Sunday, 25 January 2015

Don Bonner, Falklands chauffeur - obituary

Butler and chauffeur to Rex Hunt, governor of the Falkland Islands at the time of the Argentine invasion
Don Bonner, who has died aged 87, was the butler and chauffeur to Rex Hunt, governor of the Falkland Islands when the Argentines invaded on April 2 1982.
As the sun set on Government House, the fiercely patriotic Bonner lowered the flag as usual, but then raised it again on the flagpole, saying: “I’ll shoot any Argie b------ who tries to take it down.” The only remaining member of the staff at the residence, he sat for hours with Hunt’s 12-bore shotgun until the Royal Marines’ commanding officer politely remarked that he seemed very tired and suggested he return to his cottage across the road.
The next day Bonner donned his chauffeur’s cap and declared that if the governor and his family were to be expelled he would drive them to the airport in the maroon taxi that served as the official car, rather than in the Land Rover proposed by an Argentine officer. Hoisting the governor’s pennant on the bonnet as Hunt (resplendent in full dress uniform) climbed in, Bonner deviated from the approved route to call at the radio station so that Hunt could record his farewell message. They then drove past tearful, silent islanders to the airport, where Bonner assured him: “Don’t you worry, sir, I’ll make sure them fellers don’t use the taxi or 'Fifi’ [Mrs Hunt’s Fiesta]. And I’ll pop in every day to see your kit is OK until you’re back.” He then set off back to Stanley.
During the 10-week occupation Bonner refused to work with General Menendes, the Argentine commander, declining to wait on him at table. But he was a daily presence at Government House, protecting the family’s possessions, supervising the Argentines brought in to fill in the many bullet holes and repair the plumbing, and ensuring that the civilian staff were treated correctly. When a young maid showed signs of undue friendliness to an Argentine conscript, he had her sent home.Read More   HERE  R.I.P.