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  • Christina Drummond

Captain Gavin John Hamilton MC

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1982, Captain Gavin John Hamilton MC, OC 19 (Mountain) Troop, D Squadron, 22 SAS, was killed while behind enemy lines on West Falkland. He was a Green Howards officer before passing SAS selection, and the first posthumous recipient of the Military Cross and the only such recipient until the war in Afghanistan nearly 20 years later. He survived two helicopter crashes in South Georgia, and two days later captured the main Argentine positions in Grytviken, resulting in the total surrender of all enemy forces in South Georgia. A short while later, he led his troops in a raid which resulted in the destruction of eleven grounded enemy aircraft. Once British ground forces had landed at San Carlos, he deployed with his Squadron 40 miles behind enemy lines to observe enemy defensive positions - this proved instrumental in seizing vital ground from which the attack on Port Stanley was launched. He and his troop held off an enemy attack, enabling 42 Commando Royal Marines to reinforce the position. On 5 June, he was deployed in command of a four-man observation patrol behind enemy lines to observe enemy activities at Port Howard. He established himself in an observation post close to the Argentine positions, from which he sent detailed and accurate reports. On the day of his death, when he and a signaller found themselves surrounded, he decided that they should attempt to fight their way out, and - being completely exposed to the enemy - he initiated a fire fight to cover the signaller's withdrawal. He was wounded but continued to cover the signaller's escape, being killed shortly after. Captain Hamilton was buried with full military honours by the Argentinians. When the Argentine Commander of Port Howard was interrogated after the surrender, he asked that 'the SAS Captain' be decorated for his actions as he was “the most courageous man I have ever seen”. Captain Hamilton, from Harrogate, was 30 years old and married.

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