Sunday, 25 February 2018

Series of talks to Swedish students

While at this years Burns night I had the pleasure of being seated next to a very enthusiastic lady who couldn't seem to get enough of my conversation. Either that or she was extremely polite and couldn't find a way to make me shut up :) Gunilla thank you so much for putting up with me

Anyway it turned out that Gunilla is a teacher and she invited me to come to her school and give a series of 1 hour talks to her students about my experiences in the Falklands War. I took her up on the offer and then promptly put it to the back of mind until a couple of weeks later when an email popped up with suggested dates.

School in Sweden is actually very different from what I remembered. No school uniform, classes that were mixed ability (we had classes where all the top students were grouped together), everyone does the full curriculum, no dropping of subjects so they did 17 subjects not the 8 I did. Lastly discipline was lax, a couple of the girls put their heads down on the desktops and dozed, and no I wasn't boring!! :P Also they had little homework because the idea is that they should have a childhood and that there is plenty of time for study as they get older. Very different I can tell you from my days

So I have just finished the talks and I must say, from my side, what an enjoyable time I had. I must admit this was my first time giving the talk to such a young crowd and also to an audience who didn't have a clue to what I was talking about. Anyway as part of the exercise they were asked to write, in English, their reflections on my talk which I am including here.

I must thank all the students for not falling asleep (well there were a couple of exceptions) and for showing interest and asking some interesting and thought provoking questions. I would also like to congratulate them all on their English as I would have been challenged at there age to write an essay in French

Some reflections from pupils, year 9, Sjöstadsskolan 2018-02-23

The Falkland War

I think Steve described the war and his feelings in great details for an example when he described how everyone had not taken a shower in a month and how he was scared.

It was good to get information from a person who fought in the war, you get information that you would not get from a website from the internet for an example he described his feelings and on the internet there are no feelings involved, there is only facts.

He described the places where the war went down in more detail. He also described how the situation was on the battlefield for an example how rough the ground was to walk on. On the internet you can’t find information on when they came home with the boat a lot of soldiers were missing and Steve described some of the soldiers family were sad because they were missing a family member.

I thought it was a very good presentation, very interesting when he described the scenes in his perspective and I actually learned a lot from his presentation not only about his perspective as a soldier but also a lot about the war. It was very emotion waking when he talked about personal experiences that he had in the Army. It was also very sad that he wanted to work in a tank but he couldn’t because of his height. In his presentation we learned that it was a very hard time for the great Brittan and country’s soldiers, because they had limited time to take over the main city in Falkland’s. They were in a time stretch because they needed the special forces to arrive before they had taken over the Falklands. I really enjoyed his presentation and I truly believe that the school should do more of these types of presentation because you learn more and u get to know about personal experiences.

Reflection of the lecture

I thought the lecture was very interesting and he told us about how and his friends journey in the falkland. So they journey to the island was really though it was a cruiser filled with like 4000 people and it was packed. I think they refilled supplies on a island called Saint Helena out from the west side of south africa. When they arrived most of the british boats had gotten gunned down by airplanes from the Argentine side. All of their helicopters got wiped so they had to get their most valuable ship to get them from the south side to the west side of the east Falklands.

I thought it was really cool how calm he was about talking about the weapons and that they had to carry their equipments that weigh around 80 kilos the same. They had to carry these big guns with them that weigh around 120 kilos and they had to carry all that with them. I also thought how interesting it was with their strategy about attacking tumbledown was a really cool but it was also a suicide mission because they didn’t know about what was on the mountain. They used a maneuver strategy where they attacked another mountain to draw attention and they succeeded. One of the argentine forces on tumbledown retreated to the mortar line which made it much easier for them.

I also liked when he talked about his close death experiences was really cool he talked about big waves washing over the decks on the boat and that they had to defend the boat while big waves came washing in. The coolest one when was they were on Tumbledown and he had to crawl to friendlies because they thought his crew were their enemy, he also had to scream that to not shoot.

