Ordinary Heroes: Untold Stories from the Falklands Campaign by Christopher Hilton

With the thirtieth anniversary of the Falklands War coming up in a matter of weeks, we will probably see a considerable amount of new books being dedicated to the war. This book by Christopher Hilton is the first ‘Falklands 30’ book that I have received.

I find it quite an interesting concept that  Hilton – in stark contrast to, say, the Falklands book by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins – chose to write about only men who were on the very lowest ladder of the military hierarchy – privates, sailors and marines. The idea was, as he explains, that they were the men who were most at mercy of events – they could not give orders to anyone, only follow. Included are naval ratings, a man who was on the Atlantic Conveyor, marines, paras and a sapper. As you might expect, I wholeheartedly approve of such a ‘grass roots’ level of history.

The are some fascinating anecdotes here, the kind that you only get from an oral history based, down to earth approach such as this. There’s the chinese laundryman who hid from air raids in one of the ships tumbloe dryers, and was awarded the British Empire Medal. One rating had to send a brief telegram home from HMS Sheffield when she was sent south, telling his fiance to cancel their impending wedding. One man who lost an eye in the war found that he was not allowed to become a postman or a traffic warden, but could become a taxi driver!

What I find interesting, is that in place some of the recollections of these blokes are at odds with the history books. To take one example, one of the men featured refers to one of the Marine Commando’s going to the Falklands onboard HMS Ark Royal or HMS Bulwark. In fact, the Ark had been scrapped and Bulwark was rusting in Portsmouth Dockyard. He must have meant their close sibling HMS Hermes. But what this story does portray, is that the men on the ground were not necessarily completely in the loop all of the time about major events – they seem to have been overwhelmingly concerned with what was happening in front of them, and their mates next to them.

For me, the clincher which makes this book so important is the prominent space given to coverage of the hidden wounds of war – namely, the high number of Falklands veterans who have suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the years since the war. In fact, it is an oft-quoted belief that more Falklands survivors have committed suicide in the ensuing years, than the number of men who died there in 1982. Whilst the Americans had learnt about PTSD in Vietnam, it was still a relative unknown to the British military. Each of the interviews talked remarkably candidly about their experiences post-war – in some cases alcohol, crime and even prison sentences feature. They talk about the strain on relationships, especially with their families. They also talk about their returns to the battlefields, and how this affected them. Intriguingly, several of them note with approval that men fighting in Afghanistan now receive very good after-care for mental trauma issues.

I was transfixed by this book. I hardly put it down from cover to cover.

Ordinary Heroes is published by The History Press



Filed under Book of the Week, Falklands War

10 responses to “Ordinary Heroes: Untold Stories from the Falklands Campaign by Christopher Hilton

  1. I’m not sure what I hate more about you – your access to all these cool books, or your never-ending quest to make me feel like an old fart! :p 😀
    Sounds another good read. And since I have some money on the way, I’m gonna have to start a list of must-have books. By the by, have you heard of one I’m looking for, something about World War 2 folk from Portsmouth, written by some young buck named Daley something? 😉

  2. x

    History Press are the publishers of the Navy Day By Day. Awesome, awesome book.

    And the FIW book I am waiting for from them is this one,


  3. thanks for your very kind remarks about a very special book. I was one of the main contributors and also helped Chris find other veterans to chat with and interview. Sadly Chris Died before the book was completed, but his widow Jean very kindly asked us, and gave us permission to complete the book in his honour and on behalf of our 255 Fallen comrades, and all the Task Force. The second part as you rightly state is the most important part of the book, Chris and I felt it was very important to tell the full story. Dave the lucky Paratrooper (Charlie Brown)

  4. Iཿm impressed, I must say. Actually rarely do I encounter a blog thatཿs
    both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve got hit
    the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the
    problem is one thing that not enough persons are talking intelligently about.
    I’m very joyful that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for one thing relating to this.

  5. Only a bride will know that she can fullly geet the benefits of having a professional wedding
    dess advisor because she only wants thhe bext for her
    special day. Of course, uique body type requhires special wedding dress style.
    Here are 10 wwys to reduce the cost of throowing your wedding reception and surprise your
    guests with your creativity at the same time.

  6. Gone are the times when being able to view cable Tv on computer was a novelty.
    Now you can view Television even on mobile gadgets! With the launch of the Apple iPad, a number of technologies geared up to offer solutions for this new
    Apple gadget. Today there are many applications launched on the App
    Shop and Television tuner gadgets introduced in electronics
    shops that make live Tv streaming on the iPad possible.

