Posts Tagged ‘heroes’

What with christams, new year and well life, it’s been a few weeks. But I hadn’t forgotten. So here’s another Friday fiver.

This week I saw a tweet from someone I follow on twitter

Now, I find Skip funny and provoking. Not to everyone’s taste certainly. But following the link i saw this charity.

Soldiers off the Street helps all branches of the forces. They provide practical and sound help to get people back on their feet and with a fighting chance of a decent life. Not a lot to ask for guys and girls who signed a blank cheque to the nation for everything up to and including their life is it?

The fact that this is needed shows what politicians really think of the forces. There to be discarded when inconvenient. Take a moment for a read, and if you can spare the price of a pint they even take paypal… go on, you know you’ll feel better for doing it.

Forgive the lack of remembrance post, away drinking at a good friends wedding north of the wall in soon to be free Scotland! (great day, and great to see them so happy – best wishes for the future  – you know who you are!)

So back to it!

Rememberance also marked the passing of a proper British hero. Sir Rex Masterman Hunt KCMG, most famous as governor of the Falkland Islands at the time of the Argentine invasion.

During his career he also served as a Sptfire pilot, and having joined the Colonial and Diplomatic Services went on to serve in all the nicest location including postings in Uganda, Sarawak, Brunei, Turkey, Indonesia, South Vietnam, Malaysia and the Falkland Islands. Hunt was appointed the Consul-General at the British Embassy in Saigon in 1974 and was there at the time of the fall of South Vietnam in 1975.

The best snippets I have found are that as the Argentines closed in on Stanley, and with time short he sent all his staff to safety and having told them to take only their most valuable possession his housekeeper took a framed picture of HM Queen and a bottle of gin. As you would probably expect by now, knowing the sort of man he was, he remained with the few Royal Marines as his residence quickly became the centre of armed action in Stanley. Once all was obviously hopeless and to prevent needless loss of life, he ordered the Marines to lay down their arms. He then dressed in his formal uniform, including plumed hat, and met the Argentine commander whereupon he instructed him

“You have landed unlawfully on British territory and I order you to remove yourself and your troops forthwith”

In later life he was chairman of the Falkland Islands Association for many years and President of the UK Falkland Islands Trust. He retired in 2004 and moved to Yorkshire, and passed away in Stockton on Tees, fittingly perhaps, on remembrance day.

His self sacrifice and dedication to duty stands in stark contrast to the current self serving expense grasping jungle dwellers we seem afflicted with now.

Bravo Zulu Sir Rex.

More links
BBC – Falklands governor Sir Rex Hunt dies
Falkland Islands News Network – Falklands Mark the Passing of Sir Rex Hunt CMG
Penguin News – Sir Rex Hunt Falklands Governor during the Argentine invasion dies

I'm out of here

I am gutted

I try not to be too personal on my blog. Not everyone who reads even knows who I am, I like it that way.

But to understand this post you need to know a couple of things.

I love Hawkwind, by far my favourite band. Dawkins knows how many albums I have by them; they also hold great sentimental value to me as I was introduced by a great old friend, my best man, who is no longer with us.

I also love the sea. I am a sailor. I do not mean a wind assisted idiot who ventures out on a plastic drinks cabinet twice a year. I have made the sea my professional life as a hydrographer (a cartographer for you lubbers). I’ve sailed to Antarctica a few times, lost count of how many miles sailed and the only sea I have yet to visit is the Arctic.

I am also deeply moved by the environment. Not the rose tinted, saccharine, Disney version of cute big eyed cuddliness. But the natural world red in tooth and claw. I was a member of save the whale; I am studying for an MSc in marine environmental science stuff…

So when I found Hawkwind were playing a local theatre I was somewhat excited. Not unnaturally I visited their website to check dates and prices and found a link to support the Sea Shepherd

The Sea Shepherd describe their mission:

Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.

Tactics have included ramming vessels and throwing toxic or noxious substances at the whalers. You may think that as an ardent supporter of preventing whaling I would be in favour of their more direct tactics. I am not.

I have several issues with them.

The whalers on the vessels are not the problem. It is the people that own the vessels, the companies that profit from selling scientific research catch as food stuff, even the people that buy and eat whale meat. Working on a vessel at sea, especially fishing vessel is not pleasant. People do not do it for fun. These men (it is overwhelmingly male) do it to earn a living, to feed their children, to support their families. Sea Shepherd would achieve more tackling the cultural shift needed in Far East countries to get whale meat removed from the dinner table, however it is more exciting and gung-ho to become pirates. They seek to impose their cultural values on others by threat of violence.

The sea is a dangerous enough place as it is. The sea does not care why you are there, it is indifferent to your sentiments or your pleading. It will happily kill a good man as a bad one. Anyone who intentionally sets out to make it more dangerous for others loses my sympathy immediately.

There is no need to adopt these tactics at sea. They could chose to attack company offices, fishing ports, research labs where the meat is processed. They do it at sea to attempt to avoid national laws. They put avoiding arrest above risking others lives, something I cannot condone.

So am I saying Whales should not be protected? Of course not. But not by giving into self aggrandising ego trips. Far more is achieved by patient work, monitoring and publicising illegal activities than resorting to piracy in far flung places. More is accomplished by careful planning and research to change attitudes than by giving into a base desire to lash out at what we perceive as wrong.

It’s far tougher that way. It’s not as sexy to lobby and educate than to physically attack someone. But it’s more effective, more grown up and more civilised. If we can’t behave like that why should others?

There are alternatives. They work. Greenpeace continue to do good work. And they do it without attacking some poor sod just trying to feed his kids in a dangerous remote cold place…

As for me and my Hawkwind gig? Not sure yet. Yet another hero seems slightly smaller today.

Some other links you may be interested in.
Sea Watch Foundation
International fund for Animal Welfare
Save the Whales
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

May I humbly suggest one.

Not because he was a Royal Marine, (who I have immense respect for having slogged my way round their assault course once, sans kit and weapon!)

Not because he did a shit job in a foreign land and called it a duty.

Not because he gave his life and got less respect and recognition than some piss water perfume that some plastic faced attention whore was touting.

But because he knew this may happen, accepted it as part of the job and still made time to think for his family and friends.

So after leaving cash for his family and his favourite charity (which cares for injured marines), he took life insurance and specified it was to include a trip for his friends. Now 32 of his mates are off to Las Vegas courtesy of Marine David Hart to celebrate his memory. I hope they do him proud.

Looking out for his comrades still. A true Marine.

Bravo Zulu.