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'Worst Night Of Our Lives': Falklands Memories

Troops who served in the Falklands War have been recalling their memories of a conflict that broke out 30 years ago and cost 649 Argentine and 255 British lives.

As a young second lieutenant in the Welsh Guards, Crispin Black commanded a platoon in the Falklands and survived the bombing of the military transport ship Sir Galahad.

He told Sky News: "On this day 30 years ago, we were hugely excited and enthusiastic to get down there. I think people were appalled and humiliated by the pictures coming out of Port Stanley and what the Argentines had done.

"A lot of the people on that ship [Sir Galahad] still get flashbacks, particularly the smells of the day and the sounds of the day.

"Burning human flesh has a particular smell, men in pain or dying make a particular noise, and ships smell of paint... sometimes when I'm on a cross channel ferry you smell that marine paint smell.

"But we mustn't over stress that because compared to our ancestors - being on the Western Front or a prisoner of war of the Japanese, these were small experiences, but nevertheless for the people involved in them they still loom quite large."

Harry Benson , a helicopter pilot with a Navy commando squadron was 21 years old when he fought in the conflict.

He told Sky News: "I was straight out of training. I had been sent to Northern Ireland and had a few weeks there, but then I went off to the Falkland Islands and straight into battle."

He added: "The most scary time was when we were stuck on a ship and there was an air raid coming in.

"You might think coming under fire, being shot at or having jets flown at you is the worst thing, but it was being in a tin can and not being able to see what was going on."

British troops were not the only enemy for young Argentinian soldiers fighting in the Falklands. Many say they were tortured and starved by their own officers, and are now seeking justice in court.

Ruben Gleriano , who was 19 years old when he was sent to the islands just a month after being drafted into the military, was the first former Argentinian soldier to report mistreatment by officers.

"I was staked to the ground, my hands and feet tied, for eight hours alongside two fuel tanks while the British bombs rained down. I was terrified I was going to be burned alive," he said.

"I lost consciousness. My companions rescued me."

Lieutenant General Hugh Pike led the attack on Mount Longdon on the evening of June 11, 1982 - one of the fiercest encounters of the war which left 23 British and 31 Argentinians troops dead.

He told The Times newspaper: "For many it was probably the worst night of our lives.

"There were some particularly bad moments where one thought, 'We are throwing everything at these people and they are still stubbornly resisting. How long is this going to take?'"

By dawn, the British had taken control of Mount Longdon but at a heavy price.

"The terrible aftermath of the battle was in many ways the worst moment of all," Sir Hugh, now a Major-General, said.

"There was this terrible scene of destruction, this terrible smell of death, and the detritus of battle everywhere - bits of body, a horrible sight."