Mearns Probus Club

At the first meeting for October, the speaker was introduced by the President. He was David Neilson, brought up locally in the Mearns, but now retired and living in the South of England.

His subject was The Falkland Islands in the 1980s – immediately after the war there.

As a civilian member of the Ministry of Defence, David was seconded to the Falklands to work with the Military and Politicians to try to restore some semblance of order to the inhabitants of the islands.

Clearing up debris and simply disposing of scrap and obsolete material, overseeing the ordering of pre-fabricated houses for delivery and erection, ensuring sufficient fuel supplies were only some of his duties. As well as seeing new dock facilities, air ports and runways erected and commissioned, David also had time to mix with the residents and enjoy what social life they had.

He talked about his journey there by plane from Brize Norton to Senegal for re-fuelling and on to Ascension Island where the journey was completed by the SS Uganda taking another eight days by sea.

Although the climate is quite warm, the constant wind has a chilling effect on the ambient temperatures.

Travelling further south to New Island – about 200 miles south of the Falklands he saw vast colonies of penguins and seals as well as albatrosses and red backed hawks.

The main purpose was to travel on a glazier to view the possibility of creating runways for planes to land and take off again.

With the aid of slides, scenes of cemeteries, monuments and headstones as well as Tumbledown Mountain and other scenes of conflict were shown around Stanley to remind us of the conflict there.

This was an excellent presentation and David was thanked by acting secretary Ian Bell on behalf of the club members.

Ian M Bell