Conflict inspired art

FALKLANDS veteran and talented artist Dean Regan has cast his mind back a quarter of a century to create a stunning series of scenes from the war to mark the 25th anniversary of the conflict.

FALKLANDS veteran and talented artist Dean Regan has cast his mind back a quarter of a century to create a stunning series of scenes from the war to mark the 25th anniversary of the conflict.

The oil paintings, which tell the story of the task force's victory over the Argentine soldiers who had invaded the South Atlantic islands, are the centrepiece of a Falklands exhibition at Felixstowe Museum this summer.

As well as military personnel from the area, the town's merchant navy was caught up in the conflict - container ships, along with the ro-ro vessels Baltic and Nordic ferries, were sent to war.

Mr Regan, 46, of Chatsworth Crescent, Trimley St Mary, was serving with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps when he was sent to the South Atlantic on the requisitioned QE2.


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A fuel specialist, he worked with a unit distributing ammunition and fuel brought ashore in pipelines, as well as a stretcher bearer taking the wounded from helicopters to the field hospital, and guarded Argentine prisoners of war, in between diving for cover from air raids.

“The paintings come out of my experience in the Falklands but they are not there to tell my story but the story of what happened out there,” said Mr Regan.

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“I have spoken to veterans who gave me great help with what I was painting and it has been a real journey - an emotional journey, too, with all the thinking back and remembering.

“It hardly seems possible it was 25 years ago. I am pleased with the paintings and I hope they help to education the younger generation about what it was like out there.”

Mr Regan said the conflict also provided him with a real opportunity - and changed in his career.

“I met soldiers flying helicopters and didn't even know at that stage the Army had people who flew and aircraft,” he said.

After the war he trained as a flier, taking on roles of flight commander, involved in warfare and use of air-to-air weapons. He helped start Suffolk police's air operations unit and now works part-time as a pilot for Essex and Suffolk police helicopters and the rest of his time as a professional artist.

Some money from the sales of the paintings is going to charities supporting Falklands War veterans.

Colin Tod , from the museum, said it was hoped the Falklands exhibition, with its artefacts and photos, uniforms and flags, would prove a great attraction this summer and the response from the public had been excellent.

Felixstowe Museum, next door to Landguard Fort, opens for the season this weekend - open Saturday March 31 and Sunday April 1 from 10am to 5.30pm. It will then open Sundays and Bank Holidays from 1pm to 5.30pm, and also on Wednesday afternoons during the summer.

See the Evening Star on Monday for a special feature looking back at the Falklands War 25 years ago.

What are your memories of the Falklands War? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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