Dover & Deal MP Natalie Elphicke has written to Defence Ministers calling for the publication of secret files on the sinking of the RFA Sir Galahad during the Falklands War.

In 1982, The Sir Galahad, a Round Table class troop landing ship, was sent with troops to the Falklands during the Falklands War with Argentina. On 8th June the ship was preparing to unload soldiers from the Welsh Guards when it and its sister ship the Sir Tristram, were bombed by Argentine aircraft. and 48 servicemen died that day.

Many who survived – such as Simon Weston – suffered terrible life changing burns or other injuries. The ship was later towed out to sea and scuttled – it is now an official war grave. 

Following the tragic events of that day, Survivors from the Welsh Guards have been campaigning for the release of all documents relating to the tragedy but the Ministry of Defence has refused to publish the secret files, claiming data protection. However the veterans believe the real reason is a fear that senior officers might be embarrassed if the papers were to be published. 

Come clean on what really happened

Cllr Oliver Richardson

One of the Welsh Guards on the Sir Galahad was 21 year old Lt Oliver Richardson who survived and was fortunate to survive without serious injury.

Oliver Richardson is now the Mayor of Deal and has been campaigning alongside his former comrades in arms for the MOD to publish the secret Sir Galahad files. 

In House of Commons Defence Questions just recently, Natalie Elphicke OBE MP pressed Ministers to publish the secret files. Now Natalie has formally written to Defence Ministers calling for the secret files to be released.

Natalie said:

“Oliver and his fellow Welsh Guards deserve answers.  The war was over 40 years ago. These secret papers should have been published long ago. I have written to Ministers calling for the secret files to be released. We cannot have a cover up – no matter how embarrassing it may be for some.

“The Welsh Guards served our country with honour and distinction. We in turn must honour that service by giving them and the families of those lost and injured on the Sir Galahad the answers they need.”

Mayor of Deal, Cllr Oliver Richardson

Cllr Oliver Richardson said:

“For over 40 years, I and my fellow Welsh Guards veterans have been demanding answers on the sinking of the Sir Galahad. The Ministry of Defence needs to come clean on what really happened – and release the secret documents. I’m delighted that Natalie has raised this in the House of Commons and has now followed up in writing to Defence Ministers calling for the secret files to be released.”

Notes on Defence Questions:

Natalie Elphicke recently raised the matter in Defence Questions in the House of Commons. She asked Defence Minister Andrew Murrison:

My constituent Oliver Richardson, now the mayor of Deal, was just 21 when he survived the sinking of the Galahad. Forty years on, he says that there is no reason for this supposed secrecy and that many people neither were offered, nor wanted, confidentiality in relation to saying what they had seen. Our armed forces serve us all, and we must honour that service by giving them and the families of those lost and injured on the Galahad the answers they need. I urge the Minister to release all of the Falklands Galahad papers at pace.

Minister Andrew Morrison replied:

The Government will do everything we can in the interests of transparency, but I am sure that my hon. Friend appreciates that we, like everybody else, are bound by the Data Protection Act.

By Ed

©2024 Hawkinge Gazette       -       The Hawkinge Gazette is not responsible for the content of external sites