    Here are five suggestions you could adhere to.

    Ipad is another gadget from Apple, which received extraordinary reaction from globe broad.
    Ipad comes with a stunning design. Ipad arrives with a
    nine.seven+ big display screen. We can say this higher resolution display screen makes Ipad attractive.
    House button is placed just bellow the show screen. A simple press on
    that home button will consider you back again
    to the house web page anytime. ipad received a various placement for volume control buttons.

    Buttons are placed in the still left aspect of Apple iphone.
    iPad buttons are coming at the correct aspect of the screen.
    ipad ulcok display looks same like apple iphone. Ipad consists of all the
    applications in apple iphone.Ipad programs got higher perfomance than
    apple iphone.

    You can find the various softwares in Internet, Some may be totally
    free and some may be paid. But you need to be truly cautious in choosing the software program.
    And remember, if you jailbreak your Apple iphone four., your
    Apple iphone will automatically void the warranty. The whole procedure of jailbreaking your
    Iphone operating on a 4. firmware starts when you find the correct
    jailbreak software program to use, buy it and obtain
    it to your system or Pc.

    The iPhone five will promote, but for the next model, users ought to anticipate something really new.

    The competition in the smartphone market is intensifying.
    Samsung has set up themselves with various designs as
    the marketplace chief. But rivals such as Nokia, Motorola and HTC are also throwing big blows with their new models.

    If background is any sign the new software upgrade will most
    likely cost about $10. Apple also introduced
    lately that iPad will receive a whole host of other attributes that should make the gadget even much more appealing,
    such as a social gaming network on the degree of Xbox Reside; Folders, as a way to arrange
    numerous apps in once location, and a new iAd program that will allow builders to create free apps and obtain sixty%twenty five of the ad earnings produced by their content. The iAd applications should be a nice incentive for builders to bring the cost of their apps down to free or extremely near to it, granting more value to a consumer of the gadget. Additionally I believe that is great that the builders who create the most engaging and immersive apps will be rewarded for their efforts, as they ought to be.

    The WebMD application comes in handy for all those niggling health-associated concerns that trouble you. Their Symptom Checker allows you to comprehend the leads to powering them and lets you decide if you require immediate medical session. You can get comprehensive info on medication and medicine and discover about feasible side results and warnings. There is a segment on Initial Aid Necessities as nicely.

    It’s not simply because Apple’s goods are not appealing, nicely developed or simple to use. It is not even because of to my firm, some may say spiritual beliefs in totally free software and open supply.

    However, don’t neglect the reality that you may be eliminating your guarantee if you hack your phone. For a lot of users this gained’t be issue, as they might already be previous the warranty limitation. However, when you effectively void your manufacturer’s guarantee and then have problems with your mobile telephone, you’ll be up a creek and the company will not help you. Just be sure that you’re conscious of this fact and that you’re okay with it.

    These allegations are not new, in 2010, the affiliation Sacom was trying to protect college students from exploitation in the workplace by writing an open letter (PDF) to Apple CEO Tim Cook. In the troubling letter, it cites a sequence of suicides among the workers. Apple has not commented on these allegations so far.

  7. I own an Android phone, I have a Zune, and I have a four-year old intel-based Mac.

    You ought to are in possession of the Cydia application in your iPhone, Ipodtouch, or iPadis home screen.

  8. This 100% guaranteed Diabetes Therapy Document will help
    you live longer and cure this illness! The more prepared
    the foodstuff, the more rapidly the blood glucose (sugar) levels will increase.

  9. Did not thought about this until now :)Forskolin Extract prevents the pancreas
    from smashing down starch into maltose and dextrin. It also can stop the generation of alpha-amylase
    mineral deposits in the human body. Medical doctors often suggest this to
    their subjects who are diabetics because the Forskolin stops
    the manufacturing of alpha-glucosidase located in the colon from changing disaccharides and starches into sugar and carbohydrates.
    Forskolin benefits also reduces sugars and carbohydrates from transforming into undesired fat by preventing the making of
    citrate lyase. Some physicians use Garcinia as a laxative to help
    with congestion or other health functions such as fat reduction, stress relief, sadness, mood
    swings and as a help to getting a wonderful night rest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s