The Falklands War.


Book Reviewer

The attack on SIR GALAHAD had been hurredly put together by the Argentine airforce. They had sent 14 aircraft up from Argentina, but various technical and fuelling problems the force was reduced to 10. As mentioned yesterday two waves of aircraft hit Sir TRISTRAM and SIR GALAHAD. Five daggers ran North up the Western side of Falkland Sound, prior to making a right turn towards Port Pleasant. However, as they made their adjustment they suddenly saw PLYMOUTH steaming out of Carlos Water. They decided to attack the warship.
David Pentreath (c/o) ordered her hard to port and got a seacat away which damaged one of the Daggers, and they blasted the raiders with 20mm cannon fire and machine guns, but here was no way of stopping all five.
Four 1000lb bombs hit PLYMOUTH, not one going off, thought the last blew up a depth charge being prepped for the Helo, which started a major fire.
The daggers made off, persued by a couple of Harriers. They left behind five men injured and a frigate smoking spectacularly, but not by any means fatally damaged. It was, of course, PLYMOUTHs last battle. As Captain Coward said later...
"She was always going to cop it. She did not really have the right kit to fight this kind of battle.But I wil never forget her in San Carlos when we were under such serious attack - she just steamed around and around the other ships in a gesture to the Args of total defiance"
In total the land forces lost 50 men killed or missing, 47 wounded, most of them badly burnt - of these 39 of the dead and 28 wounded were Welsh Guards. The Royal Navy lost 7 dead and 11 wounded.
There was much Gallantry during the day, in particular 2nd Engineering officer Paul Henry who handed over the only breathing apparatus in the burning engine room of GALAHAD to enable a Junior Officer to escape. hE EARNED A POSTHUMOUS GM for this action.
The 9th passed fairly quietly. I spoke via phone to CinC (Admiral Fieldhouse) and we both managed to avoid telling the Land Commander 'I told you so'. It turned out that Fleet was no longer planning to replace me with the Flag Officer 3rd Flotilla.. 2Wont be coming as fast as we thought" was the Admirals throw away remark. It sounded like a life sentence to me. That's the trouble with being trusted by your superiors.
Photo: HMS PLYMOUTH under attack. An Argentine view.



Book Reviewer


On 10th June YARMOUTH battered the Mountains, we flew 44 CAPs, sometimes with as many as 16 aircraft over the Island, and ACTIVE went into the Southern Gun Line in company with ARROW.

Out in the Battle Group we waited, and I spent much time alone in my Cabin, writing ill tempered little essays in my Diary.

'This waiting is awful, I believe the Args are getting fed up with it and are threatening to attack. If CLIFFI gets to hear about that, he'll no doubt have to completely re-organise and delay for several more weeks If I had behaved like the land forces, we'd never have bloody well landed!'


An army mirrors its society. The Elite among Argentina's forces, its Pilots, were brave and superbly trained.

The gunners were skilled with the 105mm howitzers. The marines were tough professionals - but a gulf between the Officers and the men sapped the morale of the unskilled conscripts, even though their kit was, in fact, first class.


The war gave a word to the language. Fittingly, it was the least glamourous phase of the campaign which is thus commemorated. The word is 'yomping', Marine slang for a long march under heavy kit. In Para language it is 'tabbing'. 45 Commando and 3 Para did it together. The long march across the North of the Island from Ajax Bay to Estancia House and on to the Mountains overlooking Stanley.

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Book Reviewer


3 Para had tabbed. They had tabbed an epic march across the North of East Falkland, 40 miles with kit weighing up to 120lb.

45 Commando had yomped. They had yomped ankle deep in marshland, waded rivers, hauled up mountains. They kept going through six hours of darkness, stumbling through tussock grass. Sleet, snow and torrential rain had fallen on them. They had taken refuge, where possible, in farm buildings, where the task had been to dry out their socks, boots and sleeping bags to prevent trench foot. they had eaten meals - 'scran' - cold to avoid the giveaway light of a hexamine cooking stove.

The Para's rested only briefly before pressing on in a snowstorm to Estancia House and the foothills of the Mountains above Stanley. Behind the Para's came 45 Commando.

"In 1945" said their CO, Lt Col Andy Whitehead, " the Infantry walked from Normandy to Berlin. So we can walk to Stanley."

