This page is dedicated to the memory of:
Gareth Wynne Poole
1st Battalion Welsh Guards
Gareth’s family lived in Pontypridd, South Wales at the time when he was born at East Glamorgan Hospital on 21st December 1961. He was the second, and only boy, of 4 children brought up by Ray & Jan Poole, his sisters being Adrienne (b1959), Jeannette (b1966) and Alison (b1968).
He subsequently attended Pont Sion Norton Junior School, moving on to Rhydyfelin Welsh Comprehensive School and finally Bryn Celynog School at Beddau when the family moved to Upper Church Village in 1974. When he left school, he worked at a small engineering works at Pontypridd where he did a youth training scheme, and also travelled all over the country in his spare time with a friend who owned a long-distance haulage firm. His main interests during his teenage years were the Air Training Corps, 2004 Squadron, and then his motor bike, watching sport and listening to pop music, especially ‘Queen’.
Due to his interest in both aircraft and the military he was hoping to eventually join the RAF but was influenced sufficiently by his Grandfather, Idris Williams, into joining the Welsh Guards in 1980. Idris was a proud Ex-Welsh Guardsman (2nd Batt.) who had served as a tank driver right through the 2nd World War and was the servant (batman) to the famous artist Lt. Rex Whistler and was with him when he was killed near Caen, Northern France. Gareth joined the Guards in June 1980 and did his ‘square bashing’ and initial training at the Guards Depot, Pirbright, and the following year took part in the presentation of the Battalion’s new colours at Windsor Castle and the Queen’s Birthday Parade Trooping the Colour. This was followed by a training exercise in Kenya and as he was a keen shot with the rifle was awarded a Marksman medal. By the time of the Falklands War he was part of Support Company’s Mortar Platoon and sailed South with 5 Brigade on the liner QE2 to South Georgia where they transferred to the SS Canberra which took them on to San Carlos in the Falkland Islands.
After a couple of aborted attempts to move forward on foot over the Sussex Mountains and then another attempt on board HMS Fearless, when only half of the Battalion were put ashore by landing craft at Bluff Cove, the remainder were transported aboard RFA Landing Ship Sir Galahad on the night of 7-8 June to Port Pleasant near Fitzroy to support 2 Para’s advance on Port Stanley. Unfortunately, he lost his life in the well documented bombing of the ship by Argentinian aircraft along with 49 others including 31 of his fellow Welsh Guardsmen. To relieve the boredom during the 5 hours of being controversially kept aboard the ship in this extremely hostile environment, he played cards with 3 of his mates, 2 of whom, Raymond Thomas and Michael Dunphy also lost their lives, the other, Tony Scales, has had to live with that memory ever since. The hulk of the Sir Galahad burned for days and was eventually towed South of the Falklands, where it was torpedoed by submarine HMS Onyx and sank into the cold dark waters of the South Atlantic, where it remains to this day as the final resting place and official War Grave of these servicemen who were sadly not allowed the opportunity of proving themselves in battle.
After the war a 2nd Landing Ship Logistics (LSL) ‘Sir Galahad’ went into service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, who also led an appeal to provide a new RNLI lifeboat to be placed at a Welsh lifeboat station due to the high number of Welsh servicemen killed during the attack on the Sir Galahad. Subsequently in September 1986 a RNLI Tyne class lifeboat named ‘RFA Sir Galahad’ was stationed at Tenby, Pembrokeshire, and Jan & Ray, who had many links with Tenby, both gave up their jobs of Nursing Sister & Aircraft Engineer respectively and moved to Tenby with youngest daughter Alison to run a hotel they had bought. Unfortunately, in September 1988 Alison died following a tragic incident, and in May 1990 Gareth’s mother Jan also passed away after a serious illness…
The lifeboat ‘RFA Sir Galahad’ remained on station at Tenby until May 2006 and a Memorial/Commemoration plaque, commissioned by Ray, was unveiled by Philip Roberts, Captain of the RFA Sir Galahad at the time of the Falklands war, at a ceremony in the new RNLI lifeboat house, where it hangs alongside a lifebuoy off the 1st Sir Galahad and the ship’s nameplate of the 2nd which was decommissioned in July 2006.
YN ANGOF NI CHANT FOD – WE WILL REMEMBER THEM