Dear readers, it is time again to put thoughts to paper on my new project “The First Casualty – The untold story of the Falklands War” and answer a few of the questions i have been getting of late. Recently I have been doing the lecture circuit and most recently to a group of assembled Army Officers – mostly Majors and Colonels – to talk about the new book and sample the response – which is, as always, incredible. I like to think it isn’t just to me, who presents like a man possessed, but the story and, in particular, the men themselves, who make this story what it is…but perhaps the biggest question I get asked is, “How did you get all of this?”
There are long, dull answers about checking sources, comparing photographs, conducting countless interviews and more, but generally when turning to finding out the truth, nobody is better at finding the right analogy than Sherlock Holmes – or, more specifically, Edinburgh’s own Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – and hence we come to that analogy of “The dog that didn’t bark” or to use a phrase more popular in literary culture; “The curious incident of the dog in the night time.” – Let me explain…You see, it’s an analogy; no evidence is evidence.
Let’s take April 2nd 1982, the day the Falklands were invaded by Argentina. Look at Wikipedia; as I always say it’s ‘Only Wikipedia’ but it is also the world’s most widely available resource for history, and the figures in it reflect any other book on the subject. It is the story of a walk-over. Of a handful of Royal Marines against a few hundred Argentines, of a few shots in the air, of but one Argentine killed and three wounded and then of a somewhat shameful and embarrassing surrender…nothing to see, nothing to study, nothing to amuse, certainly….a big black hole. It just so happens I like black holes when it comes to history!
So why did I start to look at this…and how do you see a black hole? – Well actually you can’t. That’s a fact. The only way to see a real black hole is to look at what’s around it. To see what is missing. History works the same way. A black hole is another case of the dog that didn’t bark, yet someone saw them and now we study them. No evidence isn’t a bad starting point when it comes to finding stuff out! – See this is expert stuff today!! I think you can handle it….In Holmes’ case, the dog didn’t bark when it should have, because it knew the thief! The lack of primary evidence thus gave a deeper layer of secondary evidence. Hence a dog that didn’t bark can give it all away.
In writing “The First Casualty” it became quickly apparent that we had only one side of the story; the Argentine side and indeed, one to which there was no counter, no ‘other version’ to be reconciled (as there always is) – nothing indeed other than the story which is accepted today as absolute fact. yet the more I looked, the more I realised that absolutely none of it was true. The men of the Royal Marines who were there that night have maintained – and have always maintained, that they put up the fight of their lives, that they killed and wounded a lot more than just four men but that they took down dozens of Argentines, that they sank a landing craft, that they destroyed an Amtrack APC with anti-tank rockets…all facts which the Argentine veterans and historians (and also the British historians) either ignore, ridicule or refer to as a ‘myth’. In short, Fido ain’t barking.
Let me tell you something….it’s all true.
Now that isn’t opinion – I even determined that the story of the landing craft was a myth. Wrongly as it turns out – and first from interviews with the combatants, those who saw t afterwards and then physical evidence and indeed ABSOLUTE PROOF have managed to discover – as is shown in the book, that both the LCVP landing craft and LVTP-7 Amtrack were destroyed – both fully loaded, about 68 men in total. Oh yes…I’ve got the photos! The battle of Stanley itself (which has NEVER been called a battle in all of history although it indeed was) was little short of ‘Rorke’s Drift 2’ – it even had the low wall around Government House, all we needed was a rendition of ‘Men of Harlech‘ and we’d be away!
So why was this battle – a battle which should rightfully stand alongside Rorke’s Drift, the Alamo and other great, last ditch defences against the odds, simply forgotten? Abandoned even? Ah…now there’s a mystery! And of course, I have the answers to that too. Now for the first time, the combatants of BOTH sides; the Royal Marines and the Argentine Marines tell the true story of a battle YOU weren’t supposed to know about, with the people of Stanley telling their own story as the action unfolded around them.
“The First Casualty” is an action story, first and foremost…the characters are great guys – whatever their nationality, and have all been great fun to work with. We get to know them, we laugh with them and we fear and even cry with them in what is the world’s first dual-sided first person narrative history (and indeed three-sided if we count the civilians, which of course we must) – what transpires between several hundred people all telling the same story is a story we were not supposed to know; the story of the Rorke’s Drift of the South Atlantic, of a roaring battle, an epic defence, of friendship, bravery, loyalty and camaraderie and of non-stop action. Already being talked about as the most eagerly anticipated book of 2017, “The First Casualty – The untold story of the Falklands War” is going to shake the very pillars of history.
Be sure to catch it…..it’s coming Spring 2017 and history is going to change for ever.
Thanks Sherlock 😉