Naval History Homepage and Site Search




Lt Col H Jones, 2 Para Commander, awarded posthumous Victoria Cross

on to 39. 3 Cdo leaves San Carlos


Summary of Main Events


Approx 500 men of 2 Para including 2x81mm mortars, Milans and GPMG's; 3x105mm artiller
y, 8 Bty, 29 Cdo Regt RA; Blowpipe SAM detachments, Air Defence Troops RM and RA; Recon Troop, 59 Cdo Sqdn RE for mine clearance
2xScouts and 2xGazelles, 3 CBAS for forward ammo supply and casevac, joined by 2xScouts, 656 Sqdn AAC
Frigate 'Arrow', 1x4.5in and RAF Harrier GR.3's from 'Hermes'

2 Para Commanders:
Lt Col H Jones; Maj C P B Keeble, second-in-command
Maj C D Farrar-Hockley A Coy; Maj J H Crosland B Coy; Maj R Jenner C Coy; Maj P Neame D Coy


12th Inf Regt
, less one coy; 3 or 4x105mm artillery; elements 601st AA Btn with 20mm and 35mm guns; FAA airfield personnel
joined on day of battle by:
one Coy, 12th Inf Regt
; C Coy 25th Inf Regt
Total forces - approx 1,000

Group Capt Pedroza FAA,
Lt Col Piaggi, 12th Regt, ground forces


1. British aircraft lost west of Goose Green - [b27] Harrier GR.3 (27th)

Early morning.....
A Coy 2 Para occupied Burntside House
B & D Coys 2 Para moved forward towards Boca House
4. A Coy
moved past Coronation Point
B & D Coys came up against strongpoint at Boca House
A Coy came up against main defences along Darwin Hill
.... to dawn

By midday - A Coy had taken and held Darwin Hill, and B and D Coy's had finally silenced Boca House

7. British aircraft lost west of Camilla Creek House - [b28] Scout (11.55am)
8. Argentine aircraft lost on return to Stanley - [a58] Pucara (c12.00pm)

From midday ...
9. D
and C Coys headed towards Goose Green airfield
B Coy circled around airfield to cut off Goose Green
11. Argentine aircraft lost near Goose Green Schoolhouse - [a59] Aermacchi MB-339A, [a60] Pucara (both 5.00pm)
Harrier GR3's hit Argentine AA positions
Argentine helicopter-borne reinforcements continued to arrive
.... to dusk

Approach to Darwin - Late on Wednesday 26th as some 500 men of 2 Para moved south towards Darwin, there was much uncertainty about Argentine strength in the area. However by the time of the surrender, and after allowance is made for the nearly 50 killed (not the originally reported 250), there were over 1,000 POW's including the 12th Inf Regt and a Coy from the 25th. With their approaches mined, the infantry were in well-prepared defensive positions, especially between Boca House and Darwin half way down the isthmus, and for support could call on 105mm artillery, AA guns later in the ground defence role, and attack aircraft from Stanley.

By early Thursday morning (27th), 2 Para had marched the eight miles from Sussex Mountains and reached the holding position at Camilla Creek House where most lay up all day. Two patrols from C Coy probed forward towards either side of the isthmus to plot some of the enemy defences, but later pulled back under fire. And then early that afternoon, two Harrier GR.3's attacked Argentine positions with CBU's, and in a subsequent strafing run, one of them was hit probably by 35mm Oerlikon fire and crashed to the west of Goose Green [b27]. Sqdn Ldr Iveson ejected and hid up before being rescued three days later.

That night, the three 105's of 8 Bty RA and their ammo were flown to Camilla Creek House by No.846 Sea Kings, and "Arrow" headed into Grantham Sound, opening fire from there under the control of a naval gunfire observer. A later turret fault was repaired and she remained on station supporting the Paras advance towards Darwin, when with the threat of air attack at dawn, had to return to San Carlos Water. Meanwhile that same evening, 2 Para moved off the two miles to the start line with C (Patrol) Coy leading the way. With D Coy at first in reserve, A and B Coy's waited on either side of Burntside Pond, the mortars to their rear, and the fire support company with its Milans initially across Camilla Creek from the forward Argentine positions. Early on Friday the 28th, the men of 2 Para prepared for a night attack against largely unknown forces across the open ground of the Goose Green area, five miles long and over a mile wide.

