Falklands return for ex-marine

A FORMER marine has today spoken about his emotional revisit to the Falkland Islands where he served 25 years ago.Terry Barnes, of Silverdale Close, north west Ipswich, was just 19-years-old when he was sent to serve in the Falklands War in April 1982.

A FORMER marine has today spoken about his emotional revisit to the Falkland Islands where he served 25 years ago.

Terry Barnes, of Silverdale Close, north west Ipswich, was just 19-years-old when he was sent to serve in the Falklands War in April 1982.

This month, he was invited along with 250 veterans to spend a few days on the islands off Argentina to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the war and Remembrance Day.

As well as visiting battle sites and getting a tour of the islands, the group were also given an evening reception and some laid wreaths at the cenotaph in San Carlos.

Mr Barnes, 45, said: “It was such a privilege to be asked to go on this trip. I found it really quite moving and emotional.

“We got to visit the battle sites and discovered there were a lot of the minefields left. There is still a big military presence. I had forgotten how cold it was and what the terrain was like-very rocky and mountainous.

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“It brought back a lot of memories. I haven't had the opportunity yet to sit down and look through the pictures and reflect on everything.”

After leaving St Alban's School when he was 16, Mr Barnes joined the 40 Commando Royal Marines and was soon sent to the Falklands to embark on one of the toughest jobs.

In 1987, the father of one left the marines, went to university, and eventually became a lecturer at West Suffolk College.

Seeing the young troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has reminded Mr Barnes about the importance of support.

He added: “It brings back the reality of how young we were. These people serving in places like Afghanistan are so young and without support, it can cause a lot of problems.

“On our tour, there were 80 guys who suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome afterwards. I think a lot of the time, the Falklands War gets forgotten.”

The trip was financed by a lottery grant and the islands' population also raised an impressive £60,000 to host the event.

Do you have memories about past wars that you wish to share? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The war was triggered by the occupation of South Georgia by Argentina on 19 March 1982, followed by the occupation of the Falklands. It ended when Argentina surrendered on 14 June 1982.

Some 252 British servicemen died and 655 Argentine servicemen died during the conflict. More than 10,000 prisoners of war were taken.

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