Sunday, 20 May 2007
SAS man tells of the Falklands tragedy that killed 20 Troopers.
A former SAS member has told for the first time of the night the regiment suffered its heaviest loss of life - during the Falklands War 25 years ago.
Twenty members of the elite unit were killed when their Sea King helicopter lost power and plunged into the freezing South Atlantic after a freak collision with an albatross.
Mick Williams, who is still haunted by the horrific events of May 19, 1982, told how the helicopter dropped from a low altitude and then filled with water as its windows smashed on impact with the sea.Read the rest Here
(RG) I can vividly remember when I heard about this tragedy we were also still at sea and this was a huge downer for moral. This is an extract from `Watching Men Burn` about this very sad loss.
Just to really make my day, one of the guys popped his head round the door.
‘Have you heard the news, Mack?’ he said, his face tight with tension. ‘A Sea King has gone down in the sea. There were 18 SAS lads on board… they’re all dead.’
That’s a real morale booster, that is. The SAS are super-human, almost mythological beings that you never actually meet. SAS men can’t die, they’re indestructible. If they can die, I can definitely die. Shut up – they’re not dead, it’s all bollocks. They’ve probably swum ashore, probably surfed ashore on the busted-off rotor blades, and are, even now, tucked up nice and warm in some little farmhouse.
But the reality was that they were dead: exactly the same ‘dead’ as the sailors drowned, burned or blown apart on the Sheffield and the Belgrano. The chopper had gone down during a flight between two of our ships, killing a Signaller and an RAF man too. The ridiculous thing is, the crash was supposedly down to an albatross hitting the aircraft. A sodding albatross, it was almost comical. They’re supposed to bring you good luck aren’t they? As I sat there, their mates were probably already making jokes about it, the way soldiers do. They’d be gutted, angry, sad as you like, but they’d still be having the craic. It’s a British thing, we’re good at taking the piss out of ourselves, and squaddies are better than most. It’s like a pressure release valve. I wondered how strong that valve would need to be other the coming weeks.
© Mack (RG) The thoughts of a Falklands War Veteran.