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41 years after the Malvinas War, British soldiers ask to investigate the attack on the Sir Tristram and the Sir Galahad

The publication of a witness account detailing the "madness" of an operation that killed 56 members of the British armed forces landing at Bahía Agradable during the war over the Malvina Islands on the deadliest day for Britain since 1945, has led to new calls for the government to reveal all files related to the tragedy.

9 de May de 2023 11:52

British fighters do not want to wait until 2065 to find out what happened on June 8, 1982.

Attacks by Argentine Skyhawk aircraft on the landing ships Sir Tristram and Sir Galahad killed dozens of servicemen on 8 June 1982 and left more than 150 injured, including Simon Weston , the Welsh Guardsman whose face, reconstructed after enduring dozens of operations for years, it became a dramatic English image of the conflict.

In September 1982, three months after the end of the war, an official board of inquiry, held in private, concluded that the tragedy in the icy waters between Bluff Cove and Fitzroy, west of the islands' capital, was not due to It was not a "mistake" , but could be attributed to the "ordinary occurrence", the "chances of war" . Some in the military and elsewhere also blamed the Welsh guards on the ships for not disembarking quickly enough .

A large number of witness statements and summaries submitted before the investigation were not made public at the time, or since, as the government said they had been provided confidentially. The documents will remain sealed until 2065 despite efforts since then by some parliamentarians on behalf of survivors to obtain more information.

  A key statement has now been revealed following a freedom of information request from Crispin Black , a retired colonel who was among the survivors of the attacks on Sir Galahad and who has since written a book about the events of the day, Too Thin for a Shroud / Too fragile for a shroud.

In the published account, set 10 days after the attack, Captain Robin Green , who commanded Sir Tristram, recounts in a six-page statement how he had strongly warned against the "folly" of the attempted landing of men through his ship and Sir Galahad's.

Green, who died in 2009 aged 74, recalled in his statement how he had raised concerns two days before the ill-fated operation about the lack of protection being provided to the two landing ships against possible attacks by the Argentine Air Force.

Furthermore, he described the operation as "hastily assembled without sufficient thought or planning."

Green wrote: "I was not very happy with the operation and felt that it was not advisable to send an LSL, (landing logistics barge) without escort, and remain there unprotected for at least a day, if not two seemed to pass." "It seemed crazy."

He stated in his statement that he did not receive the additional anti-aircraft ammunition requested before the operation. “I also said I wanted 20 more Blowpipe AA missiles and these were promised but never arrived,” he said.Green recounted how the weather that day was "fine and clear and we were completely exposed to enemy air attack."

Colonel Black , who was 22 at the time of the disaster, said the newly released statement offered a compelling reason to open all sealed statements relating to the events leading up to June 8, to clear the names of the dead Welsh Guards. and injured.

He said: "I think the document does a number of things. Probably the most shocking is Sir Tristram's captain's view of the plan he was asked to carry out: it was mad and ill-advised."

He also makes it clear that there was no air defense and he obviously feels very aggrieved about that. The other thing he makes absolutely clear is that his order changes several times. “I think you're starting to get a sense of the sort of—what should we say?—planning deficiencies behind all of this. No wonder things start to go wrong ,the colonel added.

There were 14 exhibits of evidence for the 1983 board of inquiry, of which 12 have been made publicly available in full or redacted form. "Two files remain closed : they are exhibit E9 '1st Battalion Welsh Guards' and the annex E10 'discharge of Sir Galahad,'" Black said.“It's a bit like Hamlet without the prince.

By Agenda Malvinas

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