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  • Christina Drummond

Marine Alan Addis, 45 Commando Royal Marines

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1980, Marine Alan Addis, 45 Commando Royal Marines, disappeared in what was considered to be mysterious circumstances while serving with the Royal Marines in the Falkland Islands.

An only child, he had joined the Royal Marines because, according to a close friend, he wanted to prove that he was tough enough. He was a young man described as having a sense of daring, a warm heart, and a cheerful nature.

Marine Addis had been part of a six-man team that travelled to the remote settlement of North Arm, 90 miles from the capital, Stanley. They spent the evening in the village social club, leaving at different times - no-one appears to have noticed him leaving nor that he had left his torch behind. The following morning the team returned to Stanley on board a steamer, not having taken a head-count, and a while after setting sail it was noticed that Marine Addis was not present. There was confusion not only as to the timeline, but also as to what could have happened. It was at first considered that he had accidentally stepped off the jetty, fallen overboard, or had wandered off in the dark the previous evening and succumbed to hypothermia.

An air, land and sea search (including ground-penetrating radar) was called off without any trace of Marine Addis being found, and an inquest later in the year returned an open verdict. The case was opened many years later, but still there was no resolution. The rumours about what happened that night range from a heated argument with a local that went wrong, to abduction by Argentinian soldiers having landed secretly (as they had on Thule in 1976)..

His mother was told that he was missing on patrol, then later that he had presumably drowned by accident. She wrote: “The police persistently picked up rumours that he had met his end by "foul play". This eventually leaked to me, his mother, who has always been convinced, due to my close bond with my only child, that the picture painted by the authorities of that time was not a true fact of what happened. I was given a copy of my son’s death certificate, which stated the cause of death was "that he either drowned or died of exposure in the hinterland" which only helped convince me that something was amiss in the death of this young six-foot-two Royal Marine.” She set up a memorial fund for missing children in honour of her son, but shortly before her death she closed it and donated the funds raised to Help for Heroes. Sadly, she passed away in 2011 without ever knowing what had happened to her son. His body was never found, and despite much speculation and investigation, the questions around his disappearance and death have not been answered.

Alan, from Croydon, was 19 years old.

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