Hartlepool power station security guard John Davis has finally been given a medal to mark his army service in the Falklands – more than 30 years after the war ended.
John, from Hartlepool, arrived in the islands aged just 18 a few days after the ceasefire was signed.
He was part of the Pioneer Corps who were supporting the Royal Engineers in clearing the island after the war.
He had the grim task of collecting the bodies of Argentine soldiers which were then repatriated, the dangerous job of spotting mines and booby traps and also gathering armaments left by the retreating Argentine Army.
As he arrived in August 1982, after the war had officially ended, John didn’t get a service medal for the campaign, but a recent change of heart by the Ministry of Defence has seen a medal given to those serving on the islands up to Christmas 1982.
He said: “I am very proud to receive the South Atlantic medal and it has now been mounted alongside my medal from Northern Ireland.
“There is now recognition that although the war was over, there was still some very dangerous work to complete in making the islands safe for those who lived there.
“Although as an 18-year-old it didn’t seem dangerous it was just what we signed up for. And at the end of each day we got to blow up all the guns and ammunition we had found.”
John left the Army in 1988 – after two more tours of the Falklands - and had a series of security jobs before joining Hartlepool power station’s security team in 2002.
He is hoping to return to the Falklands, but this time armed with a camera to capture some of the area’s wildlife.
“I have developed a real interest in photography over the years and have recently opened a shop in Hartlepool as well. So it would be good to go back in the future to get some pictures of the wildlife and landscape.”