Serialisation published in The Mail on Sunday on 14 November 2021.
During the long sea crossing from England to the Falklands, Sergeant Ian McKay wrote to a friend in the spring of 1982: ‘I have no intention of taking any risks and getting killed. If I do, then it will be to protect my men, to save lives.’
His words were tragically prescient. He would go on to be awarded the last Victoria Cross earned in the 20th Century for the extreme valour and selflessness that cost him his life.
The 29-year-old’s call to arms had been sudden and unexpected as events in the South Atlantic escalated.
Finishing a game of football with a group of friends, he had received an urgent message to return to his barracks at Aldershot in Hampshire.
‘He came in and went out,’ his wife Marica later recalled. ‘I put his dinner in a Tupperware container and he went straight away. He just said, “I’ve got to go.”
‘I never saw him again.’