RFA Sir Galahad Association

Posted: 11 Jun 2007 18:59 Post subject: RFA Sir Galahad


I just thought that I would let you all know of my experience concerning trying to join the RFA Sir Galahad Association, which is run by the old ships Captain, Philip Roberts. First I will give you a little background.

Back in 82 I was a young 17 year old Royal Marine, who was selected to be part of the RM detachment for the Sir Galahad. I had passed out of Commando Training Centre RM on the 19th March 1982, so was "Fresh out of the box"

We joined the ship at Ascension Island around the 17th April and quickly settled into the ships routine of watch keeping, air defence, anti diver actions etc etc and any other duties that could be thought of for us.

After the initial landings we were bombed in San Carlos water and ended up with an unexploded bomb punching through the side of the ship and coming to rest in one of the mess decks on the port side. The ship was evacuated (to the Fort Austin?) and after soak period of a few hours to see if the bomb went off voulenteers were sought from the RM detachment to reboard the Sir Galahad and assist the EOD team whilst they defussed it. To cut a long story short I ended up physically carrying the UXB, along with a couple of other Booties and EOD guys, along the Tank Deck of the ship where we placed the bomb in a half inflated Gemini. The Gemini was then floated off the loading ramp, taken well away from other ships and then sunk.

Repairs were made, and the ship declared operation again.

I was onboard, below decks on the 8th June when we were hit whilst anchored in Bluff Cove. I won't go into details.

After Bluff Cove I was re equiped and sent ashore. I have little memory of this period.

I ended up serving for 9 years in the RM and left the Corps in 1990. In 1997 I was injured at work and was required to see an Occupational Therapist. By the end of my first visit I was diagnosed with PTSD relating to the Falklands and bombing of the RFA Sir Galahad! Up until then I had never considered that I had any problems, even though I had never had a full nights sleep since 1982, constantly remembered specific events, became tearful from no real reason, couldn't watch or listen to anything relating to the Falklands War etc etc. You see I thought that this was just "My lot in life" and didn't think that it affected my work or home life.

Anyway....enough dripping.

A couple of months ago I was surfing the net when I came across the details of one of the Sir Galahads old ships officers (first name Alistair). His e mail address was published, so I dropped him a line asking if anyone ever got together to commemorate those lost onboard the Sir Galahad and the ship its self. He replied and gave me details of the RFA Sir Galahad Association, which is run by Philip Roberts the old ships Captain.

In due course I e mailled Roberts and gave him my details and awaited a reply. No reply ever came.

I recontacted Alistair to check I had the correct e mail address, only for him to inform me that it was Officers only and those deemed worthy of belonging to the association. In fact Alistair had been so angry at this that he resigned from the association, something which I discouraged him from doing and which I think is a great shame.

Come 25 years tomorrow I can say with my hand on my heart that not one day has gone by without me thinking back to that fateful day. It has imprinted itself on my very being and I will live with the events for the rest of my life, as I am sure others will.

I am deeply afronted that as I was "only" an Other Rank on the day we were hit I, along with others, am deemed unworthy of joing an association which should be open to all who were onboard that day. In short the whole dismissive attitude just makes me bloody angry!

People sometimes forget that Simon Weston wasn't the only person onboard the Sir Galahad 25 years ago and, in my opinion, EVERYONE who was onboard when we were hit was wounded. Maybe not physically but definately mentally.

Anyway rant over. I will not be participating in any of the planned 25th aniversary events for my own personal reasons. However I would have attended an RFA Sir Galahad dinner, as it may have helped me lay some ghosts to rest by speaking to others who were onboard that day.

Jim4244....I am very suprised that no one has answered you on this a very moving post. Can I just say that I understand you points well..I'm not very good at explaining things and having served in the Falklsnds conflict myself those many years ago, understand you feelings completely.
I met Simon myself not long after the surrender and God forbid his injuries were horrific, but as you say, there were others that suffered/died too. Not wanting the wrath brought down on me, i feel that others are being fogotten, but Simon was "used" to indentify the horrors of war as an individual.

I hope you can lay your demons to rest mate, and don't worry if you're not included in with the "higher ups" for any reunion. You were there and done your "job"...I salute you!!


Lantern Swinger
we had some of the casualties of the Galahad on Hecla and to say the least it was a humbling experience. Hardened sailors literally crying at the sights, it will never leave me
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