Falklands War veteran lays town’s 40th anniversary wreath

Former Royal Marine and Falklands War veteran Bob Priest, right, with members of the Campbeltown branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, at Saturday's memorial service.
Former Royal Marine and Falklands War veteran Bob Priest, right, with members of the Campbeltown branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, at Saturday's memorial service.

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A Falklands War veteran laid a wreath at Campbeltown War Memorial last Saturday, marking 40 years since the end of the conflict.

Former Royal Marine Bob Priest, a friend of the Campbeltown branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland (RBLS), which organised the anniversary memorial service, served with the 45 Commando unit.

He fought at the Battle of Two Sisters on June 11 and 12 1982, during the 10-week conflict after Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory in the south-west Atlantic Ocean, on April 2.

Former Royal Marine Bob Priest laid a wreath at the foot of Campbeltown War Memorial last Saturday, marking 40 years since the end of the Falklands War.
Former Royal Marine Bob Priest laid a wreath at the foot of Campbeltown War Memorial last Saturday, marking 40 years since the end of the Falklands War.

Although widely known as the Falklands War, war was never officially declared by either side.

The first recorded landing at the Falklands was by British Captain John Strong in 1690 and the archipelago became a British Crown Territory in 1841, but Argentina has long claimed sovereignty over the islands.

A military junta had been in control of Argentina since 1976 and, following the appointment of General Leopoldo Galtieri as president in December 1981, plans to take the Falklands by force were drawn up in the belief the UK would not respond militarily.

However, Britain mounted a brave defence after Argentinian forces invaded and seized control of the Falklands’ capital Port Stanley and its territorial dependency South Georgia.

After weeks of fighting in the air, on land and at sea, the conflict ended with an Argentine surrender on June 14, returning the islands to British control.

In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities.

Last Saturday, at 11am, shortly after Mr Priest laid the wreath in memory of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the conflict, piper John McGeachy played The Crags of Tumbledown Mountain.

Falklands War veteran Bob Priest salutes after laying Campbeltown's commemorative wreath.
Falklands War veteran Bob Priest salutes after laying Campbeltown’s commemorative wreath.

The song was composed by Pipe Major James Riddell during the Falklands Battle of Mount Tumbledown on June 13.

He wrote the piece on the back of a ration packet and, after the battle was won and the mountain retaken from the Argentines, he famously played the first rendition of his new composition from the top of Mount Tumbledown.