May Last Post

We continued our Falklands theme, hearing a brief history of key events from the war during the month of May 1982, particularly the loss of several ships and consequent loss of life.

We welcomed representatives of the Woking Royal Naval Association with their Standard on parade.

Our poem was again by Falklands veteran Tony McNally entitled Screaming in Silence. Words used here with permisison:

I’m screaming in silence its deafening me
You cannot hear me yet your talking to me
I see your lips moving and the blink of your eyes
Its just a blur and a buzzing like a corpse full of flies
In this bubble of pain I cannot escape
Your smiling at me now my smile back a fake
I want to run but I’m glued to my seat
Sweating and shaking and tapping my feet
A pain in  my chest and my mouth bone dry
I grin and I nod but I just want to cry
Pull yourself together I hear some say
But I’m stuck in 1982 on a cold sunny day
I’m no longer a soldier but my mind disagrees
It keeps sending me back to those terrible seas
You finish your talk and then smile and leave
Leave me  back in my bubble with the dead that I grieve.

We remembered three individuals from the war and a French national from the second world was buried in Brookwood Cemetery.

Our first Individual Remembrance was Royal Engineer Staff Sergeant James Prescott. HMS Antelope was attacked by Argentine aircraft and several bombs hit the ship but not all went off. The ship limped close to shore where bomb defusal experts attempted to diffuse the two bombs that failed to explode. It was during this that one of the bombs exploded, killing Staff Sergeant Prescott. He was 37 years old.

Our second Individual Remembrance was Air Engineering Mechanic (Radio) 1 Adrian John Anslow of the Royal Navy. AEM Anslow was in board the Atlantic Conveyer when it was hit by an Exocet missile on 25th May. He was 20 years old.

Our third Individual Remembrance was Able Seaman (Sonar) Derek K Armstrong of the Royal Navy. HMS Ardent was bombed by a number of Skyhawks 21st May and AS Armstrong was among 22 killed that day. He was 22 years old.

French national Sergeant Marc Lemouser of the Free French Air Force was serving with 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit RAF when he was killed along with three crewmates when their Halifax bomber suffered an engine fire and crashed in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Initially buried in Haverfordwest, three of the crew repatriated to France, and Sgt Lemouser was reburied in the French Plot. Brookwood Military Cemetery.

We had five Standards on parade. The Union Flag was carried by our Senior Standard Bearer Tom Milne, the Brookwood Last Post Standard was carried by Neil Teague. Eddie Jones carried the French Tricolour, Keith Tarling carried the Woking Royal Naval Association Standard and Norman Holden paraded the Royal British Legion Bisley, Knaphill and West End Branch Standard.

At the end of the ceremony, the Standards were inspected by the military historian, David Stewart.

The Last Post was sounded by Mrs Ruth Moore and our Parade Marshal was Ian Cartwright.

Thanks to Alan Meeks for the photographs.