08:46AM, Sunday 08 April 2012
Thirty years since Britain and Argentina went to war - a Falklands veteran says the chilling memories still haunt him.
On April 2, 1982, Argentine forces invaded the Falklands Islands, sparking a 74-day conflict which ended in Argentina's surrender and the return of control to Margaret Thatcher's United Kingdom.
Among those fighting on the frontline was Nick MacDonald, a Royal Military Policeman and member of the Parachute Regiment who now lives in Farnham Royal. Engaging in the battles of Goose Green and Wireless Ridge, Nick had been in the army for six years and was one of the older soldiers at 28.
"It happened a long time ago and it feels like somebody else's life," said Nick, now 57.
"I can't talk about things I saw because people don't understand, and when I'm with the guys who do understand we don't have to. I've seen some pretty nasty things and sometimes they wake me up at night."
More than 900 people died during the war. By his own admission, Nick was one of the 'lucky ones' who survived despite once watching a mortar land within metres and 'fizz' without exploding.
He said: "When I go to the Falklands memorial I point guys out. To most people they're just names on a wall but to me they're faces. We lived together, slept together and drank together. They're your mates and we achieved a very close bond."
Nick, who lives with wife Rosemarie in Penzance Spur, added: "At the time we had to blank it out but then we started to gather the bodies. At first you didn't know who they were as they were dirty, but then you realised it was your mate and you said your last goodbyes."
Nick, who lived on the Priory Estate from 1985 until the late 1990s, returned to the Falklands five years ago for the 25th anniversary.
He said: "The people out there were phenomenal and seeing what they've become was absolutely fantastic. It's become a really thriving community and people say if it wasn't for the war it wouldn't have given them the impetus."
Visitors to Burnham Park Hall on Monday May 16 can undergo a ‘living with dementia experience’ as part of National Dementia Action Week.