News about the Falkland Islands,
||Neil Wilkinson from the HMS Intrepid, the
1982 Falkland Islands - Malvinas War and how he shot down the pilot who sunk the HMS
Coventry. Overview of the War.
This is a very unique exhibit with exclusive pictures and stories from Neil Wilkinson the man who shot down the Argentinean Pilot who sunk the HMS Coventry. This exhibit actually has a photo of the 40mm Cannon Shell Cartridge that shot down the A-4 Skyhawk that Lt. Mariano Velasco from Argentina. Put your name in the guestbook and tell us your story of the Falklands War. Islas Malvinas, la guerra de Malvinas.
Neil Wilkinson desde el HMS Intrepid, las Islas Malvinas 1982 - Guerra de Malvinas y cmo se derrib el piloto que hundi el HMS Coventry. Vista general de la guerra. Esta es una exposicin muy especial con sus fotografas y las historias de Neil Wilkinson, el hombre que dispar por el piloto argentino que hundi el HMS Coventry. Esta exposicin tiene en realidad una foto de la Shell 40mm Cannon cartucho que derrib la A-4 Skyhawk que el teniente Mariano Velasco de la Argentina. Ponga su nombre en el libro de visitas y contarnos su historia de la Guerra de las Malvinas. Islas Malvinas, la guerra de Malvinas.
|Jet Fighters||Motorcycles||Corvettes||Ships||Spacecraft||Tanks||Martin Guitars|
Neil Wilkinson's Official Facebook Page
Click Here to see the making of the NEW Movie,
If anyone has any photos or stories that they would
like to share and add to this page,
please contact me at the bottom of the page.
Click Here's a link to YouTube where a U.S. Pilot and North Vietnamese Pilot became friends.
ENEMY CONTACT "Time is a great healer and men’s
attitudes alter over time. We see men embracing and coming together to forgive
and forget. We all have a different story. I personally could not think of a
better and more pleasurable thing to do than walk up to a guy who was my enemy
from a very long time ago, take hold of his hand, look him in the eye and know
that it is all finally put to bed".
3-16-2013 Excerpts from a letter from Neil Wilkinson.
Last Fridays interview went well and I felt really good
10-29-2012 A thought from the webmaster to Neil Wilkinson.
Dear Neil, Think of this: Because of your quest to find Mariano, you have become one of the worlds top peacemakers. Because of Mariano's letter asking you to come to visit, and to bring your whole family and stay at his house, he has unknowingly and unavoidably became on the list of the worlds great peacemakers. You and Mariano may be nominated to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It's possible. Neil.
10-27-2012 Peace Talks: Neil Speaks at the Bradford University.
Afterwards I had many of the people coming up to me who were brought to tears by the way I presented the talk and said what I had to say, the message was strong even for them, they loved it. One guy even said to me, "you should make a movie of that", I said "we are" it was such a moving experience for them and I honestly thought that the momentum of our meet (Mariano and I) had died but I saw today and got so much positive feedback that I know it has not died and this is exactly what people want. I was never worried about the venue as it was full of Rotarians who thrive on peace.
Neal talks about his adventures trying to find Mariano and trying to go to Argentina for a visit to Mariano's house, making a documentary.
Neil completed his talks and views of the peaceful reunion of himself and the man that he shot down, Mariano Velasco. After the talk there was a slide show and video for everyone to watch. Here Neil stands quietly watching the video.
5-29-2012 Excerpts from a letter from Neil Wilkinson
I was talking to Mariano and his brother the other day, 27th May! It was great because we both had our own special Anniversary moment, he spent it with his family and so did I, but 30 years on that day is still as clear as a bell for me.
5-22-2012 Excerpts from a letter from Neil Wilkinson.
Yesterday I received a proof
copy of my captains book, it is really informative and I never realized how
lucky my ship was. On the first day the Argentines sent over 72 aircraft
and 25 of those flew directly towards us and dropped bombs, all missing us
From the Webmaster. I've worked with Neil since November of 2008 to make this project a reality. Since then I knew that the battle was fierce, but until I have read the information from his Captain, I never realized that it was that fierce. These sailors were really busy and the Argentine pilots were ferocious.
4-24-2012 A letter from Neil Wilkinson.
I dropped that Argentinean girl a message last night and asked her all about the seminar, I get approx half an hour to talk about peace and my aim is to get a strong message across, what she likes about my meeting with Mariano is that we both met without any politician or agreement in place, it was a natural process and this speaks volumes within the community of peace, so we could be on our way to becoming a peace envoy!
From the Webmaster: Neil isn't finished with this project, in fact the project is only started. Now that the documentary was made about the meeting of Mariano and Neil, the peace process is working through a series of seminars. When Neil went to Argentina to meet Mariano Velasco, he went there to make inner peace with himself and to make friends with Mariano, the man that he shot down during the Falklands War and make peace between the both of them and both of their countries. What's next?
A note from 5-22-2012 Thanks for the kind words, Jeff!
And yes the YellowAirplane page gets a lot of traffic on the Neil story.
