Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Scots Guards Falklands heroes who found peace hard to win

Five men who fought in the fierce battle for Mount Tumbledown come together again for the first time in 30 years - and speak frankly about their struggles with the after-effects of war.“See this?” said Gordon Hoggan, holding up a camouflaged helmet. “I took it from the guy I stabbed in the throat.” He brought the helmet home from the Falkland Islands almost 30 years ago, but was looking at it again as he steeled himself for an emotional reunion on Friday. He was one of five men who were about to meet for the first time since they fought on Mount Tumbledown, in the fiercest battle of the war. The memories were coming back, powerful and bloody. “We came across two Argentines in a cave and they stretched to get their rifles. I went to shoot one of them and my rifle jammed. I never had time to clear it so I stabbed him through the neck with my bayonet.” His hands made the same movement again, instinctively. “He was screaming in Spanish. I had to put my foot on his face to get my bayonet back out. The blood came rushing out. I was covered from head to foot. Sad, when I think about it now. At the time, it never bothered me one little bit.” That attitude survived for more than 10 years after the conflict, even after he left the Army and went home to Fife. He was a tall, feisty Scots Guards veteran; of course he lost his temper sometimes, but it was nothing. Or so he thought. Then the flashbacks and bad dreams began to overpower him.Read more HERE

I sailed home onboard the Norland with the Scots Guards, it was one huge piss up and there was lots of fights usually amongst the Guardsmen. I bumped into in the corridor a lad from my home town and he tolkd me about the horrific things he took part in and witnessed on Tumbledown, I have the utmost respect for these soldiers and what they achieved, they didn't even wear helmets and stormed the mountain in only berets so they could recognize each other. 

Here is a poem I wrote about Tumbledown


Come keep me company a while
Upon this mountain I lay
Pour yourself a hot brew
Tell me all about your day

Il patiently listen
I’m not going anywhere
When you’ve told me your story
Il make you aware

Of the minefields around
Trip wires and booby traps
So take your pack of your back
Sit down and relax

I’m from Glasgow my friend
You can call me Jock
I was killed on this hill
There’s  the hole in my smock

I’m not alone 
There are twelve guardsmen here
We got to the top
There’s no foe that we fear 

When you go back to Scotland
Tell your pals about us
We will never leave our post
Do our duty we must

The sun is almost down
Your path downwards is clear
I hope you come back one day
To visit us here.

© Tony McNally