Service marks 40th anniversary of Falklands War hero's death

A service was held at the Prescott Bridge and Memorial in Milngavie on Sunday ahead of the 40th anniversary of the death of a Falklands War hero.

All those who gathered at the Prescott Bridge to remember S’Sgt Jame Prescott
All those who gathered at the Prescott Bridge to remember S’Sgt Jame Prescott

Staff Sergeant James Prescott, of the Royal Engineers, and his colleague Warrant Officer II John Philips were tasked with defusing a bomb on HMS Antelope on May 23, 1982, in Saint Carlos Waters.

A day earlier the duo had disarmed a similar bomb on HMS Argonaut, and made several attempts to blow the fuse of the Antelope bomb without success.

They were unaware the 1,000 lbs device had a 28-second delay and it exploded while they were standing just 30ft away.

S’Sgt James Prescott was killed on board HMS Antelope

The blast killed S’Sgt Prescott instantly at the age of 37, and he was posthumously awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for his bravery.

This would be the only such medal given out during the conflict with Argentina, and indeed the only one awarded to an army recipient during The Queen’s reign.

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WO Phillips, who lost an arm in the incident and received the Distinguished Service Cross, was in attendance at the service along with Vice Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire Linda Moffat, members of the Prescott family, and past and present Gentlemen of the Corp of Royal Engineers.

The service was blessed by Padre Duncan Weaver from the Veterans Chaplaincy Scotland, and the 7th Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland (7 Scots) provided the piper, Corporal Kellett and bugler, Warrant Officer (band master) Brill.

Representative from HMS Antelope, Andrew Till, also came along to complement this circle of friends whilst also remembering Steward Mark Stephens, who was aged just 18 when he was killed when the bomb hit the ship.

Afterwards there was refreshment at the West of Scotland RFC who kindly allowed us the use of their facilities.

The Prescott Bridge crosses the Allander Water, forming part of the Allander Walkway.

It was constructed by 583 EOD Sqn RE (V) in 1990 and later dedicated to the memory of S’Sgt Prescott.

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A bronze plaque on the bridge was stolen by metal thieves in 2013, but WO Phillips organised a fundraiser to have a replacement installed.