Fathers And Sons - From The Falklands To Helmand



To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the beginning of the Falklands conflict, two fathers who fought in the same battle in 1982 on what it's like having sons in military service in more recent wars. Does experience of warfare make fathers better or worse at handling the emotions of having a son fighting for his country?

Former paratrooper Phill Adkins, who as a seventeen-year-old private took part in vicious hand-to-hand fighting on Mount Longdon, says it was the worst day in his life when his son Dean told him he was joining the army. Corporal Dean Adkins talks about his operational tour in Helmand last year during which time he came through several fierce firefights with the Taliban and a roadside bomb which put him in hospital. The last tour, Operation Herrick 13, gave his father six months of sleepless nights but for Dean, his Dad's letters and his presence on the end of a phone gave him inspiration and provided an anchor during traumatic times.

In the Pike family, on the other hand, soldiering is in the blood so it was only natural that Will would follow in the tradition. He joined the same battalion as the one his illustrious father Sir Hew Pike commanded in the Falklands. Sir Hew talks vividly about the bloody aftermath of the battle for Mount Longdon and about the task he had of telling parents how and why their sons had died in the fighting. Will, like Dean, drew confidence from knowing his father was always ready to listen back home. Two fathers from opposite ends of the social scale reveal different attitudes to the risks of death in war. What both fathers have in common is the bond they have with their sons, although they have differing ways of showing their support when they are away fighting.

Two Falklands veterans with mixed feelings about having sons in the military.