The Battle for Darwin and Goose Green, Friday 28th May - At 3.30 am, A Coy moved off on the left and attacked Burntside House believed to be occupied by an Argentine platoon, but found no-one there other than four unhurt civilians. At 4.10 am, B Coy started forward from the other side of Burntside Pond down the right flank with D Coy following them long the middle. With artillery support on both sides, B and D Coy's were soon in confused action against a series of enemy trenches, and as they slowly made progress, A Coy moved past unoccupied positions at Coronation Point. Leaving one platoon of A Coy to provide covering fire from the north side of Darwin, the remainder started to circle round the inlet to take the settlement. As dawn broke, the attacks on both flanks bogged down as B Coy came up against the strongpoint of Boca House and A Coy found that a small rise, later known as Darwin Hill, was the key to the Argentine defences.

Not until midday did 2 Para break through. As A Coy was hit and went to ground, Lt Col Jones and his Tac HQ came up, and another attempt to push forward was made which led to two officers and an NCO being killed. Col Jones moved off virtually on his own, and was soon shot and dying in an action which led to the award of a Victoria Cross. Maj Keeble was called up from the rear, and leaving A Coy to slowly wrest Darwin Hill and pulling B Coy slightly back from Boca House, ordered D Coy to move round them on the far right along the edge of the sea. Now in daylight, the battle continued with the Argentines helicoptering in their first reinforcements and flying more support missions. The first attack by Falkland's based aircraft took place earlier when a Grupo 3 Pucara was hit, probably by a Blowpipe SAM, but limped back to Stanley. The next sortie by two more Pucaras caught two Royal Marine Scouts on their way in to casevac Lt Col Jones. Capt Niblett managed to evade them, but Lt Nunn was killed by cannon fire and went down near Camilla Creek House [b28]. One of the Pucaras was later found to have crashed into high ground returning to Stanley [a58].

By midday, A Coy had taken and held Darwin Hill, and B and D Coy's had finally silenced Boca House. Still under fire, D and C Coy's headed towards the airfield and Goose Green while B Coy circled east to cut off the settlement. During the attack towards the schoolhouse, three men of D Coy were killed in an incident involving a white flag. Now into the late afternoon, aircraft from both sides came on the scene, starting with two MB.339's of CANA 1 Esc and two Pucaras of Grupo 3 which hit the school area. One of the Navy jets was brought down by a Royal Marine Blowpipe [a59], and minutes later one of the Pucaras dropped napalm and the other shot down by small arms fire [a60]. Then three Harrier GR.3's brought much needed relief by hitting the AA guns at Goose Green with CBU's and rockets.

With evening approaching and the Argentines squeezed in towards Goose Green, more reinforcements arrived to the south by helicopter, while to the north, J Coy 42 Cdo was flown in reinforce 2 Para but too late to join in the fighting. Two Argentine POW's were sent in to start negotiations which lasted most of the night, and next morning, Group Capt Pedroza surrendered all his forces to Maj Keeble. British losses were fifteen men from 2 Para, a Royal Engineer and the Marine pilot, and 30 to 40 Paras wounded. Many of the 1,000 Argentine POW's including the FAA men sailed on "Norland" to Montevideo in early June.


British Gallantry Awards
Some citations also included the Battle for Wireless Ridge*

  2 PARA
Lt Col H Jones (post VC) OBE
Maj C P B Keeble (DSO)
Lt C S Conner (MC), C Coy*
Maj J H Crosland (MC), B Coy*
Maj C D Farrar-Hockley (MC), A Coy*
Pte S Illingsworth (post DCM), B Coy
Cpl D Abols (DCM), A Coy
Sgt J C Meredith (DCM), D Coy*
L/Cpl G D Bingley (post MM), D Coy
L/Cpl S A Bardsley (MM)
Sgt T I Barrett (MM), A Coy*
L/Cpl M W L Bentley (MM), Medic
  Cpl T J Camp (MM), A Coy
Pte G S Carter (MM), D Coy
Pte B J Grayling (MM), D Coy
Cpl T W Harley (MM), D Coy
L/Cpl L J L Standish (MM)

Lt R J Nunn (post DFC) RM
Capt J P Niblett (DFC) RM
Sgt W C O'Brien (DFM) RM

656 Sqdn AAC
Capt J G Greenhalgh (DFC) RCT*

David Norris, "Daily Mail", Brigadier J H Thompson RM, 3 Commando Brigade, Colour Sergeant Cotton, 2 Para, Major A Rice RA and Lieutenant Colonel H W Pike, 3 Para waiting to fly to 2 Para memorial service at Goose Green (Courtesy - Airborne Forces Museum)
  Supporting frigate HMS Arrow in more peaceful
times (Courtesy - MOD, Navy)

Battle for Goose Green - from the Art of Daniel Bechennec 


on to 39. 3 Cdo leaves San Carlos
or back to
Falklands War HomePage

revised 31/5/13