In January 2017 10 Sappers of 11 Field Squadron Royal Engineers and 2 attached REME personnel headed to the Falkland Islands for a pilgrimage to honour the 35th Anniversary of the conflict, to pay our respects and revisit sites where the personnel were serving during May- August 82. The Squadron were employed at the time in several roles, primarily as Harrier support but also carrying out Water supply duties, Mine and explosives Clearance, runway repairs and maintenance along with Stevedore works, aviation fuel supply, the list seemed endless.
The FVF were approached to try and secure Liberty lodge for 12 people.
This was achieved by the hard work of Karen Cole and Co-ordination with Ellen the then lodge manager and set the visit off on a perfect footing. Ellen also made sure we were picked up from and delivered back to MPA. The lodge manager also drives a mean off road style!! We were also joined on the Thursday by another Squadron member who was on the Islands working as a contractor for the MOD.
The Accommodation was Spotless and absolutely perfect for the role it has been constructed for. The views are spectacular from 2 of the main bedroom windows and also from the main living area overlooking the harbour. The kitchen was well stocked with utensils, pots, pans and crockery, and the fridge freezer is perfect to cater for 12 people’s food and beer!! Breakfast foodstuffs were donated and this was a fantastic gesture. Washing Machines and Laundry facilities etc are available and the bedrooms and ensuites are again perfect. Vehicles are available to veterans for a donation and these were made use of on several occasions.
An Itinery requesting sites on the Islands for us to revisit was sent to the FVF prior to us arriving, again via Karen and Ellen and these girls came up trumps. We had a full island battlefield tour that lasted over 12 hours and covered every area we wanted to revisit, Bearing in mind the squadron was spread all over the island during the conflict. The next day we were driven off road to Mt Longdon, Mt Tumbledown and Sapper Hill. The drivers on these trips were amazing and they’re battlefield knowledge is secondary only to the veterans who took part in some of these horrendous battles.
On the Monday we had a visit to Government House and took part in Governors afternoon tea followed by a visit to the pub and a celebratory Chilli and Beer night for all involved in our trip from guests to drivers and Lodge managers.
In Summary this Charity, Its Staff and its purpose built facility are faultless and absolutely perfect for returning veterans.
I for one, my colleagues and friends I’m sure would back me up, believe every penny keeping this lodge open providing the facilities and additional activities that it does is money well spent and it should be kept open as long as it is needed by veterans and their Families.
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