THE Falklands War was remembered by representatives of Poole Royal Marines, the Royal Naval Association, the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA) and Bournemouth itself when wreaths were laid at the war memorial at 11am Saturday morning, after which the Last Post was played.
After prayers, led by Canon John Turpin of Christchurch Priory, the group toasted absent friends with Pusser’s Navy Rum, and later they enjoyed dinner at the Captain’s Club in Christchurch.
Former Royal Marine and veteran Bill McAlester, chairman of SAMA’s Christchurch and district branch, said: “It is important for us to be able to get together like this and remember friends we lost. I lost two good friends in an air strike, seven guys in my unit were wounded. I remember them every day.
“I remember one guy screaming because he thought he had been blinded by a mine, and the other guy couldn’t work out why he couldn’t stand when he tried to help him – his foot had been blown off.
“The Falklands is the forgotten war, probably because it was over in three months.
“It led the public to believe that wars could be fought and won quickly. But we had a clear objective – to clear the islands, restore them to Britain and free the population.”
It has been 32 years since the British task force left to re-capture the remote South Atlantic islands, which were seized by the Argentine military junta on April 2, 1982.
Following an ambitious long-range amphibious campaign, and 74 days of fighting, a ceasefire was declared on June 14.
In total, 255 British service personnel were killed, along with 907 Argentine troops and three Falklanders.
Mr McAlester remembered the last day of fighting, in which he and his fellow marines climbed Sapper’s Hill, near the capital – Port Stanley.
“We got up to the top of the hill and between the eight of us managed to find enough coffee for one cup, we used the water from a stream nearby, which was brown anyway,” he said.
“We each got a sip, but it was appreciated.”