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End of Falklands War remembered 40 years on with collection of portraits

Willie Urban, who has been photographed as part of the exhibition (Poppy Scotland)
Willie Urban, who has been photographed as part of the exhibition (Poppy Scotland)

A collection of portraits of Falklands veterans has been revealed on Tuesday as Scotland marks the 40th anniversary of the war coming to an end.

Seven veterans from across Scotland were pictured by Glasgow photographer Wattie Cheung as part of the virtual exhibition, helping to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of Britain’s armed forces in the 1982 conflict.

Among them is David Cruickshanks, from Fife, who at the age of 17 was the youngest Scot to serve in the Falklands with the Royal Navy.

David Cruickshanks, who has been photographed as part of the exhibition (Poppy Scotland)

He still remembers the constant threat of air attacks, accidentally walking through a minefield, and losing six crewmates from his ship, HMS Fearless.

And former Scots Guards Donald McLeod, Willie Urban and Graham Hopewell were involved in the final battle to take Mount Tumbledown on June 13, before the Argentinian surrender the following day.

Mr McLeod described nine hours of hand-to-hand fighting through the night, during which eight of his comrades were killed.

Mr Cheung, who photographed the veterans using a 1940s Graflex Super D large format film camera, said meeting the men was a “humbling and good opportunity to learn about the harsh realities of war from those who had first-hand experience”.

“They were all young men, no matter which war, sent into situations that they had never experienced. I don’t think they see themselves as heroes but just ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances doing a job they were trained to do,” he said.

Mr Cheung worked with charities Poppy Scotland and Legion Scotland for the exhibition.

Claire Armstrong, chief executive of Legion Scotland, said: “Today will be a poignant day for thousands of veterans, servicemen, women, and their families, as we mark the anniversary of the ceasefire.

“Although the conflict lasted for just 74 days, it had a profound impact, with many veterans struggling with the physical and mental scars for decades afterwards.”

The war began on April 2 1982 when Argentina invaded the British overseas territory. On June 14 of the same year, as British forces approached its capital Stanley, Argentina surrendered.

In total, 255 British servicemen, 649 Argentinian military personnel, and three civilians died, while many more were wounded.

On Saturday, a national remembrance parade and service will be held in Edinburgh, where hundreds of current and former servicemen and women are expected to take part.

From 10am, veterans and a military band will march from Charlotte Square along George Street, before a service of remembrance and wreath-laying in St Andrew Square.

Pipers from around the world will play the Crags of Tumbledown Mountain at 11am in memory of the fallen.