By now the Northern route had generated such a grim life of its own that Brigadier Julian Thompson flew forward personally to stop the Paras from marching straight into Stanley.

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The attack started at 2am on the morning of 12th June. 3 Para pressed towards Mount Longdon, which dominated the Northern route. Simultaneously 42 Commando would advance South East from Mount Kent and Mount Challenger on to Mount Harriet and, hopefully, Goat Ridge.

The 45 Commando would attack Two Sisters.

The outcome was rather messier.

3 Para crossed the start line 15 minutes late..they were heading for 'Full back' and 'Fly Half', as they had named the East and West peaks of Longdon. It was to have been a silent advance, but then, on Full back the Corporal commanding the most forward section of B Company stepped on a mine 600 yards short of the Argentine positions and the enemy opened fire. The Argentines could see at night, they had hundreds of pairs of 'passive night goggles', which are infra red spectacles. The British had nothing as good. To clear the enemy positions 3 Para were calling in artillery and 300 salvoes of naval gunfire (from AVENGER) on targets only 50 yards ahead of them. It took 3 Para six hours to clear 'Fly Half' and another 4 hours to capture 'Full Back'. They finished the job with bayonets. The Paras lost 22 killed, 47 wounded. The Argentines lost more than 50 dead, 10 wounded and 39 prisoners.


On Mount Harriet, meanwhile, 42 Commando achieved more surprise. 42's C/O, Nick Vaux, had named the peak 'Zoya' after his daughter. Goat Ridge he named 'Tara' after his younger daughter. The Argentines were, logically, expecting an attack from the West, but 42 Commando crept along the road running South off the Hill and then same up its South East face.

TRhe enemy swept the attack route with browning machine guns. Vaux decided to use Milan wire guided missiles, firing up the slope to blast each unker in turn.

"Pretty expensive" He said later "they cost £22,000 each, but our job was to get rid of them."

Any Brownings still intact were turned on the enemy.

Mount Harriet cost the Commando's one man.

Two Sisters cost them 4 dead and 11 wounded

Photo: A young Argentinian stares sightless at the camera, blinded by a bullet which has passed trough both temples. He was to die shortly after this photo was taken.



Book Reviewer


Phase Two of the attack was just as tough. Units had to endure a whole day of uncomfortably accurate Argentine shelling. In 2 Para's assault position on Wireless Ridge, it is the courage of the mortar platoon that is remembered. If mortar fire is to be pinpoint accurate, the mortars base plate has to be securely anchored. But at a crucial moment in the attack, one base plate began to slip on the rocky slope. One after another... four soldiers stood on the baseplate as the vital rounds were fired - knowing as they did so that one after another their ankles were broken by the recoil shock.

The Scots Guards assault on Tumbledown was a classic night action. Giving final orders, their C/O, Mike Scott, said to his officers - "Tell your men that if we start getting shelled or mortared, they have got to keep walking through it and ignore it if anyone goes down. Because if they lie down they will not stand up again. They will be too frightened.

The Guards did not lie down. The Argentine flares hung in the air, and in their stark light shell after shell lobbed among the Guards as they walked steadily forwards to the lower slopes and on up the steep sides. Then they used bayonets. By dawn on 14th Tumbledown was theirs. But at a cost of 9 dead and 41 wounded.

Photo: The Scots Guards dig in in front of Tumbledown. The Enemy shelled them as they dug in. Here a shell hits a phosphorus grenade carried on a guardsmans webbing. He had taken it off to dig his trench.

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In the small hours of the morning several Arg aircraft were spotted along the southern coastline f the Islands, one of them, a Canberra heavy bomber began to head across the land towards Port Stanley, and as it did so it was struck by a Sea Dart fired by CARDIFF. The troops on the high ground awaiting their dawn attack watched it spiral in....

Shortly thereafter, as the troops started forward a massive bombardment from YARMOUTH and AMBUSCDE preceded 2 Para as they pushed the Args off Wireless Ridge. ACTIVE pounded Tumbledown. The three ships fired over 300 rounds into Arg positions before leaving at dawn.


It was, for those who saw it, the enduring image of the war. It came an hour or so after dawn on Monday, July 14th.

Tumbledown had just fallen. 2 Para were on wireless ridge, which gave them a goo view.

