This page is dedicated to the memory of:

Major

Michael Lancaster Forge

Royal Signals

Michael Lancaster Forge joined the Royal Corps of Signals as a 2nd Lieutenant on 18 July 1961. His service included; 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron, 204 Signal Squadron, 2nd Signal Regiment, School of Signals, 3rd Division HQ & Signal Regiment, 30th Signal Regiment, 24th Infantry Brigade HQ & Signal Squadron.

He then held two non-Corps appointments, first at HQ 16 Parachute Brigade and then as OC Exercise Troop at the Army Apprentice College, Harrogate. From September 1974 he served a one-year secondment with the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces. After attending RMCS Shrivenham and Staff College he returned to BAOR where he served with 21 Signal Regiment (Air Support), and a four-month tour at HQ British Forces Belize.

As a result of his previous secondment he was again accepted for service with the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces where he remained form January 1979 to January 1982. In early 1982 he was selected to command 5 Infantry Brigade HQ & Signal Squadron and was killed on active service in the Falkland Islands on 6 June 1982.

 

Ronald Alan Smith, ex Lance Corporal, HQ Squadron, 5 Infantry Brigade HQ & Signal Squadron

I was privileged to have met Mike Forge in the last year of my Army Apprenticeship, when as a Captain he was posted in to take command of the Exercise Troop at the Army Apprentice College, Harrogate. I came to know him well, as he was the officer designated to run the college’s free fall parachute club, and each weekend we would drive out to Grindale near Bridlington to practice and parachute. Away from the disciplinary strictures of the college, Mike came to be liked by everybody, being a warm open person with a good sense of humour. He encouraged us in all our efforts, despite the fact that most of us were scared witless, and he piloted the aircraft from which I was hurled on the morning of my 17th birthday.

When the time for our passing out parade came, Mike introduced himself to my late father, and as with everybody else that he ever met, they got along famously. With my departure from the college in 1972, I lost track of Mike, except for a couple of letters in the early months after my departure.

In 1981/1982, whilst I was serving with 5 Infantry Brigade HQ & Signal Squadron at Aldershot, I was delighted to hear that Mike was to assume command of our squadron, and our friendship was renewed.

It was under his command that we set sail south in May 1982 on board the QE2. As before, Mike’s personality came to the fore, and although he had only assumed command a few weeks earlier, conversations we had on the voyage proved that he already knew his men well, including their family backgrounds, and he became well-liked by the unit.

On the 6th June 1982, one of our radio rebroadcast stations was experiencing difficulty in communicating, and ever one to lead from the front, Mike boarded the Gazelle helicopter with SSgt Joe Baker, Troop Sergeant of the station in question, and set off to sort out the problem. As you are well aware, along with Joe Baker, Simon Cockton and SSgt Griffin, Mike lost his life when the helicopter was shot down.

I lost, as did many others, a very dear friend on that day. As a single man, Mike might not have left behind a family with blood ties, but he left a sizeable adopted family.

I am glad that I have found your website, as I regret the fact that I am unlikely to be able to visit his final resting place and can at least now express my sorrow at the passing of a true officer and gentleman.

Yours sincerely

Ronald Alan Smith