Author: Ewen Southby-Tailyour
Publisher: Leo Cooper Books
Category: Falkland Islands War, 1982
Every member of the armed forces who took part in the Falklands Campaign of 1982 can claim that his particular role was unique in that it was experienced by himself alone. But in so far as it is possible for one thing to be more unique than another, Ewen Southby-Tailyour's role certainly qualifies for that accolade. In 1977 he was ordered to the Falkland Islands to command the Royal Marines detachment then stationed there and to restructure the defense procedures for the Islands over the following year. During this time he also conducted an exhaustive study of the coastline, carrying out the only detailed survey to be made of many of the beaches and their immediate approaches since the mid-nineteenth century. He returned to England in 1979 and when the Argentinians invaded the Islands three years later he immediately put his unquestionably unique experience and information at the disposal of the Task Force then being rapidly assembled. He added one priviso, that he be allowed to accompany the Force. Brigadier (then) Julian Thompson had no hesitation in accepting both his offer and his terms, and in very short time he was heading south once more. Reasons in Writing tells his story largely through the medium of diaries and letters written during his peacetime tour of duty in the seventies and the war itself. As he explains, his somewhat maverick role did not always met with the approval of some of the more conventionally-minded senior officers, but although modesty restrains him from making such a claim, there can be no doubt that, without his unrivalled knowledge of the Islands, the job which the Task Force so successfully accomplished would have been immeasurably more difficult and taken considerably longer. Reasons in Writing, is unlikely to be rivaled for its immediacy, insight and deep and genuine feeling for the Islands themselves, based on experience gained (unlike any other participant civilian or service) before, during and after that austral winter of 1982.