''The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war,no matter how justified,shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation'' --George Washington--
Thursday, 22 May 2014
'I never blamed the soldiers who shot Ian'
The heroic actions of Sgt Ian McKay in the Falklands led to his being awarded a posthumous VC. His mother, Freda, tells Elizabeth Grice how proud she was of his bravery - but how she has struggled for 25 years to accept his death
25 years on: full coverage of the Falklands War
On the day the Falklands war ended, Freda McKay heard by telephone that her eldest son Ian, who was 29, had been killed in action on Mount Longdon in the final push to Port Stanley. She was at work in the personnel department of British Steel in Sheffield when the phone rang. It was 9.30am. The major's wife came right to the point: "I'm very sorry to tell you that Ian's been killed."
She added four words that have been deployed to soften the blow for stricken families since war was invented: "He died very courageously." In Sgt McKay's case, this was not a sympathetic platitude but the absolute truth.
On the night of June 11/12, 1982, McKay had stormed and taken an Argentinian machine-gun post that was endangering his men during the British advance on the capital. Under a hail of fire, he led comrades from the Parachute Regiment forward. When the others fell, dead or wounded, he went on alone, lobbing grenades into the enemy bunker, well aware of how exposed he was. He was hit and collapsed on the bunker as it fell silent at the moment of victory.
His posthumous VC was one of only two awarded during the conflict. The other went to Colonel Herbert "H" Jones, who died at Goose Green. "Undeterred, he performed with outstanding selflessness, perseverance and courage," said McKay's citation. "With a complete disregard for his own safety, he displayed courage and leadership of the highest order, and was an inspiration to all those around him."Read more HERE R.I.P.