25 Years On
On the 17th June 2007 I attended the 25th Anniversary Event of the Falklands Conflict at Horseguard Parade London.
There were 60 personnel from HMS Brilliant attending and we formed our own platoon.
It was an emotionally event affecting me more than I thought it would, maybe it was because I was with a lot of the lads from the ship I don’t know but I was so pleased that I went.
I travelled up to London with my Brother-in -law Junior Allen. (My wife Carol has still not come to terms with the Conflict and found it difficult to accept the situation).
We stayed in a four star hotel just around the corner from the Civil Service Club the venue for all to meet up, the first people we met were Ginge Offord, Graham Land, John (Scouse) Dixon, Cappie and Jed Stone, hadn’t seen Jed in 25 years. Junior was a little concerned that he would be left out of the activities as he was not one of the “lads”, as it turned out he was accepted as one of the Boys and was made an honouree member of the Brilliant, he was made up with that.
As the evening progressed, more and more of the lads turned up and the talk inevitably turned to the events of yesteryear before returning to the present. A good night was had by all.
Rising early on Sunday we found a café and ordered breakfast before taking a walk round the area of Whitehall and Horseguard Parade where the Event was taking place. We then had a walk round the London Eye, Houses of Parliament etc.etc.
At around 1200 hrs we mustered in the Civil Service Club and prepared for the March, it was surprising how many more of the ‘Boys’ appeared at this meeting and by this time there must have been at least 50 of us, Captain John being one of them.
At approximately 1345 the guests started to make their way their entry point and those of us marching made our way to our forming up point.
By 1445 were formed up and as I said we were 60 strong and one of the biggest groups there, if you were not “A Brilliant” you had no chance of joining this platoon.
When the Royal Marine Band began to play the hairs on the back of my neck stood up (as they always did when ever I marched to a Band throughout my time in the RN) and my chest filled with pride as I took the first step toward Horseguard Parade. I find it difficult to put into words the feelings / emotions I was experiencing at this time, but Very Proud to be part of such a Historic Event would be an understatement.
Once we were stood at ease on Horseguard and the proceedings were under way I found it difficult to keep my emotions in check as I watched the bombing of the ships in San Carlos. I had watched many News Clips /Programs over the years of these same pictures and it never affected me anywhere near as much as it did on this occasion, as I said maybe it was because there was so many others there that had been through the same thing and survived and knowing we were the lucky ones when so many never made it home. Whatever the reasons I am not ashamed to say that I had Tears. As did so many of the others.
On completion of the Ceremony on Horseguard, we then marched down the Mall an experience I will never ever forget, all the feelings, thoughts, emotions you could ever have were there, I thought my chest would burst with Pride.
To be cheered and applauded by thousands of people who had taken the time to come and witness the Event and pay tribute to the ones who did not return and to US the ones who did survive was Magical and yet Humbling.
To be part of such an occasion was indeed a Privilege and an Honour and will remain with me for the rest of my life.
The day did not end there for both Junior and I had an invite to the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA) Reception.
We were hoping to meet HRH the Prince of Wales or some of the other VIPs which included HRH Prince Andrew, Prince Michael of Kent, Tony Blair, Maggie Thatcher but unfortunately there was a big demand on their time and we only managed to meet Prince Andrew and that was only because Landy and Scouse Dixon jumped the queue and basically kidnapped him.
It was disappointing to say the least but you can’t win them all, the way I look at it we were there, many of the boys and their guests did not get the opportunity.
All in All a very Emotional and Proud Day.
Steve Tinney (Taff)
Andy Laddams Reg Briers Chris
Graeme Land Scouse Dixon and Steve. Prince Andrew kidnapped