Falklands War: Family of soldier killed on Sir Galahad want secret documents released

  • ITV Wales' Ian Lang reports from Rhyl.

The sister of a Falklands War veteran who was killed on the RFA Sir Galahad has called on the UK Government to release official records which reveal how Argentinian bombers targeted the ship.

Documents revealing the full facts about the bombing are sealed until 2065 but families of those lost and injured want to understand why the attack, which killed 32 Welsh Guards, was able to happen.

The ship and sister vessel Sir Tristram lost a total of 48 crew members, with many more injured.

Among those who died was Peter Edwards, aged 19, from Llandyrnog, near Denbigh, who was described by his sisters Mandy Perkins and Barbara Royles as "full of life".

There was no greater British loss of life throughout the Falklands conflict than the attack on Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram Credit: ITN Library

Falklands veteran Les Peake, now a businessman in Rhyl, still lives with the memory of the events of the morning of June 8, 1982, when the Sir Galahad, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ship, was sunk by the Argentinian air force.

He said: "The families and the boys want the documents released so we know exactly what went on on that day and why we were left there as sitting ducks costing so many lives."

In April 1982, Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory in the south-west Atlantic, and then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sent a taskforce to take them back.

With the struggle to liberate the islands entering its closing stages in June, two RFAs - Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram - were sent to support the final assault.

They were due to deliver British troops to Bluff Cove, but the ships dropped anchor five miles short of their destination at Fitzroy Sound.

Argentine forces subsequently bombed the ships, and there was no greater British loss of life throughout the Falklands conflict than the attack.

Les Peake (centre) with sisters of Peter Edwards, who are calling on the UK Government to unveil official records. Credit: Rick Matthews

Barbara Royles, one of Peter's sisters, told ITV Wales: "I've got pictures of Peter and he's always looking at me. He's always with us.

"Nothing will be said or done to bring him back but we just want closure on it because we won't be here to see it if they don't [release the documents].

"In 2065 we'll all be gone. We want justice and closure."

Peter Edwards, from Llandyrnog, near Denbigh, lost his life on the Sir Galahad. Credit: Rick Matthews

UK Government defence minister Andrew Murrison was asked about the publication of all documents relating to the bombing of RFA Sir Galahad by Jessica Morden, Labour MP for Newport East in the House of Commons on 25 March.

He said: "I recognise the substantial public and parliamentary interest in this matter. Consequently, I recently visited the National Archives at Kew to view the RFA Sir Galahad files.

"As a result, we are looking to release a further two files, subject to the Ministry of Defence’s legal advisers confirming that individuals’ rights under the Data Protection Act 2018 would not be contravened.

"In relation to the five files of witness statements, I want maximum transparency, subject to the Public Records Act 1958 and ensuring that personal data is protected. I shall provide a further update shortly."

When pressed by Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, Stephen Doughty, on the timeframe for this, the minister said: "I will not be drawn on precise times, but it will not be years."

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