That's fantastic. People love this story and it's fitting that they do because it's truly fantastic
A Special Letter for Commodore Pablo Carballo's
birthday on Dec. 11th.
Alejandro Chinchilla Janitocruz
From the Webmaster: This is exactly what Neal Wilkinson told me. He said that he was not a hero from England, but he was just a crewmember and everyone shared in the efforts and their battles. C. Jeff Dyrek
the documentary was made by the BBC through this website and was shown
Internationally on Jan16th 2012
The Documentary that Never Happened
1-15-2010 News update. We were going to make a documentary about Neil's trip to see Mariano last November. I didn't put this message on the page because I wasn't sure how Neil felt about letting everyone know about his ordeal. In the process of getting his tickets to fly to Argentina, Neil had to get vaccinations for the trip. He received his vaccinations and the producer of the documentary had almost everyone's tickets purchased for the trip when everything changed with a twist. A few days after receiving the vaccination, Neil started having problems with his bladder. When he had to go to the restroom, he couldn't, so he started to drive to the doctors office. He jumped in his car and backed it out of the driveway and almost wrecking it because he couldn't pick up his leg high enough to touch the brake.
This was a real eye opener. It turned out that the Hepatitis-A part of the vaccination attacked the protein coating of his nerves in Neil's lower spinal column allowing the nerves to short out, for lack of other words. Neil lost all functions below his belly button and the condition may have been permanent. Thanks to his good doctors and the English Health system, they properly diagnosed the problem and Neil is now able to walk and function, but he mentions that even little things are still a big effort.
At this time, the documentary company has not scheduled a new date for it's making, so we are all still hoping and praying that, both, Neil gets well, and the documentary will still be made. C. Jeff Dyrek
documental que nunca ocurrieron
This is the Documentary that Never Happened.
Neil Wilkinson hits the headlines in the TESCO Newspaper. Tesco is the company where Neil works.
The text in the article reads. A Falklands war veteran is about to embark on a remarkable journey and be reunited with an Argentinean pilot he thought he had shot down and killed during the conflict.
Neil Wilkinson, a dotcom picker at our Roundhay store in Leeds, spent 25 years tormented by the belief that he had caused the death of a solo Argentinean pilot Mariano Velasco.
And he only discovered that Mariano was actually still alive in 2007 when he spotted him on the History Channel speaking on a TV programme to mark the 25th anniversary of the conflict.
he knew immediately that it was the man he had shot down as a 22-year-old Royal Navy seaman as there had only been one attack by the British forces that day - 27 May 1982.
When Neil saw Mariano, now 60, on the programme he was still on crutches having damaged his knee ligaments either when he ejected or landed on the ground.
Neil said: "I just feel so happy really. I was thrilled to find out he was still alive and am so pleased to have been able to track him down. I have been onto websites and seen pictures of him with his daughters and grandchildren and it is a lovely feeling. It is dreadful to think that all of these years I thought I had killed him - but he was alive all the time and I didn't kill him at all."
Back in May of 1982 Neil was serving on board the assault ship HMS Intrepid and was posted on the anti-aircraft guns onboard the ship.
Neil, now 49, said: "During the conflict I was responsible for the shooting down of two Argentine aircraft one on 23 May and one on 27 May 1982. It was the 27 May incident that is particularly unique - the last time I saw the aircraft it was trailing smoke behind it and it crashed. Obviously it was a bit of a shock when I saw the pilot on TV all those years later - but I decided to try and trace him. After eight months of trying to find the pilot and many false leads I found him", said Neil, who joined Tesco in November 2008.
Neil is now finalizing his plans for the reunion which will take place this autumn at the exact spot where the aircraft crashed - and the pair will shake hands for the very first time.
Neil even got to meet the Queen in 1986 - four years after the Falklands conflict ended. By then he had left HMS Intrepid and was serving on HMS Brazen alongside a helicopter pilot by the name of Prince Andrew.
Said Neil: "We made the trip to London and whilst we were there Prince Andrew invited the Queen on board. I cant really remember what she said to me. I think she just asked me how I was and if I enjoyed the Royal Navy, which I did at the time." Neil eventually left the navy a few years later in 1989.
From the Webmaster: First of all look at the big smile on the Queen. She was obviously pleased by her conversation with Neil.
Now, after you have read the above article, you can see that killing a man, even an enemy soldier was very hard on Neil. This whole expedition to meet Mariano has all started from that feeling that Neil had for many years. His life has really picked up since he found out that Mariano was alive and that Mariano said that we were just doing our job. As you read throughout this exhibit, you will find that after Neil finally contacted Mariano, Mariano invited Neil and his family to come to Argentina to visit.
Now the Expedition is officially on. As the webmaster and working with this expedition from its conception, I have had over a thousand emails on this subject. We have had people from eight countries who have helped us with this expedition and webpage exhibit. I have had many hours talking to Neil on the phone and have, in the course of the expedition project, have met three other British Sailors and two Argentinean Pilots. It's really a delight to me for all of these dreams of working with Neil's project to come true. It's been a lot of work for both Neil and me before any company was interested in doing a documentary on this Falklands event, but now it's real.
