The battle for Mount Longdon was ferocious, though we were told it would be lightly defended. The plan had been for a naval bombardment to be followed by an air assault, but for some reason neither of those happened. And it was well defended – by an enemy who’d been there for months, laid mines all around it and reinforced their positions. After a night-march to the base of the mountain, we formed an extended line and were told to fix bayonets. I remember thinking this was going to hurt. We crept up in the dark until a poor chap stepped on a mine, which woke the enemy up. Twenty-three of our soldiers were killed during the battle by small- arms and sniper fire, and by shelling.
Trevor (far right) on top of Mount Longdon in 2014 with other veterans from 3 Para
As we climbed, the rounds fizzed past us. It felt impossible not to get hit. At one stage, some of us took cover behind a small peat bank, and that’s where Tim Jenkins, the lad from the Canberra, was killed. In order to move forward, we walked through that minefield, knowing every step could be disastrous, still under fire, in the dark, desperately trying to put your boot into the mark made by the chap in front. It was grim.
At the peak, we discarded our webbing, crammed ammunition and grenades into our pockets, and went over the top in pairs like something out of the First World War. It was mayhem, with friendly and enemy artillery fire dropping all over the place. There was a couple of hours of frantic fighting, not knowing what was happening around you, every man for himself. War is chaotic, I think.
As it got light, the enemy pulled back into Stanley, and things got even worse as our sudden visibility meant we were shelled incessantly. I just felt powerless. That night, we watched the marines and 2 Para attack the other mountains around us, tracer rounds lighting up the sky. Next day, we were preparing for some tough fighting in the streets of Stanley, when we got word the Argentines had surrendered.