On April 2nd 1982, 69 Royal Marines stood and defended the Falkland Islands from an invading Argentinean force. Now a campaign has been launched for this unit to be recognised.
Nick Williams, from Bournemouth, was one of the ‘bootnecks’ who fought bravely at Port Stanley before the island’s governor, Sir Rex Hunt, ordered a ceasefire to protect the islanders.
“We had our backs to the sea, we couldn’t escape, and at that stage it was certain death so, for me, it was the right thing to do because it saved lives – our lives and the Falkland Islanders that lived in the town.”
“Had that order not been given, there would have been carnage. We were willing to sacrifice our lives.”
But he said he faced ridicule as a result.
And now an online petition calling for a bar to add to the unit’s South Atlantic campaign medal has more than 3,700 signatures.
Military historian and author Ricky Phillips who started the petition said: “Most people of a certain age would remember the pictures of the Royal Marines laid out in the road with the Argentines standing around them.”
“These guys thought they might come back as heroes but when they came home they saw the newspaper reports, ‘Shame: Royal Marines surrender without a shot fired.'”
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “We fully recognise the debt of gratitude owed to all those who have served their country.”
“Every medal and clasp has strict criteria and we carefully consider every request.”
This petition is aiming for 5,000 signatures and will be delivered to the Minister of State for Defence: The Rt Hon The Earl Howe PC and the UK Government Minister at the MoD: Tobias Ellwood MP.