Last soldier to die in Falklands conflict has island named after him

February 16, 2011 | by | 1 Comment

The parents of the last soldier to die in the Falklands conflict have bought one of the disputed islands – and named it after him as a permanent memorial to their hero son.

Last soldier to die in Falklands conflict has island named after him

Brave Craig Jones, 20, was killed on the morning of 13 June 1982 when he was hit by shell fire on Mount Longdon.

He died just a day before the brief war with Argentina for control of the Falkland Islands ended with a ceasefire agreement on 14 June.

More than 25 years later his parents Richard and Pamela Jones have purchased the deeds to a tiny six-acre island in the Falklands.

They have re-named the barren isle Craig Island in memory of their son.

The windswept outcrop, which can be seen from the spot where Craig died, will stand as an untouched and lasting memorial to the fallen soldier, a member of 3 Para.

His parents intend to leave the island unspoilt but they will have its name engraved on a local stone.

Last soldier to die in Falklands conflict has island named after him

Pamela, 70, said that the island would remain in the Jones family ”forever” as a haven for local wildlife.

She said: ”When the idea first flashed through Richard’s mind we didn’t think it would be possible as you normally have to be a resident to own land there.

”It’s not something you can just go out and buy, but after two years we managed to get the permission and now we have the deeds.

”Most people think of the Falklands as being a long way away and not very pretty but they have their own natural beauty.

”It seems appropriate because Craig was a country lad. He loved outdoor pursuits like fishing and climbing.

”It seemed like this would fit the bill and we were lucky enough to get permission to have this little island. It is never going to be anything but a wildlife haven.

Last soldier to die in Falklands conflict has island named after him

”The people of the Falklands are wonderful. It was a joy to meet them all and to know how much they appreciate what our lads did for them.

”When the new maps are printed it will be Craig Island – and it will stay Craig Island forever. It will remain in the family and never be built on.”

Craig Island – formerly known as Little Rabbit Island – is located in the north east of the Falklands close to Teal Inlet.

The process began in 2008 and the Jones received the deeds in January which allowed them to rename the island in Craig’s memory.

Craig joined 3 Para in 1980 when he was 18 and was drafted to the Falklands in April 1982 as part of the British task force.

He was fighting on Mount Longdon on the penultimate day of the war when he was hit by shell fire and was killed in the early hours of the morning.

Richard, 74, a retired distributor of motor parts, told how he and Pamela, of Tenbury Wells, Worcs., had been out celebrating the end of the war when they heard the news.

He said: ”It was terrible. I was out at a company dinner and everyone was celebrating and going wild because of the ceasefire.

”But when we arrived home there was a car sitting outside the house waiting to tell us that Craig had been killed the day before. It takes years to get over the shock.”

In 2002 Richard flew out to the spot where Craig died with the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA) Pam visited on the 20th anniversary in 2007.

”It was some time after that I had the idea of dedicating a piece of land to Craig,” Richard said.

”It has taken about two years to sort out all the legal issues but now we have the deeds and it feels very special to have an island named after our son.

”You can see the island from the spot on Mount Longdon where Craig was killed. For us it’s about having something to commemorate Craig when we are gone.”

Last soldier to die in Falklands conflict has island named after him

Dolphins and sea lions can be seen in the waters around Craig Island which will is visited annually by the Falkland Islands Environmental Services.

Richard and Pamela, a retired child services worker, have one other son, Gareth, 47, and two grandchildren, Eleanor, 15, and Alexander Craig, 17, who is named after his uncle.

Richard is planning his first visit to the island along with Gareth and Alexander in December.

The battle for the Falklands lasted for 74 days and 255 British troops were killed along with 655 Argentinians and just three islanders.

Craig was fighting in the assault on Mount Longdon the day before the Argentine garrison at Port Stanley was defeated and Argentine troops laid down their arms.

The Falkland Islands are in the South Atlantic located 350 miles off the Southern tip of Argentina, 8,000 miles from Britain.

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  1. Siggy708 says:

    A very fitting tribute.

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