Lance Corporal Andrew Mortimore was part of the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, who had been shipped around East Falkland at the beginning of June and were caught aboard the LSL Sir Galahad when the Argentinian Air Force attacked. He was meant to be on the tank deck with the Mortar Platoon when the ship was hit by three bombs, but, luckily, he was in search of a cup of tea at the time and so survived the attack. 49 men were killed, with another 115 seriously injured.

23rd June – Town Hall – Port Stanley

Dear Kay

Many thanks for the postcard, yes I am looking forward to seeing Exmouth again. Got to Port Stanley yesterday after being on the Canberra doing the POW run to Argy Island. When they came on board first they smelt just like the school house at Cusichaca! Two weeks ago, as I’m sure you know already, we were hit badly as we waited to go ashore from the Sir Galahad. By not being where I should be I escaped with singed hair and a large burn hole in my waterproof. Had I been where I should have been I wouldn’t be writing this. Thanks to your first aid lessons at least one soldier got away alive who wouldn’t have had I not known what I was doing – only two medics got out.

The whole thing was a mess – a mess that got 25 of my mates killed. We were left in daylight for eight hours without air cover! There was hardly any warning, just someone screaming ‘Air Raid Warning Red, Air Raid’ – he never finished. A 500lb bomb came through the wall about 15ft away from me and carried on through two more walls and a floor where it exploded. The guy stood behind me was killed. I didn’t have time to panic or be scared. Even after I got out I had to go back again to bring some others out. The smoke was so thick you could walk on it.

Luckily every other man was carrying a 1 litre Hartmans Drip – these saved a lot of the guys with burns. Later on today we’re going back to ‘Bluff Cove’ by ’chopper for a memorial service. The wreck of the ship will be towed out to sea and sunk as an official war grave.
I lost nearly all my kit – I got away in what I was wearing. The lads from 2 Para who put us up for the night in their sheep shed were fantastic. Some of them stayed up all night making us tea. Next day we were choppered out to HMS Intrepid where we rested and [were] issued new kit.
Don’t know how long before we get home but in the meantime we are doing a Northern Ireland type job in Stanley – patrolling – chatting up the locals – checking possible booby traps etc. Mines are still a big problem. They won’t let us use Argies to find them! Looking after the POWs was a bit like giving treatment to the people in Cusichaca who had stolen from us – crazy.

Still that’s life – that’s war and I’ve had enough of this one for the moment. Not sure when I’ll be home – about six weeks they say – we’ll see. Hope to see you then. Give my love to Exmouth.

Love and best wishes,