Letter: Falklands prisoners of war were treated 'correctly'

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The Independent Online
I SERVED as a Sergeant in 3 Para during the Falklands war and feel compelled to respond to 'Falklands 'war crimes' claim' (16 August).

I cannot refute the allegations of prisoner executions made by Lance Corporal Vincent Bramley in his book, Excursion to Hell, but his descriptions of prisoner treatment are in contrast to my own experiences on Mount Longdon. Corporal Bramley and I both served in Support Company, and attended the same briefing before the battle.

The book claims that the company commander's briefing included a suggestion that prisoners should not be taken. Nothing of the sort was said. I saw several prisoners being escorted to the rear during the confusion of the night attack - prisoners who must have been taken at some risk to the captors, since a search for concealed weapons is difficult in darkness.

I took part in searches of Mount Longdon after the battle, during which many more prisoners were taken. All were treated firmly but correctly. I'm sure that most of us felt nothing but pity for them. The suggestion that American mercenaries were fighting on the Argentinian side is a false assumption - some of the prisoners spoke English, and all with an American accent, which is hardly surprising. But even if Americans were taken prisoner, I simply cannot believe that anyone in 3 Para would have ordered their execution.

Graham Colbeck

Newsham, Yorkshire

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