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Somerset Veteran & Freemason Returns to the Falklands

Worshipful Bro Andy Broad, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, and 11 other Veterans from 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment travelled 8,500 miles south on 7 January 2024 to return to the Falklands Islands having seen active service during Operation Corporate in 1982 following the Argentine invasion. The reception that the Veterans received from the local population was nothing short of incredible. 

From W Bro Andy Broad
We spent 9 days on the islands and were able to travel and retrace our Battalions route from Green Beach 1 at Port San Carlos where we landed on 21 May 1982, to Teal Inlet, Mount Estancia, Estancia House, Mount Longdon and ultimately into the capital Port Stanley on 14 June 1982 following the Argentine surrender.

During the Campaign, we broke out of the bridge head at San Carlos and hit Teal Inlet, 45 kilometers away across the most demanding of terrains in 30 hours. The winter had arrived, the weather was atrocious at times with windchill factors getting as low as – 17 degrees. From Teal Inlet the Battalion pushed on to  Mount Estancia, and ultimately Mount Longdon. The Battalion attacked and secured Longdon overnight on 11 / 12 June. During the initial fire fight 18 members of the Battalion perished, including Sergeant Ian McKay, who was awarded the Victoria Cross. Two VCs were awarded during the campaign, the other went to Lt Colonel H Jones, CO of 2 Para who died at Goose Green.

Having secured Longdon and consolidated our position 5 further soldiers were killed by Argentine Artillery fire. A total of 23 dead, and 47 wounded. Some returned as amputees. 

I had been meaning to return to the islands for many years, but raising a family and work commitments overtook me. Great sadness remembering those fine soldiers of 3 Para who fell on Mount Longdon but as importantly  all those who answered the call from all the Armed Services and Merchant Marine who lost their lives. The wishes of the islanders were restored in 1982, and if storm clouds again should threaten, we know to whom we can turn

‘Their bodies are buried in peace, but their names live forever’
“Utrinque Paratus”

A quote from the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The travelling Veterans on Mount Longdon. For some it was their first return to the islands since the conflict.
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