I will be leaving for the Falklands a week before Neil and the TV crew arrive. On this project Neil is considered the Expedition Leader and I am the Expedition Motivator. There is one very important rule to make anything come true. First you must believe that it is real and then you must work hard and never quit. For any project of this magnitude, it takes about a year of work before it will happen, this time it took eleven months.
C. Jeff Dyrek, Webmaster.
Click Here's the Webmasters response to a letter from Neil Wilkinson about stresses from and about meeting people who were former enemies.
12-2-2009 This is a message forwarded to myself
from Rear Admiral
PGV Dingemans (Rtd) and the 1st Sea Lord.
It transpires that it took the
Skyhawks 18 seconds to fly from end to end of San Carlos, that
said, Intrepid was anchored at her
usual place in the
middle of the sound, which meant that in order to react.
load and fire the 40mm Wilky had only 9 seconds.
Even the 1st Sea Lord is
impressed by the speedy reaction which has gone down in the
History books as an act that potentially saved the lives of many
men. BZ- From Rear Admiral Peter
Dingemans (Rtd) and the Naval Secretary Office. Neil.
12/2/2009 Este es un mensaje transmitido a m mismo del Almirante PGV Dingemans (retirado) y el Seor del Mar 1. Resulta que tom la Skyhawks 18 segundos para volar de un extremo a otro de San Carlos, que dijo, Intrepid estaba anclado en su lugar habitual en el medio del sonido, lo que significa que, para reaccionar. cargar y disparar el 40mm Wilky slo 9 segundos. Incluso el Seor 1 del Mar est impresionado por la rpida reaccin que ha bajado en los libros de historia como un acto que podra salvar la vida de muchos hombres. BZ-del contralmirante Peter Dingemans (retirado) y la Oficina del Secretario de Marina. Neil.
While here at home it has given me food for thought and I got thinking
about how events in my life and everyone else's happen, if I hadn't have
fallen out with my girlfriend back in the 70`s I would never have joined
the navy, then I wouldn't be where I am now and so on.. What we don't realize is that our youthful years are
the benchmark for how we are going to cope with adult life and what we
become and do with our life's. Neil
While here at home it has given me food for thought and I got thinking about how events in my life and everyone else's happen, if I hadn't have fallen out with my girlfriend back in the 70`s I would never have joined the navy, then I wouldn't be where I am now and so on.. What we don't realize is that our youthful years are the benchmark for how we are going to cope with adult life and what we become and do with our life's. Neil
Mientras que aqu, en casa me ha
dado que pensar y me pensando en cmo los acontecimientos en mi vida y todos
los dems sucede, si yo no hubiese cado en desgracia con mi novia en los 70
`s que nunca se habra unido a la Marina , entonces yo no estara donde
estoy ahora, etc .. Lo que no se dan cuenta es que nuestros aos de juventud
son una referencia para saber cmo vamos a hacer frente a la vida adulta y
lo que ser y hacer con nuestra vida. Neil
Falkland Islands War A-4 Skyhawk Search Expedition.
About the Expedition Plans.
A message to the readers. This is a story of how a British Sailor, Neil
Wilkinson, shot down Mariano Velasco, the Argentinean Pilot who sunk the
HMS Coventry. The plane is shown below and the cannon shell is also shown
here too. The Falkland Island War was in 1982 and now in 2009 we are
planning an expedition to the Falkland Islands to find this crashed airplane.
We also want to get a photo of Neil and Marino standing together more than twenty
years later. Signing our guestbook would be a great support. Also,
you were in the Falkland Islands War, on either side, please write the webmaster
a letter at the bottom of this page. This will be a great help for
recognition of all of the veterans on both sides. Thank you very much.
From the Webmaster:
Click Here are some thoughts
1. To visit the Falkland Islands
2. To meet with Neil Wilkinson and Mariano Velascoat the same time
3. To make a written and photo documentary of the expedition
4. To find a Video Documentary maker would want to join this group
5. To have the entire group, including the pilot, Marino Velasco, to find the airplane in the Falkland Islands.
6. To recover the crashed airplane and place its remains in the museum in Port Stanley.
7. To show the effects of PTSD and how the war affected both British and Argentinean Soldiers.
8. To show the world that there can be friendship between former enemies and that it's not people that are enemies, a message of good will.
9. To document this event for the purpose of bringing the reality of war and the after effects of war to the general population of the world.
10. To have a good time.
I am searching for Ideas, Members, Photos, Stories, Help and Funding for this expedition.
If anyone has any additions or comments for this list, please write the Webmaster at the bottom of the page.
If anyone would like to join our expedition, let me know.
If anyone has any ideas whatsoever, please let me know.
If anyone would like to have their story told or add any photos or videos, you will be very welcome.
C. Jeff Dyrek, Webmaster, ..
The play has Premiered on Thursday June 10th and Friday June 11th at 7:30 pm at the Peace Memorial Hall, Upper Road, Meole Village, Shrewsbury SY3 9JP
Exhibit added 03-25-2010
Click on Pictures Below for Much Larger Views
I think one of the most heart breaking sights
for me, was sitting in my gun watching HMS Antelope explode!