"Suddenly we all saw these tiny specks running off Sapper Hill" a Para Officer remembered.

"Then we saw them coming off Longden. Al running, running back to Stanley."

Half an hour later, the Gurkhas second in Command, Major Bill Dawson, emerged from the Radio trench of the Gurkhas reserve HQ on Two Sisters.

"Gentlemen" he said,"A white flag has been seen flying over Port Stanley."

There was a moment of silence and then a bursting cheer. It was ten weeks to the day since the first ships had sailed from Portsmouth.

So swift was the collapse that Brigadier General Moore had to personally radio HALT messages to Harriers already flying in for a precision strike on Sapper Hill. He stopped them 3 minutes off target.

For the British troops the main concern now seemed to get into Port Stanley as fast as possible, for the severely practical purpose of grabbing the best beds and baths! 2 Para legged it to the racecourse on the edge of Stanley before Brigadier Thompson stopped them.

The first british soldier into Stanley was actually Captain Rod Bell, a Spanish speaking Marine. He flew in as Moores Emissary an hour after the white flags first appeared. As he scrambled through a hedge the Argentine Naval Commander Melbourne Hussey greeted him.

"We saw you landing in the wrong place"

"I don't know Stanley quite as well as you do." Bell replied curtly.

For a week Bell had been beaming messages into Stanley, urging surrender. This morning, a Stanley GP, Dr Alison Bleaney, appalled at the prospect of fighting in the streets had persuaded Hussey to come to the radio in her surgery, and, with some moral courage, to respond to Bells appeal..

At about 8pm Moore flew in and at 9pm the Argentine Commander General Mario Menendez signed the surrender document.

And so ended the war. But really, only for the land forces, not the rest of us Out in the Battle group the electronic city cannot sleep. The CAP was still at ten minutes alert to launch. Instructions were given that if necessary, any Argentine aircraft showing hostile intent was to be shot down in as friendly a manner as possible
Photo: Perhaps the greatest sense of Triumph was that felt by the men of Landing Party 8901, the Marines who had fought the Invasion as they marched once again into port Stanley.



Book Reviewer
For all those with their own story to tell, now would be the time.
My own thanks to Jack Lewiss for the time it has taken him to put this out.
The elderly Ton class coastal mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) in service at the time of the Falklands conflict were unsuited for the long passage and heavy seas expected in the South Atlantic. The first two of the new Hunt Class MCMVs were not yet operational so it was decided to requisition five deep sea trawlers from Hull and fit them with rudimentary minesweeping equipment. These vesels were commissioned into the Royal Navy and crewed mostly by the ships' companies of Ton Class MCMVs based at Rosyth: CORDELLA (HMS UPTON); FARNELLA (HMS WOTTON); JUNELLA (HMS BICKINGTON); NORTHELLA (HMS SOBERTON); and PICT (HMS BILDESTON). The group was designated the 11th MCM Squadron and sailed from Portland on 27 April 1982 with Lt Cdr Martyn Holloway as Senior Officer in HMS CORDELLA.

The ships endured rough weather, unreliable machinery and lack of proper self-defence armament, communications and navigation systems. Sailing to and fro on their various missions, acting as minesweeping guinea pigs, carrying and transferring stores and troops and landing and evacuating special forces personnel in the dark, emcon-silent and with all lights extinguished for security, they frequently ran the risk of being rammed or fired on by both enemy and friendly forces. When hostilities ended, they swept 10 of the 21 deadly moored mines laid by the Argentineans in the approaches to Port Stanley; the other mines had either broken adrift and floated away or failed to deploy properly.

For those unaware, an "11th MCM Squadron" public group thrives on Facebook. Further background can be found in "The Forgotten Few of the Falklands" in the MCDOA website's Dit Box.
I’m trying to put some coherent thoughts together with regard to my experience. I have no idea of the time or date of any of this. Dates were not important at the time and I never kept a diary.

I remember I was at Deadalus where I was completing my Part 3 Catering training. I was spending time in the SR kitchen completing the cooking phase, when it all kicked off. I didn’t pay too much attention to it as I was bomb proof, I was only 17 and still under training, I was too young to be sent.

Then I was summoned to the Reg office(not for the first time) to be told that I was to report to Nelson where I would be flown out to Gib to join Uganda. Most of the time spent in Gib was waiting for the dockies to finish fitting the flight deck and the casualty ramp.

