Former seaman honoured for service following Falklands war

PUBLISHED: 07:39 13 April 2017 | UPDATED: 07:39 13 April 2017

John Thackray, Jenny Thackray, Nick Collett, Nick Thackray, and Bizz Thackray.

John Thackray, Jenny Thackray, Nick Collett, Nick Thackray, and Bizz Thackray.

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A former naval seaman has been awarded the South Atlantic Medal in recognition of his service in the aftermath of the Falklands conflict.

Nick Thackray, 53, from Brampton, joined the Royal Navy as a stores accountant in 1980 and was aboard HMS Phoebe when it was sent to the islands following the war in 1982, in which Argentinean forces invaded and were subsequently expelled by

UK forces.

After the conflict, thousands of troops remained in the South Atlantic as a deterrent against further attacks and Mr Thackray, who was still a teenager at the time, can recall going on countless patrols during his posting.

The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with Argentine surrender on June 14, 1982. In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and three Falkland Islanders died.

On the eve of the war’s 35th anniversary, Mr Thackray learned he was entitled to a medal in recognition of his service during the post-war period. He also re-visited the island in 1985 aboard HMS Scylla.

He said: “It was a total surprise. It’s not just a medal for me, it’s a medal for all the people who lost their lives in the Falklands. I’m very proud and it’s a great honour to wear it.”

Recalling his time on the island, Mr Thackray, a former Hinchingbrooke School pupil, said: “It was cold and it was rough but we had great camaraderie. There was always the threat that the Argentines might come back but, thankfully, it never materialised.”

He was presented with the medal late last month at Peterborough Town Hall by Sir Hugh Duberley, the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, and was joined by his wife, Jenny, friend Nick Collett, and his parents Bizz and John.

Mr Thackray left the Royal Navy in 1986 and went on to enjoy a successful career in construction. He is a site manager for Godfrey and Hicks Builders.

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