David Atkinson, a member of Granta Lodge No. 6179 in the Province of Cambridgeshire, has returned to the Falkland Islands for the first time since the war ended in 1982
David joined the Royal Navy in 1972 (Naval Canteen Service) and was selected to join the crew of HMS Endurance during the Falklands conflict. He later served on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, but had to retire from the Royal Navy in 1991 due to loss of his sight.
As a recipient of the South Atlantic Medal, David took advantage of a concessionary flight and travelled by Voyager, the largest Royal Air Force aircraft, on the ‘air bridge’ between RAF Brize Norton and the Falklands.
During the trip David, together with his guide Phil Drewery, who also served on HMS Endurance, stayed at Liberty Lodge in Port Stanley. There they visited a number of battlefields including Goose Green and Fitzroy. David also presented Nigel Phillips CBE, Governor of the Falklands, with a Blind Veterans UK tie and laid a wreath at the 1982 Liberation Memorial.
David said: ‘I wanted to go back to pay my respects and see how things had changed. It was a very emotional trip and an honour to remember those who fell in battle.
‘My thanks go to Blind Veterans UK and the Falklands Veterans Foundation for helping to make this trip happen. The support I have received from Blind Veterans UK has been brilliant. I have received training and equipment which has enabled me to do everyday tasks which were otherwise impossible. I was a keen canoer before losing my sight and Blind Veterans UK gave me the opportunity to get back on the water.’