That then brought it all home to us and it was a very tearful
moment, watching one of your own ships explode, when hours earlier
it had sailed past us.
We lost many ships and many good men, but so did they too. War is not just about two or three nations going on a battle field and killing each other, people seem to forget the aftermath and the people who have lost loved ones, the younger generation (although taught it in schools) don't fully appreciate what the armed forces of the world achieve.
Photo from Neil Wilkinson
Painting by Daniel Bechennec
Visit Daniel's Website for some fantastic Paintings
"Bomb Alley" seen from around a "Rapier" battery...
Click Here for more Falkland Islands / Malvinas Paintings
Mined Beach from the Falkland War, Near Port
Photo from Neil Wilkinson
The HMS Intrepid was classified as a LPD (Landing
The Intrepid was around 12,500 tons when fully loaded with troops and tanks.
|On the night of 19th May 1982, this was to be a very sad evening indeed onboard HMS Intrepid. That night I was on watch on the bridge, it wasn't a particularly nice night weather wise, but it never was in the South Atlantic, the waves were massive and the ships ploughed into the swell. The Intrepid was sailing southwards and we were cross decking troops from the Hermes. It is thought that while crossdecking a Seeking helicopter from Hermes hit an Albatross, causing the helo to ditch into the dark waters of the South Atlantic. All attempts were made to try and recover/rescue any survivors from the helo, sadly we lost 18 SAS men that night, 22 men in total, 9 survivors were miraculously pulled out of the icy water. I remember I was stood on the bridge wing, we had spot lights trained on the water searching for anything. It was indeed a very sad night.|
|The aircraft that flew past us in the Falklands were very fast and most of the time it was difficult to get a shot off at them but also there were a lot of shipping around and at the height they were flying at if you opened fire it would be possible to blow a big hole in a ship. I mainly opened fire when they were passing down the side of the ship or in the distance. When I did a tour of the Falklands again in 1985 we had an exercise where we had a simulate attack from Phantoms, they were very very fast and a very nice aircraft indeed. It was good that they were ours.|
Photo from Neil Wilkinson
Falklands War South Atlantic Tribute
C-207, Fuerza Aerea Argentina, Falklands/Malvinas War, 1982
Made by Hobby Master, this 1/72 scale die cast model
wonderfully replicates the A4 Skyhawk, C-207, flown by 1st Lt. Mariano
"Cobra" Velasco of the Argentine Air Force when he dropped three 1,000-lb.
bombs to sink the HMS Coventry during the Falklands/Malvinas War in 1982. It
features outstanding details such as engraved panel lines; a detailed
cockpit with an opening bubble canopy; removable stores including a bomb,
missiles and fuel tanks; an aerial refueling probe and a tail hook; optional
position landing gear with real rubber tires; a display stand and more.
Measures 6" long with a 4" wingspan and arrives ready to display.
I have found out some very interesting information today!I will tell you first about the pilot then tell you what I have found out at the end.
Mariano Velasco flew A4 Skyhawks with Grupo 5 Argentine Air force.He was probably a pilot before I even joined the Royal Navy.
Four years before I joined the navy a friend of mine from my home town of Leeds, West Yorkshire, joined the navy as an officer, he became the Gunnery Officer onboard HMS Coventry.Before the Falklands started I was given my next sea draft, it was going to be HMS Sheffield, Sheffield was sunk by an Exocet, I stayed on my original ship Intrepid.
When the Falklands broke out and we sailed there on the 23rd May that year I hit a Mirage fighter and he crashed.On the 27th May Mariano Velasco attacked and I managed to get 6 rounds off at the two planes that were incoming, although another ship eventually got recognition for the hit, it was given to me by my captain as he was on the bridge and saw everything.
Mariano Velasco, on the 25th May sunk the Coventry!My best buddy survived, but suffered as we all do.
Now the good bit.When I hit Velasco he went over the hill with a lot of smoke trailing from the rear of his aircraft, the history books state he was flying C207, but he was actually flying C215, how do I know?
Well the other day I was trawling through a lot of stuff about A-4 Skyhawks and came across a site that had C207 in a museum.
The shell is 40/60mm Bofors, that was my gun.
The engraving on the shell reads:
This shell was fired against a group of Mirages, the shell that hit Velasco was fired a few days Later.
I was on the starboard battery, I have to admit it made a heck of a bang when fired, I do believe that I could be the last person in the Royal Navy to hit an aircraft with a conventional weapon, that could be one for the Guinness Book of records?
The gun I fired was a single barreled Bofors gun 40mm, it is called 40/60mm purely because the shell casing is 60mm and the shell 40mm, it may be called something different by other navies.