We got a train to Lynham where we were put on a Hercules flight to Gib. The plane was absolutely toppers with kit and there was hardly any room for us.

I joined along with a LSA, a LWTR and a 2 ½ Supply Officer. The boss had no idea what to do with me. The civvie cooks were retained as were all the accountancy staff. He put me in the kitchen for a while but there just was nothing much for me to do. The only thing about the kitchen that I remember was the GDU was just a big hole in the ship’s side with a door on it. Oh, and that I got wine with my meals!

They then decided that I would be better kept where I could be seen, so I was given to the flight deck to work as a chockhead. I was taught the basics and given my own blue surcoat with a large red letter L on the back. I loved it. It was proper exciting, something I never thought I would be doing. We had all sorts land on. From a Wasp to a Chinook, Pumas to Sea Kings. The Chinook was interesting. They could only just fit on the flight deck, with the pilot sat over the oggin and the ramp about 2 foot from the flight deck nets. We were really close to it and the first time one landed on, the bandies (stretcher bearers) were blown backwards down the casualty ramp to the deck below.

Once we started to receive serious casualties, I was once more moved and I was given a job nursing on the wards. It was an experience to say the very least. To say that I was unprepared for what I ws to see would be a rather large understatement.

Some things that stick in my mind:

Having pretty much no idea of what was going on ashore. We were told nothing.

How scared the argies were of us. They would lie in their beds with the covers pulled up and the pillow pulled down over their face so only their eyes showed. The lads would try and get the bandies to drop them when taking them to and from theatre.

How amazing our lads were. Always cheerful. Crawling around the ward to chat to their oppo, despite being flash burnt or missing limbs.

The smell. Blood and Flamazine.

Holding a grown man as he cries hysterically in my arms. He has had both his arms blown off and realises that he will never hold his kids in his arms again. ( A tough memory. There’s more to that but I can’t bring myself to write it down)

Feeding Simon Weston and helping to change his dressings. You’ve never seen anything like it in your life. I can still see and smell him now.

Coming home into Southampton, then a journey west to where in a few weeks time I was to celebrate my 18th birthday.

I have to say, much of it is a blur. Some things are as clear as if they happened yesterday. Most of it, I’ve no idea. I wish that I could go into as much detail as Ninja has elsewhere, but I just can’t remember.
As a 17 old lad your mind may choose not to remember, and if that is what it has chosen and you are OK with that, let sleeping memories sleep in piece?
I guess I don't have an answer to that. Some things I wish I could remember and some things I wish that I didn't.


Book Reviewer



Lt Col H Jones OBE,
CO 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment

Sgt I J McKay,
3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment



Distinguished Service Order
Capt M E Barrow RN, co HMS Glamorgan
Capt J J Black MBE RN, co HMS Invincible
Capt W R Canning RN, co HMS Broadsword
Capt J F Coward RN, co HMS Brilliant
Capt P G V Dingemans RN, co HMS Intrepid
Commodore S C Dunlop CBE RFA, co RFA Fort Austin
Lt Cmdr B F Dutton QGM RN, co Fleet Clearance Diving Team 1
Capt E S J Larken RN, co HMS Fearless
Capt C H Layman MVO RN, co HMS Argonaut
Capt L E Middleton ADC RN, co HMS Hermes
Capt D Pentreath RN, co HMS Plymouth
Capt P J G Roberts RFA, co RFA Sir Galahad
Lt Cmdr I Stanley RN, Flt Cmdr, No.737 NAS, HMS Antrim
Lt Col N F Vaux RM, co 42 Cdo RM
Lt Col A F Whitehead RM, co 45 Cdo RM
Cmdr C L Wreford-Brown RN, co HMS Conqueror
Capt B G Young RN, co HMS Antrim

Distinguished Service Cross - Posthumous
Lt Cmdr G W J Batt RN, No.800 NAS, HMS Hermes
Capt I H North Merchant Navy, co Atlantic Conveyor
Lt Cmdr J M Sephton RN, HMS Ardent
Lt Cmdr J S Woodhead RN, HMS Sheffield

