A veteran commander from the Falklands Conflict has ceremonially opened a new-look bar in Devonport Naval Base.
Major General Julian Thompson CB OBE (Royal Marine retired) who served in the conflict, re-dedicated a bar within the senior rates and warrant officer’s mess at HMS Drake.
The bar has been named San Carlos, because San Carlos Bay was the scene of military operations in the Falklands and the idea is to represent the ethos of joint working in a tri-service manner. The success of the Falklands operation was dependant on such close working between various units from the Royal Navy/Royal Marines, RAF and Army.
The opening was then followed by a full ceremonial regimental dinner in the venue to complete the celebration.
Colonel Garth Manger commanding officer of 1 Assault group Royal Marines, based in Plymouth, said: “This highly successful opening and Regimental Dinner in the San Carlos Bar has helped to keep alight the memory and links the Royal Marines and Royal Navy have with the Falklands Campaign, while also serving to highlight the combined nature of warfare both in ‘82’ and today. The bar is in a first class location within the heart of HMS DRAKE, adjacent to RM Tamar, and will be an integral part of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines.
The refurbishment allows the bar to offer a suite for presentations and full-scale regimental dinner, open to all mess and associate members. The area is sponsored by the Royal Marines ahead of their arrival in the dockyard at the newly-built landing craft centre – Royal Marine Tamar – which is due to open later this year.
The guest list for the event include personnel from all services, 100 guests (31 RN, 12 Associate Members, 1 RAF, remainder Royal Marines & VIPs), Veterans from HMS Hermes, and all Commando units and veterans from the Falklands conflict, RM regimental sergeant’s majors, and the youngest Marines that fought in the land battle. Guests included key personnel from around the Naval Service to help put the venue on the map and promote its use, such as Commodore Graeme Little, Devonport Naval Base Commander, Lt Col E Southeby-Tailyour, Brigadier Ged Salzano (Brigade Training), Colonel Garth Manger (commanding officer 1 Assault Group Royal Marines) Warrant Officer (Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM)) P Ranft retired who was the Falklands Brigade RSM and Major Chisnall Royal Marines (retired) the conflict 42 Commando Royal Marines Regimental Sergeant Major. Personnel also attended from HMS Collingwood (Portsmouth), Flag Officer Sea Training (Plymouth), Devonport flotilla, Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines (Exmouth), Fleet Headquarters, 1 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (Plymouth), 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (Plymouth), Royal Marines Poole and Hasler Company (Plymouth).
Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Southby-Tailyour OBE is an author, sailor, and retired Royal Marine who served for 32 years in the Royal Marines In 1978, he was the officer commanding a small Royal Marines detachment that was posted to the Falkland Islands. It was then that on his own initiative he sailed around and extensively charted the waters around the islands, and had a 100+ page notebook filled with data on harbors, inlets, landing spots, etc his personal knowledge of the area would later prove highly valuable in the Falklands War. He was therefore, made the navigation adviser to ‘the command’ as well as commander of the Task Force Landing Craft Squadron for which he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
Thanks was offered to the Royal Navy/Royal Marine Charity and the mess committee for their support in giving the mess a thriving future.