Monday, 13 October 2014


I totally understand that once you write a book you open yourself up to criticism, but I do have the right to defend myself and correct some of the inaccuracies of review such as the review from a Mr  Graeme Winning  . Anyone that has served as a Rapier missile operator will know that his comments regarding checking our equipment whilst it was stowed onboard ship in transit to the Falklands are completely ignorant to the workings of Air defence.  All our Rapiers including or vehicles are chained to the floor of the flat-bottomed LSL (Landing ship Logistic) everything is dissembled ready to be airlifted by helicopter. Without going into the technicalities of the system, even when the kit is on terra ferma it takes about 20mins to half an hour to  do T&As and become operational. The kit has to be completely level. To suggest we should have tested our kit onboard ship is ludicrous. Also to blame the problems we had with our Rapier on my 19 year old shoulders is a little unfair. My rank in the Falklands War was a Gunner, the lowest rank in the Royal Artillery, above me in the chain of command was THREE NCOs (A sergeant, a bombardier, and a lance bombardier. Only when the kit is operational on the ground in the Falklands you can then discover any faults. Rapier is a very temperamental piece of equipment and considering at times onboard ship we had to lay on our bunks and not walk anywhere due to storm force seas, like the Bay Of Biscay , it a wonder even more damage was sustained going South. Mr Winning seems to like to portray me as an `average` soldier and `unprofessional`. I did twelve months basic training in Junior Leaders. I was extremely fit and never failed any courses. I won the Junior Lightweight boxing Championship title. In Germany I had a crazy time on the piss, but so did many others. I never failed a BFT (Basic Fitness Test) never failed my APWT (Annual Personal Weapons Test) I was a member of the Regimental Boxing team, the Regimental cross Country team, I put a lot of hard work training on my time off and was one of the fittest soldiers in the Regiment, but yes I was into Punk Rock it was the early 80s and I was a young man. I volunteered for service in Northern Ireland, where I had a great tour and was commended by the commanding officer. Things Mr Winning didn't focus on and tried to portray me in a negative light. Going back to the Falklands War, you can count on one hand the soldiers that have shot down enemy aircraft with Rapier, I did it twice with hits on an A4 Skyhawk and a Mirage. Our kit had systems fault whilst at San Carlos, my sergeant reported this to our Senior Officers, but we were still tasked to go to Bluff Cove on the Galahad. If anyone is at fault here it certainly is not myself or any of my detachment. Yes or Kit then went on to fail at the worst possible moment at Bluff Cove, but we did shoot down three enemy aircraft and will have no doubt saved British lives. Not a day passes without me thinking about the horrors of the Galahad, but we did our best. To say we didn't care about our kit is an insult to all of us especially Mickey Quinn R.I.P. I am no angel but I have never been in prison and I have never committed a burglary. We will remember those lost in the Falklands.

Tony McNally 32 Alpha.