Distinguished Service Cross
Lt Cmdr A D Auld RN, co No.800 NAS, HMS Hermes
Lt A R C Bennett RN, No.846 NAS
Lt Cmdr M D Booth RN, co No.847 NAS
Cmdr P J Bootherstone RN, co HMS Arrow
Lt N A Bruen RN, co Fleet Clearance Diving Team 3
Lt Cmdr H S Clark RN, co No.825 NAS
Cmdr C J S Craig RN, co HMS Alacrity
Lt Cmdr J A Ellerbeck RN, Flt Cmdr, No.829 NAS, HMS Endurance
Fleet CPO (Diver) M G Fellows BEM, Fleet Clearance Diving Team 1
Capt G R Green RFA, co RFA Sir Tristram
Lt R Hutchings RM, No.846 NAS
Capt D E Lawrence RFA, co RFA Sir Geraint
Lt Cmdr H J Lomas RN, No.845 NAS
Lt K P Mills RM, RM Detachment, HMS Endurance
Sub Lt P T Morgan RN, HMS Argonaut
Cmdr A Morton RN, co HMS Yarmouth
Lt N J North RN, No.846 NAS
Capt A F Pitt RFA, co RFA Sir Percivale
Lt Cmdr N W Thomas RN, Nos.899/800 NAS, HMS Hermes
Lt S R Thomas RN, No.801 NAS, HMS Invincible
Lt Cdr S C Thornewill RN, co No.846 NAS
Cmdr N J Tobin RN, co HMS Antelope
Cmdr N D Ward AFC RN, co No.801 NAS, HMS Invincible
Cmdr A W J West RN, co HMS Ardent

Military Cross
Capt P M Babbington RM, 42 Cdo RM
Maj C P Cameron RM, co 3 CBAS
Lt C I Dytor RM, 45 Cdo RM
Lt C Fox RM, 45 Cdo RM
Lt D J Stewart RM, 45 Cdo RM

Distinguished Flying Cross - Posthumous
Lt R J Nunn RM, 3 CBAS

Distinguished Flying Cross
Capt J P Niblett RM, 3 CBAS

Air Force Cross
Lt Cdr D J S Squier RN, co No.826 NAS, HMS Hermes
Lt Cdr R J S Wykes-Sneyd RN, co No.820 NAS, HMS Invincible

Distinguished Conduct Medal
Cpl J Burdett RM, 45 Cdo RM

George Medal - Posthumous
Second Eng Offr P A Henry RFA, RFA Sir Galahad

George Medal
AB (Radar) J E Dillon, HMS Ardent

Distinguished Service Medal - Posthumous
PO MEM(M) D R Briggs, HMS Sheffield
Cpl Aircrewman M D Love RM, No.846 NAS

Distinguished Service Medal
Colour Sgt M J Francis RM, coxswain LCU F1, HMS Fearless
Ldg Aircrewman P B Imrie, No.846 NAS
Sgt P J Leach RM, RM Detachment, HMS Endurance
PO J S Leake, HMS Ardent
Sgt W J Leslie RM, HMS Broadsword
PO (Sonar) G J R Libby, HMS Conqueror
Chief MEM(M) M D Townsend, HMS Argonaut
CPO (Diver) G M Trotter, Fleet Clearance Diving Team 3
CPO Aircrewman M J Tupper, No.846 NAS
LS (Radar) J D Warren, HMS Antelope

Military Medal
Acting Cpl A R Bishop RM, 45 Cdo RM
Sgt T Collings RM, SBS?
Sgt M Collins RM, 42 Cdo RM
Cpl M Eccles RM, 42 Cdo RM
Cpl D Hunt RM, 45 Cdo RM
Mne G W Marshall RM, 45 Cdo RM
Cpl S C Newland RM, 42 Cdo RM
Cpl H Siddall RM, 45 Cdo RM
Cpl C N H Ward RM, 42 Cdo RM
Sgt J D Wassell RM, M & AW Cadre RM

Distinguished Flying Medal
Sgt W C O'Brien RM, 3 CBAS

Queen's Gallantry Medal - Posthumous
Colour Sgt B Johnston RM, coxswain LCU F4, HMS Fearless

