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Date: 29 Nov 2011 01:14:01
Title: A Moment of Sombre Reflection

Date: 28 November 2011

Time: 1200 LT  1500 UTC

 

Ewen Southby-Tailyour is a remarkable man who has made an indelible impact on the history of the Falkland Islands. In the late 1970’s he commanded the detachment of Royal Marines in Stanley. During that period, being a keen sailor, he spent a great deal of time exploring the islands, its beaches and anchorages. Taking scrupulous notes he came to know more about the coastline of the islands than anyone else. When Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982, Ewen went to his bosses and said he might be able to help. He produced his detailed pilotage notes on every conceivable landing spot on the islands. His knowledge was invaluable to the British Task Force that liberated the islands, and Ewen played an active part as a Royal Marines officer in the campaign.

 

During that campaign, the lives of many brave young soldiers, sailors and airmen were lost. One of the tragedies involved a landing craft “Foxtrot Four” manned by Royal Marines under Ewen’s command, that was rocketed whilst manouevering in Choiseul Sound, close to Goose Green. Eight men died. Their bodies have never been recovered.

 

After the conflict, Ewen wrote the definitive pilot book on cruising in the Falkland Islands and it is the bible for the few yachts that venture this far. Before I left for this adventure Ewen asked me, if I were to be in Choiseul Sound, whether we would pass by a position one nautical mile south of Johnson’s Island – the exact point where the tragedy took place – and pay our respects. 

 

At 1500 UTC this afternoon, Mina2 stopped at this position where we observed a one minute silence in remembrance of these brave men and, at Ewen’s request, poured a libation of whisky for each of the eight men into the waters above their graves. It was a moving moment for all three of us.


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