Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Falklands: The Battle of Mount Longdon

Aged just 17 – and officially too young to go to war – Mike Southall took part in the battle to secure Mount Longdon.It was the night of June 11, 1982. The soldiers of 3 Para, each carrying 130lb on their backs, had been marching across unforgiving terrain in freezing temperatures for two weeks, sleeping in the open, when the Company Sergeant Major gathered them together. “If you have anybody up there,” he told them, pointing skywards, “you might want to have a word with them because some of us are not going to see daylight tomorrow.” Mike Southall was one of those soldiers. He was just 17, a private fresh out of training, and had never been further from home than Ireland. Officially he was too young to go to war, but he had chosen to go anyway. He looked at the sergeant major as if to say “I hope you’re not serious”, then he glanced at his mate, Jason Burt, also 17. “He just gave me that look where you lift your eyes upwards – he was killed that night. I think at that stage I was scared for the first time.” They had reached the base of Mount Longdon without being spotted by the 200 Argentine troops who had spent the past month turning the mountain into a fortress. But when Corporal Brian Milne stepped on an anti-tank mine, all hell broke loose. “There was a flash, a bang and then screaming,” recalls Southall. “I was terrified, we realised we were in a mine field and we were told to run for the rocks. Seconds later the Argentinians opened up, firing at us with everything. I ran and found myself on my own, I had lost the rest of my section and the company. I had been spotted and some Argentines began to engage me. Read more HERE

"In the UK a 17 year old cannot legally drink in a pub, vote, watch an 18 rated movie , ironically even one about war, but he can however fight in a brutal battle the most vicious British troops had fought since the Korean War."