On the 21st May we went into San Carlos and off loaded 3 para brigade who had travelled on our ship. Shortly after daylight broke the air attacks started. No amount of training can prepare you for this, it's for real. On the 23rd of May I opened fire on a group of Mirage's (6) and I blew the tail off one of them. Most days were the same, attacks, rest, attacks. On the 27th of May, nothing much happened all day, until late that afternoon. Velasco and his wingman had sneaked through and was now lining up for there attack, I was resting on a box of ammunition. The alarm sounded and I leapt into my gun and as they screamed into San Carlos, I managed to fire 6 rounds off at them. I then saw a lot of smoke coming out from behind his aircraft, he then went over the hill. It wasn't until we got back to the UK that my Captain confirmed to me that I had actually hit the Skyhawk, up until then I wasn't 100% certain.
In the history books HMS Fearless took credit for knocking Velasco out of the sky, but I now know different! My life after the Falklands took a dive and I suffered from PTSD and a lot of mental stresses due to the conflict. Last year with it being the 25th anniversary I put on a program and found that the pilot in the documentary was in fact the very same pilot I thought I had killed and I decided to track him down. After 8 months of trying I hit the jackpot and we are now in contact with each other, the feeling of guilt was lifted, he has confirmed to me that fearless could not have shot him down as previously recorded.
These stories I had heard happen from ex World War 2 vets, but I never thought it would happen to me.
Once again many thanks and I look forward to your replies. Regards Neil
11-24-2008 This is the first letter that Neil Wilkinson sent to the Webmaster at YellowAirplane.com, Jeff Dyrek.
I have just being on your website and found a model that is of interest to me.It is C207 Mariano Velasco`s A4 that flew in the Falklands. I am very pleased to see that he was one of the most successful Argentinean Skyhawk pilots. But on the 27th May 1982 his run came to an end although he did survive. I am in contact with Velasco on a regular basis, we have a lot in common, he flew his plane on many dangerous missions against us. I am hoping to eventually meet him some day in Argentina and shake his hand, I am really glad he survived, after all it was me who shot him down.
Neil WilkinsonEx AB Gunner HMS Intrepid
Click on Images for Close-Up View.
Ejecting in position 51 29' S / 59 32' W;
A letter from Neil Wilkinson. 12-13-2008I feel it may help more veterans who do read literature and maybe don't believe in ways round things. So if my story can help anyone who is in difficulty, then I am more than happy to do it. As you say though there have being so many veterans taken their own lives, the Government is now doing something about it, but it is a slow process in the UK.
I think the men and women of our countries have a very hard job in who they are fighting and any casualties or fatalities are deeply sad news. It is when they return home that the lack of care is not there for them, and speaking from my experiences they do not treat you with any respect or dignity.
I had to talk to a veteran a few months ago and he was messed up, but by the end of our chat although he was no better off, he felt better that he had somebody to talk to and by the end of it all I knew everything he had done in the Falklands, because I was willing to listen and we had a common connection.
1/48 Scale Model Reproduction of Mariano
This is the impact crater created by Mariano's aircraft. The nose cone of the A-4 Skyhawk is visible in the center of the crater. Photo by Adam Coleman.
Landing Gear of Mariano's A-4 Jet Fighter Aircraft after the plane crash. Photo by Adam Coleman about 2004.
An Actual Letter from Mariano Velasco,
Dear Mr. Neil Wilkinson
Recollections of Communications between himself
Photo from Neil Wilkinson
Victor Tankers used for Air to Air
Photo from Neil Wilkinson
The End of the War
Photo from Neil Wilkinson
Photo from Neil Wilkinson
Cruise Ship Canberra
Cruise Ship Canberra
Falklands War Ends and the Converted Cruise Ship Canberra Returns to Southampton
Close-Up of a War Memorial in Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands
Union Jack British Flag, Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands and Patagonia, Series
Map of Falkland Islands
Photo from Neil Wilkinson
The A4 is C207, Mariano Velasco's plane! the picture
is courtesy of Mariano
Arribillaga and the aircraft is in the Museo Nacional do Aeronautica,
Moron, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Photos taken Later aboard the HMS Brazen
Final Resting Place for the Aircraft Carrier
HMS Intrepid 2008
Photo from HMS Intrepid Website
The veterans who attended the book launch, please note the exhibits in the background. Neil Wilkinson our starboard gunner in the conflict is 2nd from the right. I (Mike Quinn - that's me- is on the 4th from the right at the back).
Photo from HMS Intrepid Website
Pictured in Fareham Creek the next morning where we gathered to see our old ship Intrepid, many of us for the first time in 25 years. The veterans are from the left, Steve Dickinson, Rab Carrigan, Russell Morgan, George Heron, Neil Wilkinson and Mike Quinn.
Photo from HMS Intrepid Website
The Intrepid's final destination in Liverpool, in September 2008, where she is being dismantled for recycling, and is contracted by the owners Leavesley International. The Leavesley company were very kind in allowing up 40 of our veterans to gather for a final goodbye to HMS Intrepid, our former home 25 years earlier. We had a fantastic day exploring our old ship whilst the memories came flooding back.
Photo from HMS Intrepid Website
The Leavesley company were very kind in allowing up 40 of our veterans to gather for a final goodbye to HMS Intrepid, our former home 25 years earlier. We had a fantastic day exploring our old ship whilst the memories came flooding back.
