With the Falklands war coming to an end in June 1982, we focussed on key moments that happened in the month of June 40 years ago. We were also privileged to have visiting relatives of Private William James of the 13th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
During the months of April, May and June we had heard poems written by Falklands veteran Tony McNally. The BLP invited Tony to attend the June ceremony and read out his own poem, but unfortunately he was unable to attend. We were extremely grateful for an audio recording of his poem ‘Bullet Proof Youth’ that he recorded specifically for us to to play at the ceremony and is reproduced here with kind permission. We thank you Tony for the powerful message and the personal insight you have given us over the previous three months of your experiences in the Falklands War through your poetry.
Bullet Proof Youth by Tony McNally:
We remembered Private Richard John de Mansfield Absolon of the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment. 19 year old Private Absolon was killed on the night of 11/12 June in the Battle of Mount Longdon. He was awarded the Military Medal.
17 year old Private William James was killed on the first day of the battle of Passchendaele, 31st July 1917. He is listed on the Menin Gate in Ypres on Panel 22.
Unusually, we heard a second poem during this ceremony entitled War, written by Private Ellis Evans, better known by his bardic name Hedd Wyn who often wrote poems in the Welsh-language. Co-incidentally, he too was killed on the 1st day of the Battle of Passchendaele.
The Last Post was sounded by a student from Gordon’s School and we are grateful for her participation.
The BLP Standard was carried by Alan Lopez, with the Union Flag carried by Tom Milne.
During the ceremony, it was announced that BLP Member Dagmar Sizer had passed away since the May ceremony. Dagmar was often seen manning the refreshments wagon at The Trench Experience. The BLP sends its condolences to her husband Eddie Jones and family.