Fakland war lecture – Reflection

Last friday a man called Steve Cooks came to our school and held a presentation. The presentation was about an hour long and contained Steve’s journey through out the war. The war was between Great Brittan and Argentina year 1982. Steve joined the army at sixteen years of age. Steve told us mostly about the practical part of the war from his perspective, not so much about the psychic impacts that the war must off given. The subject may be sensitive but I would off found it more interesting to learn more about the trauma off a war.

Reflection – Falkland war

I think it was very brave of him to do this lecture. Some people may not have been able to talk like that about the war. He talked very deep about the war and shared a lot from his experience, the times when he was scared for his life and when his friends in the army died. He did talk a lot about military stuff and about things, many of us I the class didn’t understand.

I didn’t learn much because there was a lot of things he talked a lot about so it became uninteresting after a while. Nothing really happened, he was just talking about the same things the whole lecture and it became quite boring after some time.

However, some things where interesting like when he where talking about he took care of his friends that had been injured after getting shot and hit by bombs.

Another thing that was interesting was when he shared with us when their own team bombed them. They have a password so they wouldn’t bomb themselves but they didn’t hear them screaming. So he had to crawl over the field to let them know that they were hurting their own side.

I thought the lecture with Steve Cooks was very good. I thought it was both instructive but also very interesting. It was a long lecture so I am impressed that Steve Cooks managed to keep people's interest. It was very exciting to hear about the war and it became even more exciting because he attended in the war. It feels much more real because he could talk about his own experiences in the war. For example, it was very exciting to hear about when he almost died in a battle. It was also very interesting to hear how tough it was for the soldiers in the battle. For example, they did not have much clothes even though they sometimes battled when it was below freezing.

Reflections on Steve Cocks presentation on the Falkland War

It was a long but interesting presentation about a war that I hadn’t heard of before (we did research about it). It gets even more “real” when the story is told by a person that both witnessed and experienced it firsthand. I get the feeling that we as listeners get more intrigued to listen to his story. When you have taken part in it yourself and therefore witnessed it with your own eyes can you share your real life experiences more accurate. He could tell us exactly what he felt during some of the most crucial and life-threatening moments to really give us an insight of the life of a solider during war.

Reflection on the lecture

I thought the lecture was very interesting, I also that Steve had a lot to say. I really liked when he was telling us about how he and his friends in the army had to take a boat around the island just to get to the other side and how hadn't showered for an entire month when the war ended. I really enjoyed that he had a lot of pictures and videos with him that he showed us. I had no idea that the people who fought in the war where so young. I also didn’t know that you didn’t get to choose what position you got in the army when you join. The biggest shock was to see someone in real life who fought in a real war. I felt like I should show him extra respect somehow. But I still felt like maybe that was unnecessary and that he was probably just like any other grown up. I think I learnt a lot about how it was during a war and how it looked. My favorite part of the lecture was when he talked about when he realized that the opponents were just like them. Normal young adult boys.

Reflection – The Falkland War

I didn´t learn a lot from Steve Cocks because he was mainly talking about military stuff, stuff that I don´t know the meaning of. However, when he talked about the war and how he experienced the war, the things I could understand, then it was very interesting but still, it wasn´t a lot to learn. He´s presentation was very good and it made want to hear more even though I didn´t learn as much as I thought I would. He didn´t talk to fast so it was easy to understand what he was saying and his pictures fit together with what he was talking about. At the end of the day it was a good lecture and I learnt a little bit but not as much as I thought.

Reflection – Falkland war

I thought that the presentation was very interesting. He told us that he was in the war by himself. I think that is more interesting when a person have experience things by them self than when people lecture about stuff that they haven’t experienced about. I think he was interesting too. He was enthusiastic and friendly. He answered all the questions we had with passion and I noticed that he was very glad to be here today and spread his life story.

