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The Falklands Marines are reunited 40 years later to recreate an iconic photo taken on the day Argentina’s islands surrendered

IT is the most famous image of the Falklands War – six Royal Marines proudly flying from their radio antenna with the Union Jack.

Aside from flag-bearer Pete Robinson, however, the other Marines have never been publicly identified — until now.

2022: Marines recreate the iconic image of the Falkland Islands 40 years later

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2022: Marines recreate the iconic image of the Falkland Islands 40 years laterCredit: Wayne Perry
1982: On the day Argentina surrendered, six Marines were seen jumping over the Falkland Islands

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1982: On the day Argentina surrendered, six Marines were seen jumping over the Falkland IslandsCredit: Pete Holdgate

This week, The Sun brought six of them together in Dartmoor, Devon, where they met for the first time in 40 years.

We also reunited the heroes with commando photographer Pete Holdgate, who captured the iconic image on June 14, 1982, the day Argentina surrendered.

Pete, now 71, recreated his famous “Yomper” photo, which symbolized Britain’s incredible struggle to reclaim the tiny South Atlantic islands 8,000 miles from Britain.

Four decades ago, they were fit young Royal Marines who were forced to jop — slang for marching route — across nearly 80 miles of freezing terrain to help defeat Argentina’s occupying force of 10,000 troops.

Today, as they meet for the first time since the photograph was taken, the years are melting away.

After a series of groundbreaking bear hugs and bootneck banter, each man proudly dons his green beret.

They grab their Bergen rucksacks – mercifully light compared to the 10th they weighed at the time – and fall into the formation they were pictured in 40 years ago.

Flying under the flag are Corporal Pete Robinson, 63, of Swindon while ahead in the distance are Marines Will Evans, 60, of Tamworth, Staffs, Alec Watt, 58, of Plymouth, Ray Houghton, John ‘Taff’. Davies and Colin Adams.

Colin, 58, from Kew, West London, says: “None of us knew how iconic this shot was going to be so it was a great opportunity to do it again.”

Photographer Pete says: “We haven’t seen each other since the Falklands War. A huge thank you to The Sun for bringing us all together from all corners of the country.”

The flag for our 2022 photo is slightly larger than the 1982 one because no one knows where the original went. The Yompers hope a Sun reader can solve the mystery.

Will Evans found the original flag on the cruise ship SS Canberra en route to the conflict and it was commissioned to transport British troops to the islands.

Colin Adams had just celebrated his 18th birthday when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands on April 2nd. On May 21, Colin sat with his comrades from 40 Commando in a landing craft heading for Blue Beach in pitch blackness.

He remembers: “As the youngest in the group, I was pushed to the front. Apparently it’s military tradition that the youngest has the honor of being first.

Yomper reunited

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Britain’s Heroes (LR)

Marine John ‘Taff’ Davies: THE Welshman left the Marines in 1992 after a 20-year career. Since then he has worked as a civil servant.

Marine Colin Adams: ULSTER veteran Colin was selected for the SBS but was medically discharged in 1999. He suffered from PTSD, worked as a diving instructor in Australia and met Argentine veterans in 2019. Today he is married to Sally.

Marine Alec Watts: ALEC has since worked in retail fraud management and as a seaweed farmer. Married to Amanda, 54, he has son Theo, nine, and is stepfather to Miles, 23, and Lucy, 26.

Sergeant Pete Holdgate: Commando photographer Pete Holdgate later became photo editor for a local newspaper.

Marine Ray Houghton: THE veteran from Northern Ireland, Belize and Cyprus left the Marines in 1990. He and his wife Serena have two children – nurse Nikki, 33, and police officer Karl, 31.

Corporal Pete Robinson: After the Falklands conflict, Corporal Pete Robinson met Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. A bronze statue of him called The Yomper stands in front of the Royal Marines Museum in Portsmouth. He is now the stud manager for an Arabian horse charity.

Marine Will Evans: THE father-of-three framed the worn soles of the boots he hopped in on the epic Falklands March. After leaving the Marines in 1984, Will worked as a truck driver before moving into advertising. He later became a geophysical driller.

“Walked into a minefield”

“I ran back and forth, right up to my chest in the freezing water.

“I made it to the beach in no time and ducked for cover.

“The first air raid hit us a few hours after dawn. Days of total chaos followed as wave after wave of Argentine jets smashed us. I saw a lot of planes being shot down, but they just kept going.”

Four days after landing, one of these attacks sank the RFA ship Atlantic Conveyor, which was carrying Chinook helicopters that would have transported the Marines across East Falkland. So they had to jop instead.

Along with 45 Commando, they became part of a plan to take the three high points around the capital city of Stanley – Mount Longden, Mount Harriet and Two Sisters.

From San Carlos they were sent to Teal Inlet, where an Argentine attack had destroyed 45 Commando anti-tank missile launchers.

Yomp

What does “jomp” mean?

origin unclear. Marines slang for a long-distance march with full gear.

Possibly an acronym for Your own marching pace.

Ray Houghton, 58, of South Shields, Tyne & Wear, says: “Orders came in at first light to advance to Sapper Hill. On the way we heard about the white flags in Stanley.

“We were in the middle of a minefield when it was confirmed, so there wasn’t much to celebrate.

“We secured our guns and someone got the flag out to tie to Pete’s cell tower.”

But Will’s flag, which was attached with black tape, later flew away.

Pete says, “Will went to get it and made a proper statement about walking into a minefield.”

As the six Marines trudged toward Port Stanley, Petty Officer Pete Holdgate spotted them.

Pete, who went on to become a photo editor for a local newspaper, remembers: “There were mines everywhere and men were stepping in each other’s footsteps to protect themselves.

“I followed him for almost two hours before there was enough wind to unfurl the flag and get the shot. I never expected it to get the response it did.”

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John Davies, 62, has the photo on the wall at his home in Evesham, Worcs – alongside his green beret.

He says: “We knew from the moment we signed up that we were going to be in danger. We are not heroes – we are the lucky ones. The heroes are the ones who didn’t come home.”

Petty Officer Pete Holdgate saw the Marines and snapped a photo

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Petty Officer Pete Holdgate saw the Marines and snapped a photoPhoto credit: WireImage-Getty
The Marines' photo was taken in Port Stanley

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The Marines’ photo was taken in Port Stanley
Another look at the llne of Marines making the treacherous trek

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Another look at the llne of Marines making the treacherous trekCredit: Pete Holdgate
The Marines were part of a group defending the Falkland Islands from the Argentine invasion

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The Marines were part of a group defending the Falkland Islands from the Argentine invasionCredit: PROVIDED

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5134945/falklands-yompers-recreate-iconic-picture/ The Falklands Marines are reunited 40 years later to recreate an iconic photo taken on the day Argentina’s islands surrendered

DevanCole

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