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The Falklands War - There and Back Again: The Story of Naval Party 8901

The Falklands War - There and Back Again: The Story of Naval Party 8901


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On 1 April 1982 Major Mike Norman, commander of Naval Party 8901, was looking forward to a peaceful yearlong tour of duty on the Falkland Islands. But events turned out differently, for the next day the Argentinians invaded and he and his small Royal Marines garrison found themselves fighting for their lives.

They took up defensive positions in and around Government House and on the approaches to Stanley to protect the Governor, Rex Hunt, and delay the enemy’s advance. They were prepared to die executing these orders. After a desperate battle against vastly superior numbers, Hunt ordered them to lay down their arms. As the surrender took place, an Argentinian told a Marine: ‘The Islands are ours now’. The response was simple: ‘We will be back’. They were, and this is their story.

The Royal Marines of Naval Party 8901 volunteered to join the Task Force and, some seventy-five days after the invasion, the men who were forced to watch the raising of the Argentine flag over the Islands were able, in return, to proudly run up the Falklands flag once more at Government House.

Mike Norman and Michael Jones’s dramatic account draws upon Norman’s vivid recollections, the log book and action reports of the defense of Government House and Stanley, the testimony of Marines under Mike Norman’s command and recently released government archives.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781526791924
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 12/11/2020
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Major Mike Norman joined the Royal Marines in 1962 and served for thirty years, spending much of his time in commando units or training establishments. In 1982 he was appointed commanding officer of Naval Party 8901, the Royal Marines detachment which was stationed in the Falkland Islands when the Argentinians invaded. He organized the resistance until he was ordered to stop fighting, then returned to the UK. When 3 Commando Brigade landed at San Carlos on 21 May to retake the islands he commanded the newly formed J Company in 42 Commando and was in Stanley to see the Argentinian surrender.

Michael Jones is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the British Commission for Military History and the author of twelve books ranging from the Middle Ages to the Second World War.

Born in Calcutta, Julian Thompson was educated at Sherborne School. He joined the Royal Marines aged 18 and served on seven continents over 34 years.

He commanded 40 Commando Royal Marines and then, during the Falklands War, 3 Commando Brigade which made the initial Landings and saw much of the action in the battles that followed.

Since retiring as a Major General he has pursued literary and academic interests. He is a Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London. Among his many published works are Ready For Anything; The Parachute Regiment at War 1940 – 1982, The Lifeblood of War: Logistics and Armed Conflict and The Royal Marines. He has published six books with the Imperial War Museum: Victory in Europe, The War at Sea: the Royal Navy in the Second World War, Behind Enemy Lines, Modern Warfare (ed), The War in Burma and The War at Sea 1914-1918.

Table of Contents

Maps iv

List of Illustrations ix

Timeline xii

Glossary xv

Foreword xix

Prologue xxiii

Chapter 1 A South Atlantic Posting 1

Chapter 2 Destination Falklands 21

Chapter 3 Arrival 45

Chapter 4 The Day of Decision 78

Chapter 5 The First 'Surrender' 107

Chapter 6 The Turnaround 136

Chapter 7 Juliet Company 157

Chapter 8 Port San Carlos 170

Chapter 9 Survival 180

Chapter 10 Mount Harriet 200

Chapter 11 The Second Surrender 207

Epilogue 215

Appendix: The Battle for Stanley: Deployment of Naval Party 8901 by 2.15am on 2 April 1982 219

Bibliography 221

Acknowledgements 223

Index 225

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