British High Commissioner Presents Elizabeth Cross in Cape Town
On 22 September 2010 Dr Nicola Brewer, the British High Commissioner to South Africa, presented Mrs Diana Hutton-Squire of Elgin, Western Cape with the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll.
The Elizabeth Cross was introduced by the British Government in July 2009 and is presented to the next of kin of members of the British armed forces who died whilst deployed on operations in recognition of their tragic loss.
Mrs Hutton-Squire’s brother, Third Engineer Officer Andrew John Morris, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, was killed on 8 June 1982, during the Falklands War, when the RFA SIR GALAHAD (1) was bombed by Argentinean Skyhawk aircraft. On 1 July 2009, the Secretary of State for Defence announced details of the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll which are granted on behalf of the Nation to the next of kin of members of the armed forces who died whilst deployed on operations in recognition of their tragic loss. Accordingly, Mrs Diana Hutton-Squire, Morris’s sister and next of kin, applied for the Elizabeth Cross.
Andrew John Morris was a respected engineering officer with a bright career ahead of him in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Having served on a number of RFAs he was appointed to RFA SIR GALAHAD (1) in April 1981, before she sailed for the South Atlantic with the Amphibious Task Force in April 1982. Known to his ship mates as Andy, he served with distinction throughout the landings at San Carlos and endured numerous air attacks whilst the ship was in “bomb alley”. On one occasion the ship received a direct hit from a 1,000lb bomb which failed to detonate but did cause the evacuation of the ship. Andy was a member of the engineering team that repaired the damage and restored essential services which ensured that SIR GALAHAD (1) continued to deliver vital support to the Royal Marines and the Army ashore. It was at such times that Andy’s keen sense of humour, positive approach to life and pragmatic attitude both supported and strengthened his fellow officers.
On 8 June 1982, at the height of the Falklands Conflict, RFA SIR GALAHAD (1), along with RFA SIR TRISTRAM, was at anchor in Port Pleasant, about a mile from Fitzroy, preparing to disembark elements of the Welsh Guards. At around 1715Z, 5 Skyhawk jets of the Argentinean Air Force commenced an attack on the two vessels at anchor. Two of the jets attacked SIR TRISTRAM, which was hit by two bombs, and the remaining three aircraft attacked SIR GALAHAD, causing severe loss of life. SIR GALAHAD (1) was hit by three bombs; the first went through an open hatch and exploded, causing a massive fireball that swept through the tank deck where the Welsh Guards were waiting to disembark. The second bomb exploded in the galley area and the third bomb burst in the engine room, killing Andy. This attack resulted in the single largest British loss of life of the Campaign. In total, forty eight personnel were killed: Thirty two Welsh Guards, five members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, four from the Army Catering Corps, three from the Royal Army Medical Corps, two from 36th Engineer Regiment and two from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Under the circumstances that prevailed at that time of the Conflict, it was not possible to recover the bodies of those who died, and, on 25 June 1982, SIR GALAHAD was towed out to sea and sunk as a war grave. Andrew Morris lies with his ship and with his comrades who were lost that day. He served in the finest traditions of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and his memory lives on in those who knew and loved him.
Col Jerry Heal, Royal Marines (Defence Adviser), Mrs Diana Hutton-Squire, Mr John Hutton-Squire and
Wg Cdr Clive Mitchell Royal Air Force (Deputy Defence Adviser)
On 1 July 2009, the Secretary of State for Defence announced details of the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll which was to be granted on behalf of the Nation to the next of kin of members of the armed forces who died whilst deployed on operations in recognition of their tragic loss. Accordingly, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence, it is our honour to present the Elizabeth Cross and a Memorial Scroll to Andrew’s sister, Mrs Diana Hutton-Squire, granted in recognition of the family’s loss and sacrifice from a grateful nation.