Wales

Falklands veteran Simon Weston 'friends' with jet bomber

RFA Sir Galahad on fire after Argentine air raid, June 1982
Image caption June 1982: RFA Sir Galahad comes under attack at Bluff Cove,

Falklands veteran Simon Weston has said he remains friends with the Argentine fighter pilot who bombed his ship, leaving him with life-changing burns.

The former Welsh Guardsman was on board the RFA Sir Galahad when it came under fire in the 1982 conflict, killing 22 of his platoon.

He told the Radio Times he had "no hate for the pilot".

The ex-soldier was talking ahead of the BBC Two documentary he is presenting on the Imperial War Museums.

"Our countries were at war. Having spoken to him, he didn't know there were as many people on the ship as there were," he told the magazine.

"Unlike terrorists, this guy wore his country's uniform and he was very good at his job - he should have been, the RAF trained him."

Mr Weston said he had met the pilot since the conflict and "we remain good friends".

He described events on the day at Bluff Cove as "a catalogue of disasters".

"We shouldn't have been on the Sir Galahad when it was bombed," he added.

Image copyright Getty Images

He said the commanding officer Lt Col John Rickett had been desperate to get his troops off the ship before it and the RFA Sir Tristram were bombed by Argentine aircraft, killing more than 50 service personnel and injuring 150.

"Things just went wrong. I have spoken to him about it a couple of times and it's hard to see a grown man you like and respect with tears in his eyes. He lost people," said Mr Weston.

"The reality was that he had no control of the situation."

But the ex-soldier, who was made a CBE last year, said he did not want to be defined by the conflict.

"People can't and shouldn't still be expressing sympathy 35 years on. It's what you do with your life after that counts," he said.

He said that when people stare at him he does not notice as much as he used to, adding: "I'm not as self-conscious about my appearance as I was. I think that's something that comes with age."

  • You can see Britain at War: Imperial War Museum at 100 at 19:30 GMT on Saturday 18 March on BBC Two or watch again on the BBC iPlayer

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