Falklands hero hails Magaret Thatcher’s leadership

A FALKLANDS War hero has insisted tributes should be paid to Margaret Thatcher’s “resolve” despite fears over stormy scenes on the day of her funeral.

Major Iain Dalzel-Job is the current owner of The Guards Hotel in Haymarket, but in 1982 as the commander of G-Company he led the Scots Guards into conflict at the Battle of Mount Tumbledown.

The 66-year-old said Baroness Thatcher’s “steadfastness” was crucial to securing victory over the Argentinian forces and that it was only right she be honoured for her efforts.

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The Evening News told yesterday that the city council plans not to show the former prime minister’s funeral on the big screen in Festival Square to prevent potential disorder.

Major Dalzel-Job, who is president of Scots Guards Association Club, said: “She was a very strong leader, very decisive and steadfast in her judgements, soldiers respond well to that. I think that is why she is still so well respected and thought of by the armed forces. Politically she is quite divisive but the army always has to be apolitical.

“As a soldier you don’t fight for Queen or country but the people beside you and I think she understood this.

“She made her decisions and knew that by displaying resolve, those around her would follow.”

Mount Tumbledown was a key two-day battle in the Falklands conflict – in total, ten British soldiers were killed and 53 wounded. Argentinian losses amounted to 30 killed, more than 100 wounded and 30 captured.

Major Dalzel-Job was hurt and still has pieces of shrapnel in his head following a mortar blast.

He said: “Tumbledown was a heavy firefight with a lot of hand-to-hand fighting. It was the last major battle of the war. We were the first company in. It was exciting, but it was also frightening. A mortar round went off over my head while I was about 10ft up on a rock.

“I saw our medical officer when we got back to the East Falkland after the war was over. There was a tiny bit of metal, the size of the end of a pencil in my head. The battalion lost eight in total. I thought my company would lose around 15 or 20 people, but thankfully we didn’t lose anybody.”

First Minister Alex Salmond and ex-prime minister Gordon Brown are among those set to attend Lady Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday, which while not a state funeral will have the same military status as those of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.

1000 lives lost in three month war

IN March 1982, 50 Argentinians landed on South Georgia and hoisted their national flag.

Two weeks later, on April 2, General Galtieri, head of Argentina’s military junta, ordered the occupation of the Falkland Islands.

In response, Margaret Thatcher dispatched a task force to eject the invaders – although war was never declared by either side.

So began the Falklands conflict, which would last three months until June 14 and result in the loss of nearly 1000 lives, a quarter of them British.

Britain secured a convincing victory and hostilities formally ceased on June 20, 1982, after which the Argentinian military junta forced Galtieri to resign.

The brief war revitalised Margaret Thatcher as prime minister – her popularity was suffering before the conflict – as in 1983 she led the Tories to a massive electoral victory.