I think the war was horrible. I felt so bad for him when he told us that he was near to die once. He said that he could feel the wind near his ears when the bullets passing by. When he relies that this is not going to work did he pretend to die and he threw himself on the grown. He said that he was laying there for about an hour and if I was he, I would be so scared. Think by yourself, you laying on the ground. Dirty and alone. You relies that you could die that minute before but you are smart. You pretend to be dead, but you know that its people around you that wants to kill you so you cannot stand up now for a while. Wouldn’t you be scared? This is so horrible and when I hears his story, it’s really concerned that this has really happened. Then I start thinking of that this horrible wars are still going on in the world. Come on people its 2018, why are people still fighting for money, politics and countries? I do not understand.

It must be so frustrating to as a mother, father and family to know that he could die any minute, and it must be so frustrating for him to not know if he was going to meet his family again. I don’t remember if he told us about his family or something around that, so I don’t know if he had a good relationship to his family but anyways, it must bin a hard time for him. Fortunately did he survived the war and come home safe to his parents and family but he told us that many off his friend did not make it.

His passion and empathy did it more interesting to listen to him. He was a very interesting person too. He had much energy and was so happy. it was noticeable that he could what he was talking about. I think that he has put down many years to do this power point because it was so much important and interesting facts in it.

The war was between Argentina and Great Britain and after the presentation, I thought the war was so interesting so I read more on the internet and found much more interesting things.

One more thing he told was funny. When he joined the army he wanted to drive tanks but when he said that to the leaders, they told him that he was too tall.


Thursday, 25 January 2018

2PARA

Hi Anybody have a copy of the official 2PARA report written by David Benest?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A cold night in June

Just finished reading A Cold Night in June by Robert Lofthouse You find the link to the book in library section A very well written personal account of the brutal fight to take Longdon. I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a first hand account of what it was like to be a young infantry soldier. You could almost feel yourself there

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Crags of Tumbledown

Stole this from a private Facebook group I am a member of but I am sure nobody will mind me reposting this

The Crags Of Tumbledown

In the summer of 1982 (aged, 41) I was a part-time disc jockey running a small mobile discotheque.

We had been on the road for four years entertaining at a variety of different functions throughout the South-East of England.
...

One day I received a contract from my agent asking me to 'entertain the troops at RAF Chessington'. This was something of a mystery. I had often visited Chessington Zoo but had never seen an RAF base there.

I asked around and found that RAF Chessington was actually a convalescent camp. Mystery solved. On the agreed date we presented ourselves at the main gate and were shown to the building wherein the disco was to be held.

But then the next mystery began to set in. Having entertained troops before, you tend to get a feeling who's who. The navy are different in their attitude and behaviour from the army, and the Air Force totally different from both of these.

My audience on this particular night was on average six feet twelve inches tall, spoke in broad Scottish accents and was swathed from head to toe in bandages and plaster casts. They were definitely not airmen as I had expected.

I puzzled long and hard trying to figure out exactly who these chaps were. From time to time they handed me a record entitled 'Crags of Tumbledown' to play. It was a piece of bagpipe music and each time I played it my audience went absolutely wild.

And then it suddenly clicked that my audience that night were the Scots Guards, the walking wounded and survivors from the troopships Sir Tristram and Sir Galahad that had been bombed by the Argentineans at Bluff Cove in the Falklands.

These were the guys that had stormed the machine gun posts at Mount Tumbledown. I felt so humbled. The rest of that evening was so emotional; it was a memory I'll keep forever......

John Clancy

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

New Video on my YouTube channel

Added a new video to my YouTube channel

https://youtu.be/8gZxoNJzYtQ

This is footage taken during the battle and shows shamoolies and tracer over Tumbeldown. There is a voice over and commentary so I am thinking that this comes from some documentary

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

3 Days in June

Just finished reading 3 Days in June

Check out the link in my library section for a copy of the book

I was moved so much by the book that I just had to review it on Amazon as its by far the best book I have read addressing a specific battle

Its told exclusively through eye witness accounts from both sides interspersed with the radio logs between various call signs. Therefore the book is dealing purely with the events as they unfold told through the eyes of each of the companies and sub units that were there

A must read for anybody interested in the Falklands War and particularly Mount Longdon and 3 PARA

Well done the Para's!