‘Lost’ cluster bombs aided victory in the Falklands

Honiton man helped to prepare them in Germany.

Thirty years after Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher sent a task force to the Falkland Islands, a Honiton man has recalled the role he played in Britain’s battle to end the Argentinian invasion.

Steve Parsons, 52, was a young member of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, serving in Germany, when Argentina’s military junta ordered an invasion that took everyone by surprise.

“It seemed to come out of the blue,” he said. “But hindsight and information that has come to light since shows that intelligence and warnings were ignored.”

Mr Parsons, then aged just 22, says history has forgotten the vital role played by ‘lost’ cluster bombs which had been left over from World War Two.

“They were found in an ammunition dump in the middle of the base I was serving at,” he told the Midweek Herald. “They were covered by tarpaulins and surrounded by barbed wire.

“They were not in a useable state, but, with the combined efforts of a small team, from the RAF and Army, they were picked up, serviced, checked and back in the UK within six hours.

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“It was part of the operation put together on a wing and a prayer.”

Mr Parsons says Britain’s bulldog spirit overcame many hurdles to pull off a victorious counter attack on a shoestring.

“Without the cluster bombs, the mission to render the airfield unusable by the Argentinians would have been a waste of time,” he said.

Reflecting on Argentina’s continued claims over the Falklands, Mr Parsons said: “Did the Argys learn anything? Prevention is better than the cure.

“We returned our people to freedom at a terrible cost.

“Let’s hope we don’t have to pay again.”

Mr Parsons is a member of the South West Airfields Heritage Trust, which meets on the third Monday of the month and has a varied programme of guest speakers who talk about military subjects.

The meetings take place in the World War Two Debriefing Hut, in Marcus Road, Dunkeswell - non-members �3, members �1.50.

Author Arthur Cook will be talking about the Home Guard at the next meeting, on April 16.

For further information call 01404 46118.