Marines make Falklands journey

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A FORMER Arbroath marine is to make an emotional return to the Falkland Islands to mark 30 years since the conflict.

Clive Pattle, who still lives in the town, will be part of a 50-strong team of veterans taking part in the pilgrimage this month which has been organised by the South Atlantic Medal Association and is sponsored by the Falklands Island government.

Clive was a member of 45 Commando’s Signals Troop in 1982 and during the battle of the Two Sisters was part of the tactical headquarters team led by commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Whitehead.

He will also be joined by former support company marines Chris Goss and Sam McLeod.

They will have the honour of laying a wreath at the unit memorial on the Two Sisters on behalf of the Arbroath based north east Scotland branch of the Royal Marines Association.

During the visit to the Falklands, Clive will have the chance to retrace some of his steps of the famous 60-mile ‘yomp’ across the island from San Carlos to Port Stanley, in appalling weather conditions.

He explained: “It will be an experience to revisit those places such as Ajax Bay, Teal Inlet and of course Two Sisters and I am very grateful for this opportunity to return to the islands for one final time.”

The men of 45 Commando were called into action on April 2, 1982, and sailed 8,000 miles to play a key role in recovering the Falkland Islands from Argentine occupation.

And lacking helicopters they completed their famous ‘yomp’ across the island before fighting in a crucial night battle for the Two Sisters, twin 1,000 foot peaks.

The mountains were an important landmark to conquer as the peaks were key to the defensive positions around Stanley.

Despite extreme hardship, their morale and training ensured they remained a cohesive fighting-fit body of men.

Unfortunately, 13 men from the unit were killed during the operation.

During their 10-day visit to the islands, Clive and the other veterans will be welcomed by local families who will accommodate them.

They will attend several memorial parades, some of which will also be attended by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent.

The group will also have he opportunity to visit other battle grounds and memorials as well as other places of interest on the islands, as well as taking in the abundant wildlife.

The pilgrimage to the Falkland Islands is just one of many events that have taken place this year to mark 30 years since the Falklands War.

In June, a reunion took place at RM Condor with men travelling from as far a field as Thailand and New Zealand to attend.

Guest of honour at the event was former commanding officer Major General Andrew Whitehead DSO and a tour of the Woodlands Memorial Garden was given.