Simon Weston: I'm good friends with Argentine pilot who bombed Falklands ship


Falklands veteran Simon Weston has said he is still friends with the pilot who bombed the warship he was on during the 1982 war.

The Argentine missile attack on Sir Galahad killed 22 men out of Mr Weston's 30-strong platoon and left the ex-serviceman with horrific burns to his face and body.

Mr Weston, 55, told Radio Times magazine: "I have no hate for the pilot who bombed us.

"I've met him since and we remain very good friends. We shared a split second in time. Our countries were at war. Having spoken to him, he didn't know there were as many people on the ship as there were.

"Unlike terrorists, this guy wore his country's uniform and he was very good at his job - he should have been, the RAF trained him."

The former Welsh Guardsman added: "We shouldn't have been on the Sir Galahad when it was bombed. There was a catalogue of disasters, but that's war. Lieutenant Colonel Rickett (the commanding officer) lives with the sadness of what happened because we were his boys.

"He was desperate to get us off, but the communications were shocking. Things just went wrong. I have spoken to him about it a couple of times and it's hard to see a grown man you like and respect with tears in his eyes. He lost people. The reality was that he had no control of the situation."

Mr Weston told the magazine that he did not want to be "defined" by the war.

"People can't and shouldn't still be expressing sympathy 35 years on. It's what you do with your life after that counts," he said.

He said that when people stare at him he does not notice as much as he used to, adding: "I'm not as self-conscious about my appearance as I was. I think that's something that comes with age."

Mr Weston, who is presenting a BBC Two documentary about the Imperial War Museums, added that he had a glass "completely full" attitude to his life.

"I spend a lot of time doing motivational speaking. I understand all there is to know about self-doubt. For a long time I was down and depressed and suffering terribly with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

"But I realised the best thing anyone can do in life is believe in who you are, like who you are, and be confident. As long as you do the right things and try to live your life the right way, you've got a chance."