“It is important to me personally that this story gets told as it happened since I suspect there are those who would rather it wasn’t”.
With these words, the Falklands’ most beloved governor Sir Rex Hunt opened his memoirs and told us (as much as he could) that, whatever we believed about the Falklands invasion of April 2nd, 1982, there was much more to the story than some, in the UK, would rather we know.
Sir Rex couldn’t say it all and yet he told us in almost as many words to look beneath the surface of what has been ‘established fact’ for almost 36 years.
Curiously, it seems that everybody else missed it entirely until I saw it.
The books tell us that during the Falklands invasion 60 Royal Marines as good as laid down for a small group of Argentinian Commandos, promptly surrendering after firing off a few shots – killing one and wounding three.
That’s the story we have all read for over three decades. Any casual look at a history of the Falklands War will show that this episode gets, at best, a page or two to itself before moving on to the better-known aspects of the conflict; the sunken ships, Goose Green, Tumbledown… we know the rest.
“The First Casualty” was not a book I ever set out to write or a case I set out to ‘prove’.
It just happened like that. The fact is that I always knew – or thought I knew – that there MUST have been something more to this story.
Do 60 Royals really just surrender, throwing in the towel after a token defence?