Queen's Gallantry Medal
Chief Eng Offr C K A Adams RFA, RFA Sir Galahad
Lt J K Boughton RN, No.825 NAS
MEA(M)1 K Enticknapp, HMS Ardent
Third Offr A Gudgeon RFA, RFA Sir Galahad
PO Medical Asst G A Meager, HMS Sheffield
Lt P J Sheldon RN, No.825 NAS
Third Eng B R Williams Merchant Navy, Atlantic Conveyor


Distinguished Service Order
Maj C N G Delves, Devonshire and Dorsets, co D Sqdn 22 SAS Regt
Maj C P B Keeble, 2 Para
Lt Col H W R Pike MBE, co 3 Para
Lt Col M I E Scott, co 2 Scots Guards

Distinguished Service Cross
WO2 J H Phillips, 49 EOD Sqdn RE

Military Cross - Posthumous
Capt G J Hamilton, Green Howards, D Sqdn 22 SAS Regt

Military Cross
Maj M H Argue, 3 Para
Capt T W Burls, Parachute Regt, D Sqdn 22 SAS Regt
Maj D A Collett, 3 Para
Lt C S Conner, 2 Para
Maj J H Crosland, 2 Para
Maj C D Farrar-Hockley, 2 Para
Maj J P Kiszely, 2 Scots Guards
Lt R A D Lawrence, 2 Scots Guards
Capt W A McCracken, 29 Cdo Regt RA
Capt A J G Wight, Welsh Guards, SAS?

Distinguished Flying Cross
Capt S M Drennan AAC, 656 Sqdn AAC
Capt J G Greenhalgh RCT, 656 Sqdn AAC

Distinguished Conduct Medal - Posthumous
Pte S Illingsworth, 2 Para
Gdsmn J B C Reynolds, 2 Scots Guards

Distinguished Conduct Medal
Cpl D Abols, 2 Para
Staff Sgt B Faulkner, 3 Para
Sgt J C Meredith, 2 Para
WO2 W Nicol, 2 Scots Guards
Sgt J S Pettinger, 3 Para

Conspicious Gallantry Medal - Posthumous
Staff Sgt J Prescott, 49 EOD Sqdn RE

Military Medal - Posthumous
Pte R J de M Absolon, 3 Para
L/Cpl G D Bingley, 2 Para

Military Medal
Cpl I P Bailey, 3 Para
L/Cpl S A Bardsley, 2 Para
Sgt T I Barrett, 2 Para
L/Cpl M W L Bentley, 2 Para
Sgt D S Boultby, 17 Port Regt RCT
Cpl T Brookes Royal Signals, SAS?
Cpl T J Camp, 2 Para
Pte G S Carter, 2 Para
Gdsmn S M Chapman, 1 Welsh Guards
Cpl J A Foran, 9 Para Sqdn RE
Sgt D Fuller, 3 Para
Pte B J Grayling, 2 Para
Cpl T W Harley, 2 Para
Bdr E M Holt, 29 Cdo Regt RA
Sgt R W Jackson, 2 Scots Guards
L/Cpl D J Loveridge, 1 Welsh Guards
Sgt J G Mather, SAS
Sgt P H R Naya, 16 Field Ambulance RAMC
WO2 B T Neck, 1 Welsh Guards
Gdsmn A S Pengelly, 2 Scots Guards
L/Cpl L J L Standish, 2 Para
Sgt R H Wrega, 9 Para Sqdn RE


Distinguished Service Cross
Flt Lt D H S Morgan RAF, Nos.899/800 NAS, HMS Hermes

Distinguished Flying Cross
Wing Cdr P T Squire AFC RAF, co 1(F) Sqdn RAF
Sqdn Ldr R U Langworthy AFC RAF, 18 Sqdn RAF
Sqdn Ldr C N McDougall RAF, Vulcan aircrew
Sqdn Ldr J J Pook RAF, 1(F)Sqdn RAF
Flt Lt W F M Withers RAF, Vulcan aircrew

Air Force Cross
Wing Cdr D Emmerson RAF, Nimrod aircrew
Sqdn Ldr R Tuxford RAF, Victor aircrew
Flt Lt H C Burgoyne RAF, 47 Sqdn RAF
Sqdn Ldr A M Roberts RAF, 47 Sqdn RAF
Queen's Gallantry Medal
Flt Lt A J Swan RAF, co No.1 EOD Unit RAF
Flt Sgt B W Jopling, 18 Sqdn RAF

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