Neil Wilkinson, Neil Wilkinson, Sailor in the Falklands War
||Neil Wilkinson isn't just a War Hero, he is also a human being. Not just Neil, these are the Wilkinson's. What do the Wilkinson's do when they are at home or on vacation? You will see what the Wilkinson's do on this page.|
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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
Click Here to see the making of the NEW Movie,
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
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Click on Pictures Below for Much Larger Views
Photo By Neil Wilkinson
|The picture of myself cutting the cake was my
21st birthday, we were in
, that's the only bit I remember of the day, the
rest is a blur due to excessive amount of beer I drunk!! haha.|
That's when I had hair too..
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
Photo By 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.|
Photo By Neil Wilkinson
My Bofors gun onboard HMS Intrepid.
A 40/60mm Bofors from Intrepid, I think
it is the Port Bofors,
I was on the starboard side, but they were very similar in appearance.
|This is where I spent time after the we were allowed to rest after the first day of attacks, it was a locker on the upper deck, not too far away from my gun. In this small room, I wrote a letter home to my mum and family and eventually fell asleep for which seemed like an eternity, but was probably only a few hours, I was eventually woken up and then waited for the Argentines to attack again, they never disappointed us and always turned up!|
about Neil Wilkinson's
Battle Story of the Falkland Islands War.
Mariano Velasco's airplane that Neil Wilkinson
shot down during the Falklands War.
C-207, Fuerza Aerea Argentina, Falklands/Malvinas War, 1982
This shell is being transferred to the Falklands very quickly for the museum there.
Arrangements are being made along with photos and videos.
A list of Argentinean Pilots who have ejected
The interview centered around that but also it took a slight twist and the presenter got a shock when she asked me "was it frightening?" I said to her and on air, "when you consider that on the first day alone 72 aircraft attacked the task force and 26 of those went personally for my ship" She looked at me with her mouth wide open then away from the microphone said "My God" I just said "I think somebody was looking out for me or we just got lucky"
From the Webmaster: The lady's answer to your reply, Oh God, was the same one that I had when you told me about the number of attacks. So many people think that you guys sat there and had a few attacks, but were mostly just sitting around. That's the way the news made it look here in 1982. It talked about some attacks, but the war was never described as it actually happened.
This Mission is Complete and has been shown on the BBC channel, locally, on Jan 16th 2012.
The program was a big success and Neil and Mariano finally did meet after thirty years.
The following is a letter from Neil about the BBC television program.
As you can see things are moving along and time never stops. The next project is Enemy Contact, the Movie.
These were the plans to complete the Falklands Project which started in November of 2008 and was completed on January 2012.
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, called "When Enemies Become
Friends", 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.
Photos taken Later aboard the HMS Brazen
Queen Elizabeth on the HMS Brazen 1986
Photo by Neil Wilkinson
Click Here for more photos of the HMS Brazen
We had the Queens's son, Prince Andrew onboard the HMS Intrepid as our helicopter pilot he was there and he played as much a part as we all did when we were ready for battle.
Forward and Aft Seawolf missiles
systems firing a live missile
back in 1985 in the Gulf.
Final Resting Place for the Aircraft Carrier
HMS Intrepid 2008
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.
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.
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.
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
Date: Saturday, 13 June, 2009, 12:24 AM
Hi Jeff,This is a picture I drew last night at art group, I thought you may like it?
Neil and I sometimes have long
discussions about world problems and the atrocities of war. Here
is one of your latest sessions. C. Jeff Dyrek
6 August 2009
My life is quite mundane and routine and this will blow that apart for a while, I am mentally prepared, or so I think! A funny thing happened today at work, I don't know if this has ever happened to you Jeff and you are the only person I have told, but I was at work and I was thinking what to say as I was doing my job. Straight out of the blue I got all emotional and felt myself ready to cry, don't ask me how or why but this feeling was overwhelming, but it wasn't making me sad or depressed, it was the opposite, why?
7 August 2009
I break out crying at air shows when they fly the missing man formation. When I watch the movies and documentaries about our soldiers, I start to cry. I can't tell people the war stories, or I break up too. It's difficult and the real reason that I start to cry, is why did these men give their lives when my country is pushing drugs, sex, violence and foul language on every media form and people who speak against it are the ones that get talked down to. I'm soap boxing here right now, but the U.S. Congress gave Michael Jackass a moment of silence, yet they won't give a man who lost an arm and had had his whole face burned off in the Iraq war disability. We have 400,000 homeless disabled vets, yet the government will not even give them welfare, because they don't have a home address. So these guys live in the streets of our cities. Chicago alone has 35,000 homeless disabled veterans living in the streets. I've seen them, they sleep in cardboard boxes along the highways, they sleep on park benches or in the doorways of apartments and in alleys eating their meals out out of garbage cans. This is why I cry. Why did these guys fight with their lives when a rich pervert child molester druggie gets a moment of silence but the Korean War Veterans Memorial in San Diego had to be torn down because one atheist said that a cross above the grave offended him.
7 August 2009
From the Webmaster. Yes, after a war the was isn't over in the experiences and minds of the soldiers. What these people still retain is worse than any horror show that you have every imagined. This is why there were so many soldiers from the Falklands war, from both sides, that committed suicide than were killed in the war. Neil summed this up better than I have ever heard anyone else describe the effects. "The veterans are then left to fend for themselves (tread water or sink) the problem is that the clever people in politics who have never fired a rifle or driven a tank or worse killed somebody always like the media attention, but for doing what? sending a bunch of kids into battle! they don't realize that you can only tread water for so long, you become tired of trying to survive and give in, that is why we have and always will loose our veterans to suicide, not enough was done in the first place to help these poor people and now that they have realized the failings of yesteryear it is just a big massive patching up job."
In the United States, alone, there are over 400,000 homeless disabled veterans, with no place to live and no hope for the future, no hospital care and no disability payments. At the same time a Congressman can serve a four year term and then collect a 15,000 per month retirement, immediately after his term is up. It's a disgrace on our nation, the United States, to have these kinds of differences.
Recently I listened to a man say that anyone in the service is an idiot. Another man recently said that war isn't anywhere as bad as the TV makes it look like. He was never in the service and at the same time he lives in his grandmother-in-laws house and has never paid rent and pays no bills. He raised his family, or should I say made babies, yet the Grandmother, Great-grandmother to the babies raised the kids. Furthermore, this man put her in the smallest room in the house, her house, and also uses her room as a storage room and only allows her kitty litter box to be in that room. I'm telling you the truth. Soldiers, the very people who willingly gave their lives to serve our country and make sure that everyone can enjoy the freedom and wealth that we see now, are the very people who are treated the worse and put down, repeatedly, by people who have never been in the service and who have never even as much as experienced hard times.
The statements made by Neil in his letter above are the very reason that we have put this expedition together, "When Enemies Become Friends." It's because our enemies are just the young kids of the country who are doing a job. But the people who make the wars are the people who have never experienced the horror of reality.
C. Jeff Dyrek.
Neil Wilkinson in London 2007 - 2009
Neil's Wife and Mother-in-law
Photo By Neil Wilkinson
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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
Argentina - Great Britain 1982 War for the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands
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Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust
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