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The Falklands War – There and Back Again (Hardback)

The Story of Naval Party 8901

Modern Warfare Falklands Military

By Michael Jones, Mike Norman, Foreword by Major General Julian Thompson CB, OBE
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 230
ISBN: 9781526710772
Published: 3rd April 2019
Last Released: 8th July 2019

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Award winner

Awarded the Royal Marines Historical Society RMHS Literary Award 2019

'An excellent book.' (~Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman)

 

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On 1 April 1982 Major Mike Norman, commander of Naval Party 8901, was looking forward to a peaceful year-long tour of duty on the Falkland Islands. But events turned out differently, for the next day the Argentinians invaded and he and his small Royal Marines garrison found themselves fighting for their lives.

They took up defensive positions in and around Government House and on the approaches to Stanley to protect the Governor, Rex Hunt, and delay the enemy’s advance. They were prepared to die executing these orders. After a desperate battle against vastly superior numbers, Hunt ordered them to lay down their arms. As the surrender took place, an Argentinian told a Marine: ‘The Islands are ours now’. The response was simple: ‘We will be back’. They were, and this is their story.

The Royal Marines of Naval Party 8901 volunteered to join the Task Force and, some seventy-five days after the invasion, the men who were forced to watch the raising of the Argentine flag over the Islands were able, in return, to proudly run up the Falklands flag once more at Government House.

Mike Norman and Michael Jones’s dramatic account draws upon Norman’s vivid recollections, the log book and action reports of the defence of Government House and Stanley, the testimony of Marines under Mike Norman’s command and recently released government archives. It is a powerful and moving tribute to men who confronted the Argentinian invaders and then fought to regain the Falklands.

An excellent book.

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman

Featured as BOOK OF THE MONTH

Chronicle Living, 3rd, 10th, 24th & 31st May 2019

As featured by

Warship World

This book does the men of NP 8091 and the Royal Marines more generally a great service in telling the story as it should be told – with accuracy and with pride.

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Phil Curme

The Falklands War There and Back Again was a most enjoyable, entertaining read and I would heartily recommend it.

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Rum Ration

The authors have told the story very well and supported it with maps and photographs. There is a time line and extensive glossary. This is stirring stuff and a must read book.

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Firetrench

I found this book an insightful and candid account of something that was going on the other side of the world when I was a teenager. This is a story of courage, and bravery of those who fought. I found the text to be well set out, with candid descriptions of what was happening, and some iconic photographs of the time.

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Armorama

To read this new account of the Naval Party and especially the detail of their initial defence to the invasion I found especially interesting and one I couldn't put down until I had finished the whole book. Definitely recommended.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

An interesting account of NP 8901 who did so much at the start, and were there to finish the job off at the end.
Well written in easy prose telling the story of the Bootnecks who were on The Falklands for the greater part of the action. Explains why the response by H M Government was sometimes confused and the valid reasons why.
Imagine you have just started your new job, and 24 hours later an invasion is imminent.
As well as the gritty stuff spent time on the human aspect, including Royal Marines who had several drafts south, and some who had settled there permanently. Good collection of photos.
I will give it a re-read in a few months.

Amazon Customer

The book tells us how things actually were, at the sharpest of sharp ends, at a critical moment for Britain...A most useful and inspiring piece of history.

Colonel Ian Moore

The purpose of the book is to put the facts to the public about the defence of the Falklands in the few hours after the Argentinians invaded until under orders from the Governor, the Royal Marines surrendered. This purpose is clearly achieved, as is the poor decision or no decision making by the MOD and FO in the build up to the attack. It reads like a thriller and moves at a fast pace through the anticipation of events and dealing with the attack. The attack from the media was also a threat post event but after some pusillanimous activities by government, eventually 8901 were allowed to get the record straight.

This is an excellent book that will suit those interested in the Falkland’s War, Royal Marines or just enjoy a darn good read.

Robert Bartlett

It is high time this story was told, and Mike Norman and Michael Jones tell it brilliantly.

Major General Julian Thompson

A compelling account of Naval Party 8901's courage and professionalism during the Falklands War.

Major General Nick Vaux

"The Falklands War - There and Back Again" is a passionate and authoritative book which “sets the record straight” about the gallant defence of the Falkland Islands by Naval Party (NP) 8901, the resident Royal Marines’ garrison on the Falkland Islands at the time of the Argentine invasion on 2nd April 1982.

Despite their appearance in one of the most famous images of the war, the triumphant raising of the Falkland Islands’ flag when the islands were liberated, the role of NP8901 has been largely overlooked. Ricky Phillips’ “First Casualty” in 2017 was the first attempt to tell their story. Mike Norman takes us “behind the scenes”, in the planning involved in the detachment’s deployment, the defensive strategy overseen by Governor Rex Hunt and subsequent treatment by both the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office. And return to the Falklands as J Company, 42 Commando.

With only 69 Marines and 10 Royal Naval Hydrographers at his disposal, Norman had to plan a defence in the face of overwhelming odds. Norman was seriously hindered by the Governor’s (understandable) wish to incur civilian casualties and clearly nails the lie that the Marines surrendered without a shot being fired. 37 years on, the sense of burning injustice at media stories shines through. As does his bitter disappointment that none of the gallantry displayed by his men was recognised. Personally I am not a fan of retrospective medal awards, and sadly the opportunity for recognition has passed. But the omission of NP8901 from the Falklands Honours list is as remarkable as it is unjust.
There is much in the book that will satisfy the casual reader and also those with a deep interest in the Falklands.

I have always regarded the Defence of Stanley, and also South Georgia, to have been among the finest engagements ever fought by the Royal Marines. This book only deepens my admiration for all those involved. There and Back Again is well researched, drawing on media reports, government document and the personal recollections of those involved. Recommended unreservedly.

Peter Weedon

About Michael Jones

Michael Jones is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the British Commission for Military History and the author of twelve books ranging from the Middle Ages to the Second World War.


About Mike Norman

Major Mike Norman joined the Royal Marines in 1962 and served for thirty years, spending much of his time in commando units or training establishments. In 1982 he was appointed commanding officer of Naval Party 8901, the Royal Marines detachment which was stationed in the Falkland Islands when the Argentinians invaded. He organized the resistance until he was ordered to stop fighting, then returned to the UK. When 3 Commando Brigade landed at San Carlos on 21 May to retake the islands he commanded the newly formed J Company in 42 Commando and was in Stanley to see the Argentinian surrender.


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