Sharing a memory for Stan

Wow.  So much wow, obviously I never realised that what I wrote could reach so many people, but here I am, still writing.  Obviously what I wrote touched a lot of hearts, or at least sensibilities regarding the subject of the Falklands.  My father did three tours of Northern Ireland as well, but Stan Collymore hasn’t managed to duck out of my sights just yet.  I want to increase the weight of the case against the man whose moral obligation is way below his own personal intelligence, and that isn’t as high as he first thought.  In ten days I mourn (or celebrate depending on how you do it yourselves) the loss of four men that went to the Falklands and never returned.  Like most people, especially between May and June, those feelings rise to the surface as memories are brought back to the fore.  Having had the absolute honour of meeting some of those men I want to touch on the survivors; those who live the daily horrors of war.

I remember, at some point during 2007, during the Falklands 25 celebrations I was invited to come to a presentation on the Falklands at the Imperial War Museum North.  It was a perfect chance for me to meet some of these blokes who my Dad always went on about, those heroes who fought at Goose Green, Tumbledown, Harriet, Two Sisters, Wireless Ridge & Longdon.  My father rarely spoke about anything that happened at the Falklands, he always left the room on Remembrance Sunday, always spoke about the fun times.  He often preferred to tell me the stories of his time in NI, which wasn’t a nice place to serve at all by anyone’s standard.  So I came a long a felt like a bit of an outsider, but as I have come to expect, Falklands Veterans are a hugely welcoming bunch and soon I was talking Soldier to Soldier with most of them.  At the time I had just left the Signals (V) myself, same trade as my old man, Radio Relay.  After a couple of presentations, it was spread across a week, it came to Rick Jolly’s presentation.  It was a moving presentation & speech that left every person in that room with wet eyes.  Afterwards, as I have come to recognise as the drinking of the sorrows, I went for a few beers with my old man, some gents from 2 & 3 Para, 42 Commando (Sorry if that’s wrong) and Julian Thompson (just thought I’d name drop).  Later once the beers had flowed I was told a moving story from a paratrooper (I don’t want to cause offence; so I won’t divulge) and it broke my heart.  Listening to this man tell me what he saw, went through and had to deal with on a daily basis must be torture.  Suddenly it dawned on me, War creates humanity on a level unseen.  You realise how weak the body is and how easy the soul is broken and these men saw the worse of it and look at them!  Classic, perfect examples of men that you have ever seen.  They would do anything for each other.  Again, just after Rick Jolly delivered his tear jerking speech, a Marine stood walked over, shook his hand, thanking him and left.  He was there just to thank this man who, twenty five years earlier, had saved his life.

Now I want to look at those people, those boys (many between 18-22 years old) turned into men.  Who afterwards, through a destruction of their internal methods of thinking and dealing with problems, turned into fine examples of humanity.  Yet behind closed doors, many struggle and fight a daily loosing battle.  PTSD is rife amongst those men, my father was a proud man, but he had his own inner demons that he fought on a daily basis.  Look at what they have as well, they either still work, dealing with the problems that arise as and when they can, or they struggle on a small military pension (or huge depending how long you served and suffered for).  The British army made these men what they are; a perfect example.  Where are you going with this Len, I hear you cry, well bare with me and you’ll understand.  In 2007 my father, struggling with cancer was granted a gift by the SAMA82 organisation to return to the Falklands and it meant so much to him.  He managed to visit the final resting place where his four friends passed away, he always wanted to say a proper goodbye and despite suffering from Cancer at the time, he climbed up Mount Pleasant and said his goodbyes.  Pride, I cannot begin to describe what I felt.  In 2009 when he passed away from the cancer he suffered from, he was given a military send off from his SAMA82 colleges and I was so happy they helped me say goodbye. 

Now, considering what my father went through to battle his own demons, his were small, few, but troublesome.  The boys that fought through those jagged rocks, across barren green expanses, through terrorising night attacks, they still live with that to this day.  They get nothing in return, apart from the brotherhood with whom they served.  They have a war pension to look forward too, but in today’s financial climate, it isn’t much.  Yet as long as TalkSport, MOTD and any other sports shows offer to finance and pay Stan Collymore to work for them and share his offensive views, you are spitting in the face of all those Veterans that fought in the Falklands War.  Your also accepting the mockery that Stan Collymore makes of the peace process, and the losses caused through the actions in Northern Ireland.  Not only Soldiers perished in the Northern Irish conflict, civilians died as well, and I call on TalkSport & the BBC to ensure that Stan Collymore is fired from his roles, so he cannot and will not continue to make offensive, irrespective and degrading remarks for those who have thought for the flag he wears on his shirt.

Many will think this as an over-reaction, something to which he doesn’t deserve to lose his job.  Remember that when Stan is being offensive about the British army in one conflict, he’s making a mockery of the British army.  Many of these soldiers who served in Northern Ireland, and the Falklands, some served through Korea, the Cold War, Iraq and Afghanistan.  He’s using his ability, presence and popularity to make it acceptable for him to say such things, hoping that money and prestige will protect him.  If anyone above him, next to him or in control of him has any morality or intelligence about himself, they will cut him loose.  I call upon the BBC & TalkSport to cut him loose of his contract and allow him to wallow in his own pit of despair.  Let him walk a mile in the daily shoes of those soldiers who suffer, let him see what he feels to be made a mockery of for entertainment.  He will not be laughing anymore.

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9 thoughts on “Sharing a memory for Stan

  1. I would add that I would be sure not one of the men of whom you speak would ever have needed to assert his masculinity by kicking a 5’6″ Ulrika Jonnson in the head. Which he did apologise for, but then spoiled it by claiming Ulrika forgave him, which she did not. Collymore should never have been placed in a position implying acceptance of that alone, by any establishment which does what it can to defend the weak. That he would then use that position to trash so many better than himself merely confirms to me he should not have been there in the first place and certainly should not remain.

  2. More superb, heartfelt writing. I was a lucky Cold War warrior who retained a whole skin, and avoided the demons that plague so many of my comrades in arms. However I am, so often cut to the quick and reduced either almost to tears, or to a towering rage, by the actions of nonentity celebrities who feel that their perceived position in society gives them to denigrate men who deserve respect, and who were prepared to put their life on the line for a Nation which regularly lets them down. Walk a mile in OUR shoes indeed!!!

  3. A heartfelt and moving piece again. Thank you. I have watched the love of my life break down and cry so many times because of his memories. He was with 2 Para in ’82 and fought at Goose Green. He also did tours in N.I. His PTSD often takes over his life and his ability to cope. Even the simplest day to day living becomes a mammoth task. Without the support of our Brothers in Arms I don’t know how we would manage. Stan Collymore is an arrogant and ignorant bully who should not be allowed use his position as a radio pundit to air his offensive and inflammatory comments. .TalkSPORT and UTV should be ashamed at their protecting this man.

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