As veterans across Halton prepare to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War with events organised by the ex-servicesmen's organisations, MARK SMITH reports on the daring exploits of an SAS hero from Halton and the aftermath of the conflict which left him and many of his comrades scarred.
AN SAS hero from Halton has told how he fought in one of the pivotal battles of the Falklands War only to have a land mine end his career.
The 47-year-old man, who is originally from Runcorn and now lives in Widnes, was 22 at the time of the conflict.
The former Para was assigned to the Boat Troop of D Squadron of the SAS and like many past members of the secretive regiment is unwilling to be named, but went by the nickname 'Splash'.
He said: 'They called me Splash because when an aircraft crashes we say it 'splashed-down'. Every time I used to get in a helicopter it would have some kind of mechanical problem so I became known as a jinx!'
Splash said his unit arrived in the Falklands two weeks before the rest of the British forces to conduct reconnaissance of enemy positions.
He said: 'We were there before the rest of the task force, scouting Argentine artillery positions and building intelligence.'
The climax of Splash's involvement in the Falklands came when he was part of the assault on Pebble Island, a daring raid on an Argentine airfield which destroyed seven ground attack 'Pucara' aircraft.
He said: 'I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. 'I'd been shot at in Northern Ireland but this was different, we were heavily outnumbered.
'We shot-out the undercarriage of the Pucaras making sure we destroyed the same piece of each aircraft so they couldn't swap the parts over and get one working later on.
'It was a fierce fight, but we only had one man injured.
'It was an important mission because the Argentines had napalm and those aircraft could have dropped it on our troops if we hadn't destroyed them.'
Splash said that was the last he saw of the enemy up close before a mine took him out of the conflict.
'I stood on an anti-personnel mine at the battle of Mount Longdon and was discharged two days before the Argentine surrender.
'My leg was facing the wrong way and badly cut-up, and I had to be discharged from the Army completely after six months.'
* The Falklands War was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
* The Falklands consist of two large and many small islands in the South Atlantic Ocean east of Argentina, and their name and ownership have long been disputed.
* The war was triggered by the occupation of South Georgia by Argentina on March 19, 1982. It ended with Argentina's surrender on June 14, 1982.
* Britain lost 258 soldiers in the war with 777 wounded and seven ships sunk. Argentina lost 649 with 1,049 wounded and nine ships sunk.