Falklands Memorial Wood

Words by Jon Major, Video and Pictures by Richie Gough

The first stop of our day was at the 1982 war memorial. I had the honour of carrying the HMS Ardent Association standard and ex-para Kevin Ormind had the SAMA82 standard. We both stood proudly either side of the centre section of the memorial, all around us the names of all those who had lost their lives whilst defending this wonderful part of British Sovereignty. Peter said a few words of remembrance and Chez came forward to lay our wreath. I could sense the immense pride Chez had as he stood and saluted the fallen which sent a shiver down my spine, or was it just the sense ofthe occasion catching up with me? Either way it was incredibly moving. We made our way to Christ Church Cathedral for the main service of remembrance as part of Remembrance Sunday 14 November 2011.

With the final service complete it was time to make our way to memorial wood, a beautiful garden of remembrance wherethere is a tree planted for every person killed during the war of 1982. Each tree has a basic name plaque to who it is dedicated and we were there to replace our plaques with ones the Association had made and blessed at the 2010 reunion. After some searching we managed to find them all. When I replaced Shaun Hanson’s I also placed a lovely verse Peter and Renee had written plus the remembrance crosses from the whole family, I also said a short private prayer to myself and a few tears were shed. The Governors representative (Richard) in South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, who we had met at theGovernors reception, turned up with his two children so they knew where our trees were and could tend to them in the future, a nice thought indeed. While we were in the 1982 Memorial Wood, Commodore Chris Craig RN Rtd joined us, he was visiting the Falklands with his son Duncan. Chris was the CO of HMS Alacrity during the war and came up to us and insisted Peter take some money so we could have a drink to toast the lads. Job done we left the wood and made our way to the FIDF hall for drinks and to make a toast to our shipmates and several more!

It was a day I will remember for a very long time to come.