Friday, 15 June 2012

15 June 1982, It is over now but was it worth it?

No flying.

This is the day we realised it was probably really over even though we didn't fully relax for several weeks.  I have decided to stop following my log book on a daily basis as most of our flying became pretty routine from now on.  However I will blog some significant things as they happened.
But today I want to give my version to the question of whether it was really worth it.  And in one sense of course the answer to that has to be no. And that is for the simple reason that no loss of life should be accepted.  Blame can be given to many people.  The British for being bloody stupid in withdrawing our Ice Patrol Ship and ignoring the intelligence coming out of Argentina. Short term political bad judgement always seems to be followed by servicemen losing their lives.  One only has to look at the current government; cutting the Army, getting rid of the Harriers etc, to see the possibility of the same thing happening all over again.  And then there was the Argentinian government for thinking they could use peoples lives as a tool for shoring up their shoddy Junta.
However below is a photograph I took as we flew into Stanley for the first time.  What it can't show is Bob's and my reaction to seeing it.  It was along the lines of 'bloody hell is that it, what was the fuss all about?'  The 'town' is tiny and if you fly around the islands it's like being on Dartmoor except with less trees and ten times the size.

Port Stanley on a sunny day with the various mountains behind where so many lost their lives. The town is actually a large village.

However some days later we visited Pebble Island which is a tiny community albeit with a small grass airfield which I'll mention in another article for a different reason.  We landed on the village green and I stayed in the aircraft with one engine running (just to be sure we could start up later).   Bob went off to talk to some of the villagers.  Meanwhile a little boy of about ten came to look at the helicopter.  I sat him in the cockpit and like any kid he wanted to know all about it.  However we then had the following conversation:

Me:  'So what was it like for the last few weeks?'
Boy:  'Well some nasty men came and locked us in our village hall and wouldn't let us out.  Why did they do that?'
That actually brought a lump into my throat.

Sorry to any Argentinians reading this (and I know some of you are).  But ALL of the people who live on the Falklands DO NOT WANT TO BE ARGENTINIAN.  How simple can it be for God's sake?  Yet your President is still making noises in the UN about it as I write this thirty years on.  It was at that point that I decided that we did the right thing.  Stuff the politicians of both sides and yes the many deaths were awful but we did the right thing.

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