'That was Margaret Thatcher the mother’ Veteran Paul Massey recalls moving moment with PM after Falklands War
Massey served in the 846 Naval Air Squadron during the war
Lt CDR Paul Massey has shared the moving moment he experienced with Margaret Thatcher upon his return to the UK from the Falklands War.
Massey served in the 846 Naval Air Squadron during the war.
Reflecting on his return to the UK, he told GB News' Nigel Farage: “The only thing that I would say that I’d carried for 40 years relates to July 21 when we returned.
“We were anchored off the Isle of Wight the night before, so close you could smell the fish and chips! I thought ‘God it’s good to be home!’
“Sailing in, we met Margaret Thatcher, she flew onboard and she shook my hand and said to me: ‘You’ve done very well, but remember what your families have gone through.’
“That stuck with me for 40 years. That wasn’t Margaret Thatcher the Prime Minister or politician, that was Margaret Thatcher the mother.
“I’ve never forgotten that.”
He went on to explain the overwhelming emotion he felt when docking up in Portsmouth Harbour as he was met with crowds of civilians who showed up to share their support and thanks to the brave soldiers.
Massey recalled: "We were amazed at how many people showed up.
"We never expected that, it really blew us away, then a wall of noise hit you.
“I began to tear up at that, I thought of the two guys we had lost on the squadron, I though ‘I wish they could be here to see that.’
“The crowd was phenomenal… the Royal Marine band started playing Land of Hope and Glory, I cried like a baby.
“Even now, 40 years on, if I’m on a cruise with my family on a sail away party, they always play Land of Hope and Glory, it’s some kind of trigger. I just have tears rolling down my face.”
The undeclared war claimed the lives of 255 British forces personnel.
The attack came on April 2, as Argentinian forces targeted the islands located 8,000 miles from the UK mainland, deep in the South Atlantic.
Just three days later, a vast combined arms British task force – Task Force 317 – steamed from Portsmouth intent upon re-taking the British overseas territory.
The British effort eventually involved 26,000 troops and 3,000 civilian personnel.
The conflict claimed 907 lives in total, including 649 Argentines and three Falkland Islanders.