Falklands 40 Veteran: 'Word went down the line to fix bayonets, stand up, and we walked forward'

Forty years ago, Lance Corporal Paul Moore of 9 Parachute Regiment, Royal Engineers was attached to 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment and he was about to go to war in The Falklands.

The Argentinians had just invaded the British overseas territory and during the conflict, Paul, who lives in Peterlee, County Durham, would lose some close friends.

He told ITV News Tyne Tees his most vivid memory is the battle of Mount Longdon, which saw 23 British service personnel killed.

He said: "Just before we advanced through the minefield, which we knew was there, the Sergeant Major said, 'if some of you want to have a word with the man upstairs, do it now because you might need him', and then word went down the line for us to fix bayonets and stand up, and we walked forward and into it.

"One of our guys stood on a landmine, so there was an explosion, and then everything went noisy. The Argentinians started firing down the hill at us and we ran up the hill into the gullies and got on with it."

During the battle, Paul lost close friends. He explained: "When we first landed in Port San Carlos, my pal Scotty searched the community centre there, which had been used as a billet for the Argentinean troops and in there he found a flag.

"We were just about to launch on Mount Longdon and Scotty asked me to carry the flag for him and just take it and look after it, you know? And I said you know, 'you carry it, it’s your’s you know'. And he said, 'No, just humour me. I want you to do it, you know, because I have a feeling about this. I have a feeling that I might not come back'."

To Paul's sadness, Scotty was right about his own fate.

Paul added: "An Argentinean artillery piece right along the ridge fired its round along the ridge, and the round struck a rock behind Scotty and killed him.

"I wasn't actually with Scotty at the time. I was down at the regimental aid post and. That’s sort of always been one of my regrets, that I wasn’t perhaps where I thought I should have been."

The Battle of Mount Longdon sticks in his mind, but so do the wet conditions he operated in.

"Because your feet are constantly wet, the skin just falls off. There was almost no way of getting dry at all, you know, because as soon as you got your socks dry and you put dry socks on or whatever, you know, within minutes of walking again, you were wet again. That was one of the hardest aspects of the whole campaign", explained Paul.

He said at some points in the war, he and his comrades were short on foods and ammunition, adding: "Everything got pretty thin, pretty quick and certainly we went for about five days at one point without food, so we just had what we were carrying.

"So I think if it had gone another week, it might have been a very different story, but I remember the moment someone saying 'helmets off, get your berets on, put your red berets on' and that was quite a moment. We knew then that it was almost done and dusted."

Life became difficult for Paul in the years following the Falklands War. Battling his own mental health deterioration, it all came to a head whilst based in Germany in the late 1980s.

He said: "I was getting into trouble and drinking too much, fighting, you know, I liked a good scrap in the mess or whatever and that’s not the thing you should be doing, so people around me started to notice that my character was changing slightly.

"I was on the ranges and I considered, you know, taking a weapon and, you know, just going for it, you know? But but I didn’t. I learned from that I needed to get help properly."

He found a way of dealing with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and tomorrow he will mark the 40 year anniversary of the beginning of the Falklands War, which he said he believes is more important than ever to remember.

He said: "I believe that nothing’s talked about the Falklands in schools these days, which I think is a bit of a shame.

"I talk to people out there and people haven’t ever heard of the Falklands, don't even know that we fought a war down there. You know, again, I think it’s a bit of a shame. It should be out there."