About Neil WilkinsonBorn in 1959 and lived in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. I didn't have the happiest of childhoods, my mum divorced in the late sixties and got involved with another man, he was ok to start with, then things started taking a turn for the worse, my elder brother and myself took the full brunt of it and we got regular beatings, what for we didn't know.
It got even worse for my mum when the guy actually hospitalized her, he then went for me for the very last time, he made the mistake of giving me time to pick up a carving knife and as he made his move so did I, i didn't stab him and just warned him that if he came any closer what would happen to him, he knew I meant it.
I suppose I joined the Royal Navy to escape from this sort of thing, I wasn't getting on with the foreman at work and he treated me like a dog, whistling me and give me mundane jobs.
I eventually left home in 1979 and signed up, I was loving it, I was in training learning my radar course when my father died and I was automatically taken off the course, then because there wasn't another course starting for some time I was left with 3 options, Steward, Gunnery or leave the navy and re-enlist at some other date.
There was no way I could go back, so I opted for the Gunnery school in Plymouth.
I loved every minute of the course and eventually got my first ship, it was waiting for me in Plymouth sound, HMS Intrepid, she was what is classed as an LPD (landing platform dock) and it was a daunting experience for me as the biggest ship I had ever seen was just in pictures.
We sailed that night, we went straight to Norway with a full embarkation of Royal Marines, the trips abroad were endless and after we had being to the West Indies and Med I was coming to the end of my time onboard Intrepid.
I had options, either go to a shore establishment or get another ship, I fancied the thought of getting another ship and travelling some more, my next draft came through and it was to be HMS Sheffield, a type 42 destroyer.
All this changed though in early 1982 when Argentina decided they would invade British soil, although when they did at first we had not got a clue where the Falklands were!
It became apparent that I would be needed to stay onboard Intrepid and a lot of men came back to Intrepid who had previously left her because the ship was going into a standby role.
So my draft to Sheffield was cancelled and I set sail with the ship, fully loaded with ammunition, stores etc and all got ready in two weeks.
We joined the rest of the task force, having being one of the last to be made ready, our ship was a vital piece in the machinery, we were to land 3 para in San Carlos.
The night before we landed the para's I was coming out of my mess and stood in front of me was a guy who 2 years previous had being a barman in my local bar pulling me pints of beer and was now in the para's, we had a good chat before he went off and got all his ammunition ready for the landings the next morning.
We closed up at action stations through the night, it was bitterly cold and dark, entering into San Carlos was so strange, there was no gun fire from the enemy, just the sound of ships dropping anchors!
As daylight broke the silence was short-lived, we were then subjected to a constant wave of aircraft ducking and diving into the bay and then in a flash gone, the pilots were very brave and courageous.
After sitting in my gun for over 31 hours we were eventually allowed to rest, I found a quiet spot and decided to write a letter home to my mum, telling her ho w much I loved her and that I didn't think I would be coming home, at least not alive!
Then before I went to sleep I prayed and cried myself to sleep, the next few days were similar.
When it was all over and I got home, my mum knew there was something wrong, she told me I wasn't the same person that went away, which is quiet understandable.
I left the Royal Navy in 1989. As the years rolled on I was having some major problems, my marriage was on the rocks and I was loosing it gradually, no money although I always worked.
I was eventually diagnosed with having PTSD, for people who have never had this or heard of it, it is one of the most horrendous things that could happen, it changes a person and you have to live with it forever. I relive the Falklands every day of my life, but I learnt how to control my problem, not by doctors or shrinks, by finding out how it all works, learning techniques and making myself aware when the problems are going to hit me, how to cope with it all and it works for me.
The Royal Navy like every branch in the armed forces taught me discipline and how to live, i can honestly say it was the best ten years of my life and I would join again if I had my time again.
I am now remarried and I have two children, plus two children from my previous marriage, my two boys are grown up are like brothers to me.
My life has recently become very interesting
lately after discovering that one of the pilots I was credited with
shooting down in the Falklands had survived, after 8 months of
trying to locate the pilot I eventually found him in February 2008,
we are in contact through the internet and I hope that one day we
A Letter from Mike Quinn (HMS Intrepid)
I must congratulate you on your superb website.
I am a former shipmate of Neil Wilkinson who has been contributing to your site, regarding his experiences on our ship, HMS Intrepid during the 1982 Falklands war with Argentina.
Please find attached some photo's from our website, Photo no1 was taken in Aug' 2008 at Eastleigh Museum Hampshire, for veterans to reunite, and attend a book launch, of a photographic book on the Falklands ships remaining in Fareham Creek, Portsmouth, whilst awaiting their final destination, the "scrap yard".
The book is called "Ghosts of the Falklands" published by Hampshire County Council. It was put together by Tom de Witt and Trevor Evans. The Photo's are of veteran ships Intrepid/Fearless/Glasgow and Cardiff.
I would like to add further information for you and your readers.
