Proud mum's son honoured for Falklands bravery
Published by Neil Shaefer for Railway Housing Association in Communities and also in Housing
Anne Miller with her son's medal
2012 was a year to remember for Anne Miller - as it was the year that her Falklands hero son was honoured by the Queen.
Anne was presented with the Elizabeth Cross medal to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, which tragically claimed the life of her 22-year-old son David.
In 1982 when Britain went to war with Argentina over the Falklands, David, who was serving as a marine engineer mechanic on HMS Fearless, was part of the task force sent to liberate the Islands.
Because of the secrecy around the task force at the time, Ann, who lives in a Railway Housing Association property in Thornaby, didn’t even initially know her son had been sent.
Then, on 8th June 1982 – exactly six years to the day he joined the Royal Navy aged just 16 – David was killed by an Argentine bombing raid. The Sky Hawk aircraft were returning from sinking HMS Galahad when they spotted a landing craft at Bluff Cove that David, along with five other servicemen, has been on. All but one lost their lives.
Back home in Thornaby and in age before 24-hour rolling news, it took a week before Ann was informed her son had been killed in action. Insensitively, a letter Anne had sent to David before he died was also returned with a big stamp saying ‘deceased’ on it.
Information about the exact nature of David’s death was not forthcoming and whilst a memorial service was held for him, his body was not returned for burial. Unbelievably, it was only in 2008 when Ann’s son, Brian, who had also served in the Navy, went to the Falklands and was able to piece together the full story by speaking to people who were present on the fateful day.
Brian spoke to an Islander who went to help after the bombing and he said David hardly had a mark on him and just looked like he was asleep. He was buried at sea and in his memory a tree with his name on it was planted on the island.
Ann still misses David immensely but says she was extremely proud to receive the Queen’s medal.
“Losing my son at such a young age was heartbreaking and not a day goes by when I don’t think about him,” she said.
“He was so brave and I am so proud of what he did.”