We are very proud of our Procurement Manager, Steve Rue who has been recognised for his services to the Royal Navy.
He was one of the first Falklands veterans to receive the South Atlantic Medal (SAM) under the extended criteria, covering those that served from the cease fire up until October 21st 1982.
For decades the only veterans who could claim the South Atlantic Medal were those who had been on the islands up to July 12, 1982. But this year a long-awaited independent review, by the former British Ambassador to France, Sir John Holmes, ruled that time should be extended by three months to October 21, 1982 and that these veterans should have been recognised for their service in that year.
The revised criteria now covers veterans who served up to when an airfield, at what is now RAF Mount Pleasant, was completed as part of Britain’s efforts to strengthen the islands against future attacks.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron presented the South Atlantic Medal in Downing Street. Apologising that it had taken as long as it had done, he added that he now believed that “a great injustice had now been put right.”
Steve served as an Aircraft Engineer on 809 sea harrier squadron, operating from HMS Illustrious. Having relieved both HMS Invincible and Hermes, en route, his squadron arrived at the islands just a few weeks after Argentine forces surrendered Port Stanley on June 14, 1982. And, although the war was over, their work was not without its dangers. Still in the midst of the Falklands winter, they faced the constant threat of an attack by the Argentine Air Force, and anyone ashore had to deal with landmines and the graves of the war dead.
Steve spent time ashore, with a detachment of sea harriers operating from the makeshift airfield near Stanley. This was to maintain routine combat air patrols (CAP’s) over the islands during the day and night fighter capabilities, if needed. Living in tents and working from temporary buildings, aside from the routine patrols, they were constantly operating at a heightened state of alert, ready to intercept any enemy aircraft or shipping.
Steve commented: “I was already proud to be told that I was now eligible to receive the South Atlantic Medal, but to be one of only 20 people invited to Downing street to have it presented by the Prime Minister was particularly special. It was an unforgettable day. All of the staff treated my wife and me like VIPs, from the moment we arrived at the security gate until we left.”