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Falklands War: David MacPherson, Brother Of Killed Royal Marine, To Retrace Footsteps (PICTURES)

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MACPHERSON
David MacPherson training for the yomp near his home in Oban | PA

A man whose brother died during the Falklands war is to retrace his footsteps almost 30 years on from the conflict.

In 1982 Royal Marine Gordon MacPherson was killed during the battle for Two Sisters, along with comrade Corporal Frank Spencer.

Both men served with Zulu Company, 45 Commando, Royal Marines, which is based in Arbroath.

Gordon MacPherson's brother David and Mike Cole, who was Zulu Company Commander in 1982, will yomp the original 120km (75 mile) route across East Falkland from Port San Carlos to Stanley, and will stop to pay their respects at Two Sisters.

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The idea for the yomp, which is a Marine term for trekking long distances with heavy kit as they "eat away the miles", originally came from Cpl Spencer's son Simon, but he and his brother, Gareth, are no longer able to take part in the yomp due to family reasons.

When MacPherson and Cole reach Two Sisters, a ceremony will be held, at which it is hoped a piper from The Highlanders, 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS), will play Nam Anna Le Mo Smaointe, a Gaelic song which means "Alone With My Thoughts", written for Gordon after he died by family friends Erik Spence and the Reverend John MacLeod.

It is the first time MacPherson will have visited the Falklands and the second time Cole will have returned to the battlefield since the night of 11 June 1982.


Mike Cole, on a training yomp from home in Dorset

The pair, who will be joined by Colour Sergeant Trevor Law, a Royal Marine currently serving in the Falklands, are gearing up for the challenge, which starts on May 13 and will last for six days.

They will yomp up to 17 miles a day through wintry conditions, carrying equipment weighing about 20kg.

The men are raising money for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund and have already had a royal seal of approval from the Duke of Edinburgh, who sent them a letter of support last week.

PICTURES: Scroll down to view a gallery

MacPherson, a painter and decorator from Oban, Argyll, said: "I'm a 49-year-old civilian, so it's all new to me.

"I'd like to think I was already reasonably fit but I've had to try and get much fitter for this as it is going to be very difficult.

"My wife and her friends are running the Glasgow 10k on 13 May, the same day that we start the yomp, and they're raising money for the same charity.

"I never thought I would get the opportunity to do anything like this. It's the first and probably the only time I will go to the Falklands."

MacPherson was 19 when he lost his brother, who was 20. Gordon had been a Royal Marine for only one year when he died.


Gordon MacPherson on HMS Intrepid in May 1982

Cole, 64, from Dorset, said he is taking part in the trip in memory of his two fallen comrades but that the most important thing for him is to support MacPherson.

Cole, who now works at RNAS Yeovilton for the Ministry of Defence, recalled his last memory of Gordon MacPherson.

He said: "Gordon wasn't very big physically but he was very determined.

"I remember just before we moved out of the patrol base after receiving orders for the attack, we were getting our kit ready and he was putting on a huge pack.

"I jokingly asked if he was going to be okay with it.

"He gave me one of those looks, and I knew of course that there was never going to be any problem there. That's the last time I remember seeing him."

He added: "We were delighted to receive a letter from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, as Captain General Royal Marines, commending us and wishing us luck on our expedition, which he indicated was a unique and fitting tribute to Corporal Spencer and Marine MacPherson."

The men have already raised more than £18,000.

To donate, please visit: www.virginmoneygiving.com/yomp2012

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