Veterans return to the Falklands Islands for the first time in 42 years to pay respects to fallen friends and fellow shipmates

Veterans, supported by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Greenwich Hospital, expressed profound gratitude for the opportunity to pay respects to fallen shipmates and friends during a pilgrimage to the Falkland Islands.

Featured from left to right: Kevin Higgins, Tony Williams, Dave Young, Mike Warren, Tim Jenkins, Kevin Clark, Derick Sullivan, Lee George-Barnes

A group of veterans, led by former Royal Navy chef Mike Warren, embarked on a poignant journey from the 18th to the 26th of March, marking their return to the Falklands for the first time since the conflict of 1982. A significant aspect of their pilgrimage was the visit to the HMS Coventry memorial on Pebble Island, honouring crew members who lost their lives on 25 May 1982.

The trip aimed to provide closure for veterans, addressing feelings of loss and guilt while forging new memories and lasting friendships. Former Royal Navy Marine Engineering Mechanic (MEM) Tony Williams was among the returning veterans. Opening up about his poignant experience, he said:

“This trip has helped me enormously with my state of mind, as I always wanted to go to the HMS Coventry memorial and pay my respects to my good friend, Steve Tonkin, who was sadly lost that fateful day.”

Williams continued,

“The opportunity to go to the memorial has and will help my state of mind and has allowed me to come to terms with it. For this, I am extremely grateful to the charity for facilitating my return to the islands, paying my respects and meeting 9 strangers who will no doubt become lifelong friends.”

Expressing appreciation for the positive feedback received, Mandy Lindley, Director of Relationships and Funding at the RNRMC, stated,

“My heartfelt thanks go out to each individual who has generously shared their personal experiences of this trip with us. Your openness and willingness to connect have been nothing short of inspiring, reminding us of the profound impact our funding can have.”

Jonathan Ball, Director of Grants at Greenwich Hospital, emphasised the importance of joint funding to facilitate connections among former Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel, commenting:

“Supporting initiatives, such as this poignant trip to the Falkland Islands, helps keep veterans connected with their wider military community, engaging with colleagues and friends. We aim to foster a sense of belonging and ongoing support among veterans.”

The RNRMC and Greenwich Hospital aim to enable beneficiaries to participate in remembrance and comradeship events and activities.

For more information about the RNRMC please visit www.rnrmc.org.uk or contact mygrant@rnrmc.org.uk.

For more information about Greenwich Hospital please visit www.greenwichhospital.co.uk.

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