Falklands War veteran, Chris Humphreys, is heading back to the islands for the first time since he fought with the Royal Marines to defeat the Argentinian invaders.
The father of two from Shrewsbury will accompany a former comrade on the 8,000-mile, two-week trip, organised by the Falklands Veterans Foundation, a charity set up in 2002 to support former soldiers and help them come to terms with their experiences. The trip includes visits to Ajax Bay, Goose Green, San Carlos and Government House and will see Chris retrace his steps from the Two Sisters mountain range into Port Stanley, just one section of the 120 kilometre trek the Royal Marines famously yomped in 1982.
Back then, however, Chris descended Two Sisters after a firefight with the enemy, one of many battles in which Chris lost friends and comrades.
“All I remember is intense light, shouting, gun-fire and the sound of rocket launchers,” said Chris. “The sky was lit up with red tracer bullets from the enemy.
“The noise was overwhelming and, above this, there was the sound of our men shouting for the medics to help them.”
Chris, a manager at Grocontinental in Whitchurch, joined the Marines straight from school as a 16 year-old in 1979. In April 1982, he was in Asia undergoing jungle training when the Falkland Islands were invaded.
Chris recalls: “We heard that the Falkland Islands had been invaded by Argentina and, of course, like everyone else, I hadn’t ever heard of the Islands. One of my mates said they were off the tip of Scotland.
“Four days later, aircraft arrived to transport us to Hong Kong where we had three days’ leave before being flown back to RAF Leuchars in Scotland, where we swapped our jungle kit for winter gear. We were bound for the Falklands.”
Chris was part of the British Task Force that recaptured the islands after a short but bitter war, in which 655 Argentinian and 255 British soldiers lost their lives. Three Falkland Islanders were also killed in the conflict.
He added: “I remember that on our way home from the Falklands, none of us had any concept of the celebrations going on in Britain. For us, it was just a case of doing our job.
“It remains, though, an important part of my past and this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go back. I will be able to relive what happened and remember the mates I lost.”