The Other Side: An Argentine Conscript

Sunday Herald / 25 th Anniversary April 2007

‘We were forced to make trips to Stanley to pilfer supplies we knew were there, but weren’t reaching us. When we became too weak to even do that we would spend most of the day sleeping in our dugouts’

The Other Side: An Argentine Conscript’s Story. By Andrew McLeod

MICHAEL SAVAGE considers himself a lucky man. Having survived the Falklands war physically unscathed, he is today happily married with a young family, living a peaceful life in the depths of the Argentine Pampas. But he has made his own luck, laying his ghosts to rest by reaching out to the people whose land he once occupied, and he has seen this friendship graciously accepted and returned.

Some of his friends have been less lucky. They, like Savage, would never have been a soldier by choice. He finds it hard to believe that a quarter of a century has gone by since he found himself huddled with hundreds of other Argentine conscripts aboard a transport aircraft heading for the Falkland Islands (or Malvinas, as they knew them). They had been told to prepare for war, but rumour had it that they would be based in Río Gallegos to cover for regular troops taking part in the invasion. The first Savage knew for sure that he was to go to war himself was when the conscripts were guided across the tarmac towards a huge Hercules C-130. «Yes, this is it, you are going,» they were told.

But wait, there’s more!