I must say, that the HMS Intrepid veterans came together when veterans attended the Falklands 25 Remembrance Parade in London in 2007. As a result, the website WWW.hmsintrepid.com was formed. We now have over 320 members, and the new veterans association is flourishing. We have had several meets, including in November a remembrance parade in our commanding officers home town of Cowfold in Sussex. On that day we met our former C/O for the first time since we served on the Intrepid. His name is Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Peter Dingemans DSO.
I would like to add, that your site is very supportive of veterans from all conflicts. Our own experiences must mirror those of many of your readers. Many of us have gone on and had happy lives, with their ups and downs, and some of us have not been so fortunate since serving our country.
It's natural to compare notes with your comrades on a reunion, as you would if it was an old workplace or school reunion. It was a most positive experience for us all, and for some of us their was a little anxiety in meeting up and going over old ground. However, what became apparent, straight away was the close bond and mutual respect we had for each other, often unspoken, and often demonstrated, depending on the persona of each individual.
The individual who struck me most, was Neil Wilkinson. Why?, because he was not loudest, he wasn't the largest and not the first person you would notice in a crowd.
Neil has been there and "got the t-shirt", Neil has a unique place in modern, Neil shot down 2 Argentine planes during his Action Station in "Bomb Alley", San Carlos water, where we discharged and supported troops ashore and supporting other Naval units.
Neil shot down these modern jets, in a Naval situation, with an old fashioned 40/60 Boffor gun. I might add, that this gun, which fired shells packed and stored in the second world war, was working, where more modern missile systems either afloat or ashore were not always so reliable.
Not only did he shoot these planes down, but in doing so protected with his comrades up to 500 members of the ships company at any given time, and also any ad hoc embarked forces at the time.
In 2007/8, Neil was out of work, he applied for jobs, maybe a 100 jobs, often without reply, he has suffered PTSD, indeed, at out first reunion he was out of work, but, its a measure of this man, he did not mention this fact in the reunion.
On finding this out, his story struck a chord with me, I knew his story, our story on HMS Intrepid must be told, because there is something in Neil's story that is extra ordinary.
I decided, that I would write a PLAY, in tribute to guy's like Neil, it will be our story onboard a warship in a modern conflict. I have no experience, my day job is a Fork-Lift driver in a warehouse, but someone has got to do it. It's been over 25 years now!.
Thanks again for this site and good luck to you and your readers.
Mike Quinn (Ex HMS Intrepid).
A Letter from Jeff Dyrek to Neil Wilkinson
Thank you again for all of your help and enthusiasm on this project. It's interesting how a single letter can get so many people involved. I am having brain storms again.
You mentioned that people may be offended. Look at Simon Weston, he is glad to put his hand forward for the help on this project. Look at Mariano's letter, he has graciously invited the very man who shot him down, and your family to come and visit him. What a greater gesture of friendship and forgiveness can a man give. This is what I am thinking about the entire project. It's not to document you shooting Mariano down, or the fact that he sunk the HMS Coventry, it is to show that people are people and we must respect people and disrespect hate. You didn't shoot him down because you hated him and he didn't sink the Coventry because he hated them. But his letter and your attitude, both, show that hate was never a factor, you guys didn't even know each other, how could you hate each other. With the world pushing harder into a third world war, we need to fight that push by showing that it's not hate that drives humanity, instead it is our love for our brothers, no matter where they should live that opens our hands to friendship and help.
The greatest threat to all of humanity is hate. This project is a veterans military operation to show that it's friendship, charity and friendship that we need to embrace.
Thanks again and have a nice day,
Photo by Adam Coleman
In Argentina, the number of suicides among Malvinas war veterans is higher than the number of casualties from the war itself
En la Argentina, el nmero de suicidios entre los veteranos de guerra de Malvinas es mayor que el nmero de vctimas de la guerra en s
War is bad, and that about sums up the message of
Blessed by Fire (a.k.a. Illuminated by Fire), a
well-meaning but thinly written drama that boasts some dynamic
scenes of battlefront futility. To be fair, director Tristan Bauer's
emotionally potent drama did win the Best Narrative Feature award at
the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, and it has the distinction of being
the first Argentinean film to openly address the physical and
psychological devastation that resulted from the brief 1982 war
against British forces in the British-colonized Falkland Islands (or
Malvinas, as they're known in Argentina). The legacy of that
woefully imbalanced war is tragic beyond comprehension: In
Argentina, the number of suicides among Malvinas war veterans is
higher than the number of casualties from the war itself, and that
sad statistic crucially informs Bauer's story (based on a novel by
Engardo Esteban and Gustavo Romero Borri) about a present-day
journalist named Esteban (Gaston Pauls) who served in the Malvinas
war with Vargas (Pablo Ribba), who's now comatose and hospitalized
after attempting suicide with a drug-overdose cocktail. The film
flashes back-and-forth from the present to their experiences leading
up to and including the decisive battle on Mount Longdon (re-created
in a harrowing 20-minute sequence), and while Blessed by Fire
is certainly no Saving Private Ryan, its chaotic battle
scenes are impressively intense and painstakingly realistic, and
Bauer is equally effective in showing the miserably cold battlefield
conditions prior to the eruption of violence. As Esteban's memory
takes him back to the horrors of battle, his friend's present-day
suicide attempt resonates throughout the film, which is surely more
powerful for Argentinean viewers than for anyone else. We learn very
little about the central character, however, and Paul's performance
is too passively blank to draw us deeply into his emotional turmoil.
