Falklands War: remembering the last soldier to be killed
Twenty-year-old Private Craig Jones of 3 Para was killed in action on Mount Longdon on 13th June 1982 during the battle to liberate the Falkland Islands.
The following day the Argentines surrendered. Richard and Pam Jones learned of their son’s death after an evening out with friends celebrating the end of the conflict.
In November 1982, Craig’s body was repatriated and buried in Aldershot Military Cemetery, Hampshire, alongside 17 other members of the parachute regiment who had lost their lives in the Falklands conflict.
Some years later, on separate journeys, Richard, Craig’s brother Gareth and Pam visited the Islands.
They were deeply moved by the warmth and gratitude of the islanders, and struck by the beauty of the terrain.
Looking for a lasting memorial in the land that Craig fought for, Richard had an idea to purchase a plot of land – "Craig’s Acre".
He asked Gary Clement, the Falklands based representative of the South Atlantic Medal Association to investigate on his behalf.
After several months he was contacted by Falkland farmers Carol and Terrance Phillips, who offered the "Little Rabbit Island", for no payment in kind.
As non-residents the Jones family had to seek, and were granted, permission from the Falkland Islands government to both hold land and change the name to Craig Island.
BBC Inside Out tells the story of three generations of the Jones family returning to the Falklands in February 2012 to visit Craig Island for the first time and lay down a plaque to dedicate it to the memory of Craig.
Inside Out’s Mary Rhodes accompanies Richard, Gareth, and Gareth’s 18- year-old son Alexander, as they retrace Craig’s steps, visiting the mountain where he died, and the location at Teal Inlet where he was originally buried.
The highlight is a ceremony on Craig Island, attended by islander friends and representatives from Mount Pleasant Airbase, in which the island is formally dedicated to Craig.
Gareth tells Inside Out at the start of the journey that he’s keen to piece together a full account of what happened to Craig: "We’ve had bits and pieces but we’ve never really understood, but we’re getting much more of the story now and I’d like to put that together for myself, and then I’d also like it for Alexander."
Alexander never met his Uncle Craig, but has grown up hearing stories about him.
When he visits Mount Longdon and sees the place where his uncle was hit by a shell he’s struck by the realisation that he was almost the same age as him when he died: "When you come here and see all the plaques and especially the spot down there, and it’s all very real now and you can stand here and imagine the people running up and down the hills – it makes you think about what happened."
Alex will be inheriting Craig Island in the future and hopes to keep it in the family for many generations to come.
For Richard, the dedication ceremony on Craig Island marks the culmination of several years of preparation.
He tells BBC Inside Out that it has all gone even better than he hoped it would: "We’ve been quite a few years in the dream to do this and for that dream to become a reality today is so, so nice."
Pam was unable to travel to the Falklands this time, but watching a report at home she says: "Richard and Gareth and Alexander looked very pleased and I’m very pleased that it happened that that Richard was able to make this dream come true for all of us and for all the boys who died.
"They were all enormously brave, they deserve to be remembered all the time and I do remember them all the time."
Background: Island named after last Falklands soldier to die
On a June morning 30 years ago, Pte Craig Jones was killed by a shell as British troops made their final push in the Falklands War.BBC News: Island named after last Falklands soldier to die
He was one of the last soldiers to die in the conflict as a ceasefire was declared the following day.
Read an archive feature from the BBC News website below...
- Mary Rhodes
- Mary Rhodes
- Susie Rack
- Executive Producer
- Rachel Bowering