New photographic exhibition of Scots Falklands veterans to mark 40th anniversary of conflict's end

A series of portraits of Falklands veterans has been released to tell their stories as Scotland marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the conflict todaynote-0.

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Award-winning photographer Wattie Cheung worked with military charities Poppyscotland and Legion Scotland to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of our Armed Forces in the 1982 war.

The work has been released ahead of a national remembrance parade and service in the centre of Edinburgh on Saturday.

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Hundreds of current and former servicemen and women and their families are expected to take part, joined by the city’s Lord Provost , representatives of the Scottish Government, and heads of all three Armed Services in Scotland.

Rear Admiral Mark Beverstock, 58, joined the Royal Navy as a school leaver as it was a chance to get paid to go to university and study engineering

Veterans and a military band will march through the city at 10am before a service of remembrance and wreath-laying in St Andrew Square, followed by musical entertainment.

Pipers around the world will play the Crags of Tumbledown Mountain in tribute to the fallen at 11am. The tune was composed by Scottish soldier, Pipe Major James Riddell, during the final battle on the back of a ration packet.

The conflict began on April 2, 1982, when Argentina invaded the British overseas territory in the south-west Atlantic Ocean. The occupiers surrendered on June 14 as British forces approached the capital, Stanley. In total, 255 British servicemen, 649 Argentine military personnel, and three civilians died, while many more were wounded.

Mr Cheung photographed seven veterans across Scotland using a Graflex Super D large format film camera made in the USA in the 1940s. Each one said that the 10-week conflict had impacted the rest of their lives, with many losing close friends and struggling to come to terms with their experiences.

Rear Admiral Beverstock as he looks today. He was one of two trainee officers aboard HMS Ambuscade, protecting "high value assets" and escorting ships into San Carlos Bay, nicknamed "Bomb Alley".

David Cruickshanks, from Glenrothes, Fife, who at just 17 was the youngest Scot to serve in the Falklands with the Royal Navy, remembers the constant threat of air attacks and losing six crewmates from his ship, HMS Fearless. He later went on to become a leading press photographer.

Former Scots Guards Donald McLeod, Willie Urban and Graham Hopewell were involved in the final battle for Mount Tumbledown on June 13 enduring nine hours of hand-to-hand fighting through the night. Eight of their comrades were killed.

Mr Cheung, who previously took portrait images to mark the 75th anniversary of D Day in 2019, and VE Day and VJ Day in 2020, said: “Meeting veterans is always humbling and a good opportunity to learn about the harsh realities of war from those who have first-hand experience. They were all young men, no matter which war, sent into situations that they had never experienced. I don’t think they see themselves as heroes but just ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances doing a job they were trained to do.”

Dr Claire Armstrong, Chief Executive of Legion Scotland, said: “These stunning portraits pay tribute to the incredible efforts and resilience of those who served in the Falklands. They encourage us to reflect on the sacrifices they made 40 years ago and remember those who paid the ultimate price.

Drum Major Willie Urban, now 65, from Newtongrange, Midlothian, who joined the Scots Guards when he left school as he "didn't want to go in the pits" like his father. Here's he is pictured firing his machine gun during the 1982 war.

“Today will be a poignant day for thousands of veterans, servicemen, women, and their families, as we mark the anniversary of the ceasefire. Although the conflict lasted for just 74 days, it had a profound impact, with many veterans struggling with the physical and mental scars for decades afterwards.

Drum Major Urban as he looks today. He was stationed in Bluff Cove when the Argentinian air force bombed ships anchored close by, killing around 50 members of the Welsh Guards. Willie and his comrades fired at the planes as they flew overhead, bringing several down. They then continued on to Mount Tumbledown as part of the defence platoon.
Just a boy: David Cruickshanks, from Glenrothes, was only 17 and the youngest Scot to serve in the Falklands. He was a sailor on board HMS Fearless.
David Cruickshanks, now 57, went on to have a highly successful career as a press photographer
Donald McLeod, 63, from Edinburgh, spent his childhood traveling with his father in the Royal Transport Corps, and joined the Scots Guards aged 19. He was carrying out public duties in London, when they were told to prepare to sail for the Falklands.
Graham Walker, 61, served as a Leading Seaman (Radar) on board HMS Yarmouth during the Falklands conflict. He joined the Royal Navy as a 15-year-old school leaver as he wanted to "see the world". He served in the Navy until 2000, going on to become a lecturer in business at Carnegie College (now Fife College).
Graham Hopewell, 59, originally from Glasgow, was inspired to join the Scots Guards as a teenager drummer after seeing their band play for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. He was sent to the Falklands as part of 5 Infantry Brigade aboard the QE2, and remembers bitterly cold conditions and barren landscapes reminiscent of the Highlands.