A war veteran from Cleethorpes has recalled the moment his ship got hit and said “nothing prepared me for burying people at sea” as he tries to raise awareness of modern-day conflicts, and in particular the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War.
Mark Trainor, now 61, said he always remembers a conversation with his grandad who said “The fishing, if it doesn’t keep going, go in the Navy” – and he did just that at the age of just 16.
After having all his basic training he served on a couple of Leander-class frigates. In 1980, he joined HMS Glamorgan where he spent the next five years and the ship was hit on June 12, 1982.
Tuesday, June 14 this year marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands conflict, which saw 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and three Falkland Islanders lose their lives.
Mark recall medics trying “to match up parts of the body” saying people need to “be aware and remember the brutality and horror of this conflict”.
He said: “The ship was going 24/7 and it was pretty scary, to be honest, when you heard the aircraft, because then you wondered, ‘is it a friend or foe?’
“When our ship got hit, it was just a thud, that’s all we heard. And then we started hearing we’d been hit.
“When we went round to the port side, there was a big hole on the deck in front of the hangar. The hangar got taken out, but there was no panic, you’ve got to deal with the situation.
“Though nothing prepared me for burying people at sea, and I’m very clear with this because it’s still there, this wasn’t like putting somebody in a coffin.
“The medics tried to match up parts of the body as best they could, and they were in bin bags with sinkers on. People need to be aware and remember the brutality and horror of this conflict.
“As a Falklands veteran, I think it is incredibly important for the public to ensure that the Falklands Conflict is never forgotten.
“It’s very hard to believe it has been 40 years since the war, but it changed me, and it changed the person I am today. We must never forget.”
Mark said on board the ship it was very soon recognised that he had admin ability and he became the (Executive Officer) XO’s Writer, with the XO being the second-in-command.
Mark was also awarded the South Atlantic Medal within his 21st year, which is awarded to British military personnel and civilians for service in the Falklands War.
He added: “I served for 14 years. It was the best thing I ever did. It wasn’t easy at first because you’ve got to do as you’re told, but I had a bit of a jump start, from an early age I’d joined the Boys’ Brigade.”
Mark currently volunteers for the SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. He is the Divisional Secretary of the SSAFA’s Grimsby & Cleethorpes Division, working with the charity to support veterans and their families.
Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, said: “Protecting its peoples from aggression is one of the prime responsibilities of any nation. The United Kingdom was required to fulfil that obligation when forced to liberate the Falkland Islands in 1982.
“Having ensured the population could continue to live in freedom, we remember the 255 British military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice and the many others who were wounded 40 years ago.
“It is important that this country understands the critical role of members of our Armed Forces in sustaining the democratic rule of law in this part of the South Atlantic and wherever else they are threatened.
“SSAFA supported serving personnel and their families before, during and after the Falklands Conflict, just as we have done for every campaign over the last 137 years.
“And we continue to support those veterans and their families still living with the lasting effects of their time fighting for the freedom of the Falkland Islands. We were there for them then and will remain so now and into the future.”
In a recent survey SSAFA found that 35% of British adults could not remember the year the Falklands Conflict took place, with 92% having no idea five ships were sunk, and 74% unaware that 907 lives were lost.