Falklands marines reunited 40 years later to recreate an iconic photo taken the day Argentina surrendered the islands
It’s the most famous image from the Falklands War – six Royal Marines yelping with the Union Jack proudly flying from their radio aerial.
Yet other than flag bearer Pete Robinson, the other Marines have never been publicly identified – until now.
This week The Sun reunited six of them in Dartmoor, Devon, where they reunited for the first time in 40 years.
We’ve also reunited the heroes with commando photographer Pete Holdgate who took the iconic photo on June 14, 1982, the day Argentina surrendered.
Pete, now 71, recreated his famous ‘yomper’ photo which has become a symbol of Britain’s incredible battle to reclaim the tiny South Atlantic islands 8,000 miles from the UK United.
Four decades ago, they were fit young Royal Marines who were forced to trudge – slang for road march – through almost 80 miles of frozen terrain to help defeat the 10,000-strong Argentine occupying force.
Today, as they meet for the first time since the photo was taken, the years melt away.
After a series of grueling bear hugs and turtleneck banter, each man proudly dons his green beret.
They grab their backpacks from Bergen – thankfully light compared to the 10th they weighed at the time – and fall into the formation they were pictured in 40 years ago.
Flying the flag is Corporal Pete Robinson, 63, of Swindon, while in front of him, snaking away, are Marines Will Evans, 60, of Tamworth, Staffs, Alec Watt, 58, of Plymouth, Ray Houghton , John ‘Taff’ Davies and Colin Adams.
Colin, 58, from Kew, west London, says: “None of us knew how iconic this shot would be, so taking it back was a great opportunity.”
Photographer Pete says: “We haven’t seen each other since the Falklands war. Huge thanks to The Sun for bringing us all together from across the country. »
The flag in our 2022 photo is a bit larger than the 1982 flag because no one knows where the original went. Yompers are hoping a reader from The Sun can solve the mystery.
Will Evans found the original flag on the cruise ship SS Canberra on its way to the conflict and it was put into service ferrying British troops to the islands.
Colin Adams had just turned 18 when Argentina invaded the Falklands on April 2. On May 21, Colin was in a landing craft traveling in total darkness towards Blue Beach with his comrades from 40 Commando.
He remembers: “Being the youngest of the troop, I found myself pushed to the front. Apparently, it’s military tradition that the youngest has the honor of being the first out.
British Heroes (LR)
Marine John ‘Taff’ Davies: LE Welshman left the Marines in 1992 after a 20-year career. Since then, he has worked as a civil servant.
Marine Colin Adams: ULSTER veteran Colin was selected for SBS but was discharged on medical grounds in 1999. Suffering from PTSD, he worked as a diving instructor in Australia and met Argentinian veterans in 2019. He is now married to Sally.
Marine Alec Watt: ALEC has since worked in retail fraud management and as an algae grower. Married to Amanda, 54, he has a son Theo, nine, and is stepfather to Miles, 23, and Lucy, 26.
Pete Holdgate: Commando photographer Pete Holdgate later became a local newspaper editor.
Navy Ray Houghton: THE veteran from Northern Ireland, Belize and Cyprus left the Marines in 1990. He and his wife Serena have two children – nurse Nikki, 33, and policeman Karl, 31.
Corporal Pete Robinson: After the Falklands conflict, Corporal Pete Robinson met Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. A bronze statue of him, named The Yomper, stands outside the Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth. He is now a stud manager in a charity association for Arabian horses.
Marine Will Evans: THE father-of-three framed the worn soles of the boots he donned during the epic Falklands walk. After leaving the Marines in 1984, Will worked as a truck driver before moving into advertising. He then became a geophysical driller.
“Went to a Minefield”
“I ran outside, chest deep in freezing water.
“I arrived at the beach in record time and took cover.
“A few hours after dawn, the first air raid hit us. Days of utter chaos followed as successive waves of Argentinian jets slammed into us. I saw so many planes being shot down, but they kept coming.
Four days after the landings, one of these attacks sank the RFA ship Atlantic Conveyor, which was carrying Chinook helicopters which would have ferried the Marines through East Falkland. So instead they had to yelp.
Teaming up with 45 Commando, they were part of the plan to take the three high points around the capital Stanley – Mount Longden, Mount Harriet and Two Sisters.
From San Carlos they were sent to Teal Inlet, where an Argentine attack had destroyed 45 Commando anti-tank missile launchers.
What does ‘Yomp’ mean?
Origin uncertain. Marine slang for a long distance march wearing full kit.
Maybe an acronym for your own walking pace.
Ray Houghton, 58, from South Shields, Tyne & Wear, said: “At first light the order came to push on to Sapper Hill. Along the way we heard about the white flags in Stanley.
“We were in the middle of a minefield when it was confirmed, so there weren’t a lot of celebrations.
“We secured our guns and someone pulled out the flag to attach to Pete’s radio mast.”
But Will’s flag, which was attached by black duct tape, then exploded.
Pete says, “Will ran to get it and got a right of reprimand because he went into a minefield.”
As the six Marines headed for Port Stanley, Petty Officer Pete Holdgate spotted them.
Pete, who later became the editor of a local newspaper, recalls: “There were mines everywhere and the men followed in each other’s footsteps to stay safe.
“I followed him for nearly two hours before there was enough wind to unfurl the flag and shoot. I didn’t expect him to get the answer he got.
John Davies, 62, has the picture on the wall of his house in Evesham, Worcs – next to his green beret.
He says: “When we signed up, we knew we would face dangers. We are not heroes – we are the lucky ones. The heroes are those who did not return.