A former Royal Navy seaman has returned to the Falkland Islands for the first time in 33 years since his ship was hit by an Argentine missile.
Phil Davy, of Walton Gardens, Grantham, counts himself lucky as he says, but for circumstances, the exocet missile that was fired at his ship could well have killed him. Thirteen of his shipmates died in the attack.
At the end of march he had the chance to go back with his company, Cathodic Protection Co Ltd, based in Grantham, which won a contract to test equipment at the RAF base on the Falklands.
Although not directly part of the testing team, Phil was given the opportunity to travel with them to carry out the work and visit the various memorials around the island dedicated to the military personnel lost in the conflict on both sides.
Phil was a weapons engineering mechanic on the ship. At 6.35am on June 12 Glamorgan was hit by a missile fired from a makeshift launcher on the back of a lorry. The ship was 18 miles out to see and was turning away when she was hit, avoiding an even worse fate. She returned to England after the war.
On his return to the islands, Phil visited the various battle sites, including the spot where the Exocet missile was fired at his ship. But it was the many memorials that Phil found moving, as it brought back many memories of the conflict and friends lost.
Phil said: “It was very moving and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to go down there.”
He added: “I was fortunate enough to be able to drive round East Island, where most of the fighting during the conflict took place. It was hard to imagine that amongst the serene solitude of this isolated and beautiful landscape, hard battles were fought.
“We visited several memorials scattered round the island, including those to Royal Navy, Army, Marine and RAF military who sadly lost their lives, and the graveyard of the fallen Argentinian soldiers. But obviously it was the memorial to my shipmates from HMS Glamorgan that brought back the memories and emotions of such a difficult time.
“I am very grateful to Cathodic Protection Co Ltd to have been able to go back to the Falklands. The people are so friendly and, as a returning veteran, I was made to feel so welcome. It was an emotional few days and the memories will live with me forever.”
In July 1982 the Journal reported on Phil’s return home and being reunited with his family on the front page. A picture with the story shows Phil with his mother Christine, sister Teresa and girlfriend Lesley, who is now his wife. They have two children and 11 grandchildren.