ship who were home for various reasons and we would all be travelling up by train on the 10th April. Pony Moore was the one person I can remember vividly from the time we got on the train to the time we arrived at Asscension.(He couldn’t wait to get down there and kick some Argie arse!!!!) ( I think kick was the word he used???)
The 10th of April was my Wedding Anniversary and to say it was one of the worse days of my life would be a major understatement. As I climbed out of the taxi at Plymouth Railway Station, I hugged Carol and tried so hard not to breakdown in front of her, we(like so many others) did not know if we would ever see each other again. I turned around and just kept walking without looking back, it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
We arrived at RAF Lyneham late that evening and made our way to the Movements Office where we told we might be going but then again we might not, we then told to go to the NAAFI and report back in two hours, on our return we were told we would be flying out the next day by Hercules. I had a restless night and was glad to get on the plane, we took off on time and stopped off at Gib, West Africa before touching down on Ascension 19 hours later (not recommended very uncomfortable)