Pilgrimage marks Royal Navy veteran's first Falklands return since the end of 1982 conflict

Mike Warren and the rest of his group visited the HMS Coventry memorial on Pebble Island, honouring crew members who lost their lives on May 25, 1982
-Credit: (Image: RNRMC)

A former Royal Navy chef from Denny has led a group of veterans on a poignant journey marking their return to the Falklands for the first time since the conflict of 1982.

A significant aspect of the pilgrimage for Mike Warren and the rest of his group was the visit to the HMS Coventry memorial on Pebble Island, honouring crew members who lost their lives on May 25, 1982.

The trip aimed to provide closure for veterans, addressing feelings of loss and guilt while forging new memories and lasting friendships.

Mike said: “From myself, a big thank you. The funding helped enormously in me being able to lead these guys back for the first time since 82, and to say a final goodbye to our fallen shipmates on HMS Coventry at the memorial. It was a memorable, emotional, stressful, and enjoyable long trip, especially for the Token Royal Marine, who this has helped enormously.

“The emotions this Royal went through in the 10 days we were down on the Falklands are immeasurable, and to lead us up the Two Sisters and to the Royal Marine memorial was amazing. Once again thank you from all of us. “

Former Royal Navy marine engineering mechanic Tony Williams was among the returning veterans. He said: “This trip has helped me enormously with my state of mind, as I always wanted to go to the HMS Coventry memorial and pay my respects to my good friend, Steve Tonkin, who was sadly lost that fateful day.”

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He added: “The opportunity to go to the memorial has and will help my state of mind and has allowed me to come to terms with it.

“For this, I am extremely grateful to the charity for facilitating my return to the islands, paying my respects and meeting nine strangers who will no doubt become lifelong friends.”

Mandy Lindley, director of relationships and funding at the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity, said: “My heartfelt thanks go out to each individual who has generously shared their personal experiences of this trip with us. Your openness and willingness to connect have been nothing short of inspiring, reminding us of the profound impact our funding can have.”

Jonathan Ball, director of grants at Greenwich Hospital, said: “Supporting initiatives, such as this poignant trip to the Falkland Islands, helps keep veterans connected with their wider military community, engaging with colleagues and friends. “

The RNRMC and Greenwich Hospital aim to enable beneficiaries to participate in remembrance and comradeship events and activities.