Sultan sailors in Falklands anniversary challenge

PERSONNEL at HMS Sultan have taken on a Falklands Conflict 40th Anniversary Charity Challenge to walk, run, cycle, row or swim a combined distance of 9697 miles in aid of the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and the Falklands Veterans Foundation.

The Challenge runs from 2 April – 14 June, the date from when Argentinian forces invaded the Falklands Islands to when the Conflict ended in 1982, and covers the distance travelled by Royal Navy ships based in Portsmouth to the Falklands Islands capital, Stanley.

Amongst those participating in the Challenge is Falklands veteran and Commanding Officer of the HMS Sultan Royal Naval Volunteer Cadet Corps Warrant Officer 1 Mark Branson. Mark served on the Type 42 Destroyer, HMS Cardiff during the conflict.

“We were deployed in Kenya when the conflict started and it wasn’t long before our deployment was changed and we were sent onto Gibraltar to get a black line painted on the ship (to differentiate RN Type 42s from Argentina’s) before travelling down to the Falklands.”

Once there we were involved in various operations, including Naval Gunfire Support where we were tasked around Bluff Cove, we swapped overnight with RFA Sir Tristram and RFA Sir Galahad before they took hits from Argentinian aircraft and suffered casualties.

“I was only 22 at the time and had only recently been married in 1981. Looking back I’m still very proud to have been involved in what we achieved, it’s just something that you never forget.”

I’m delighted to be able to get involved with the Challenge and support these worthy causes. It’s massively important that we remember those who gave their lives so that the Falklands remained British and that those living there can enjoy those freedoms today.”

Readers can find out more information about the project and can donate to the cause via the Just Giving Page, which has a target of £10,000 and was started last week as it looks to raise funds for charity.

PICTURED BY HMS SULTAN MEDIA: Personnel at the base have taken on a Falklands Conflict 40th Anniversary Charity Challenge; left to right: POPT Gareth Reid, WO1 Mark Branson and CPOPT ‘Daz’ Hoare

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