Still, this is one of the few films to deal with what has
essentially become a forgotten war, and Bauer's noble reminder
offers reassuring proof that Argentina's sacrifices will not be
forgotten. --Jeff Shannon
2 Documentaries Global Technologies and Tactics 1 - Falklands War 2 - Lebanon Falklands War: Seamlessly documented on land and sea by frontline British News footage, the Argentinean junta invaded the UK-controlled islands. Thousands of Argentine troops descended on the island, and easily overtook the small detachment of British troops that were stationed there. The UN Security council call for the withdrawal of the Argentinean troops and fostered futile negotiations, as British troops advanced by sea en masse. British planes viciously attacked Port Stanley from the air, shooting down Argentinean aircraft. A British submarine sank an Argentine cruiser, killing close to 400 crewmen. More blood was shed as the advancing British troops reached their destination of Port Stanley to dismantle the Argentinean forces. Argentina surrendered the land, after nearly 1,000 casualties and a bloody battle over the remote island. Lebanon: British News cameras impressively documented the frontline clash in 1975, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization began infiltrating Israeli borders with attacks that brought Israeli reprisals. Israeli strikes and raids were unable to control the growth of the PLO army. In June 1982, a terrorist group attempted to assassinate an Israeli ambassador. Israeli Defense Forces attacked Lebanon again, moving in to the country in an effort to drive out the terrorists. The PLO responded with a massive artillery and mortar attack on the Israeli population of the Galilee. The operation's initial success led officials to broaden the objective to expel the PLO from Lebanon and induce leaders to sign a peace treaty. Most of the terrorist groups in Lebanon have not yet been disarmed, contributing to ongoing antagonism over border control.
The 1982 Falklands War witnessed the largest deployment of British Army Special Forces since WWII--the Special Air Service, the Special Boat Squadron, and the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre conducted several spectacular raids during the war. One of the most successful, the attack by the D Squadron SAS against an Argentinean airfield on Pebble Island, proved the SAS motto--Who Dares Wins. But the war cost heavily on both sides--255 British and over 1,000 Argentineans died.
An A-4 Skyhawk Story from the
While I was stationed at NAS Lemoore, in Lemoore California, my friend Dan and I took a break and walked around to the side of the hanger to watch flight ops at night. It was almost instantly that we saw an A-4 Skyhawk coming in with its wheels up and at a higher approach angle than we expected. The plane hit the ground and there was a huge flash of light. We didn't actually see the plane hit because it hit the ground behind the hanger of VA-127 which was across from our hanger at VA-125. However, we did see the flash coming from behind the hanger. I can't actually remember what we did after this, but we must have ran across the street because I remember seeing the airplane on the ground and the pilot was opening the canopy.
These A-4 Skyhawks were real good at doing belly landings because of the low wing and the wing tanks that you can see in the picture above. The tanks were ground down, in half, and the flash must have come from the residual fuel in them. The next day we watched the plane being hauled past our hanger with a cherry picker truck. It looked like that there was zero damage to the plane and it also looked like it was just a toy hanging from that huge crane.
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This plane is a super accurate replica of Mariano Velasco's A-4 Skyhawk. In 1982 Mariano Velasco, from Argentina, used this plane to sink the HMS Coventry in the Falkland Islands War. A couple days later Neil Wilkinson, from England, aboard the HMS Intrepid, shot this plane down.
Years later, Adam Coleman flew to the Falkland Islands to find this plane and copy it exactly. Adam took detailed photos of every part of the crashed airplane and even took paint chip samples to replicate the original colors so that they exactly matched the real airplane. This model building exhibit shows both his model and also the real plane crashed on West Falkland Island. It was a fantastic job all the way around.
Click Here to See the Master Model Builders Exhibit Page
See Roberto Perz Dominguez and his Aircraft Model Collection
Ver Roberto Perz Domnguez y su Coleccin de Aviones de modelo
Argentina - Great Britain 1982 War for the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands
Battle Story of the Falklands
Neil Wilkinson in London 2007 - 2009
Photos taken Later aboard the HMS Brazen
The End of the Falkland Islands War
Making a Documentary
South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum
Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust
Visit the Official HMS Intrepid Website
Documentary - Expedition Video Shot List Overview
From an HMS INTREPID Sailor George Heron
Other Action Adventures
Airplane Models and Toys
Go to Yellow Airplane's own Online Museum
2010 World Peace Forum
More about the HMS Sheffield
More about the HMS Plymouth
More about the HMS Antelope
More about the Atlantic Conveyor
More about the HMS Intrepid
More about the HMS Hermes
More about the HMS Coventry
More about the HMS Invincible
More about the Harrier Jet Fighter
More about the A-4 Skyhawk Jet Fighter
More about the Mirage Fighter
More about the Falklands War
More about the Malvinas Guerra
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