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Falklands War veterans motorcycle tour honours soldier buried in Macduff


By Kyle Ritchie

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A group of forces motorcyclists have honoured a soldier buried at Macduff who died in the Falklands War.

The Airborne Forces Riders and The South Atlantic Medal Association are taking part in The Falklands Ride of Respect which sees them tour the UK and visit the graves of those who were killed in the conflict.

The group, which consisted of Paul Moore, Charlie McColgan, Tony McKie, Rick Clayton and Des Huby, stopped off at Myrus Cemetery to pay their respects to Peter Burke McKay.

He was a Lance Corporal in the Royal Marines and was killed in action at the age of 19 on Thursday, May 27, 1982.

A small ceremony was held at his grave with the motorcylists, Mr McKay's family and other Falklands veterans who live locally in attendance.

A small ceremony was held at the grave of Peter Burke McKay.
A small ceremony was held at the grave of Peter Burke McKay.

President of the Airborne Forces Riders and Ride of Respect organiser Paul Moore said: "As a group, the Airborne Riders are proud to be part of the annual commemorations of the Battle of Arnhem, where our specific role is to visit the outlying gravesites of men who fell during that epic battle in 1944. Some of their graves are more than 100 miles from Arnhem itself.

"This gave me the idea of honouring the Falklands fallen in a similar manner, as I was attached to 3 Para with 2 Tp P 9 Para Sqn Re during Op Corporate.

"I was encouraged by Jimmy O'Connell who had details of all the graves from the impressive research he did when writing his fantastic account of the Battle for Mount Longdon – Three Days in June.

"Jim called me one day and asked if I lived anywhere near Lanchester in County Durham. In fact, I drive through that village almost every day and Jim told me that one of the 3 Para lads rests there – Stewart Laing – so I set off to find the grave.

The group of forces motorcyclists (from left) are: Rick Clayton, Des Huby, Charlie McColgan, Paul Moore and Tony McKie.
The group of forces motorcyclists (from left) are: Rick Clayton, Des Huby, Charlie McColgan, Paul Moore and Tony McKie.

"Since then, I have made it my task to honour Stewart every year on June 12 on behalf of all 3 Para and attached arms, the same as I do at the grave of my section commander in 9 Sqn and good friend – Scotty Wilson – who is buried in Edinburgh.

"I was shocked by the thought that I had been driving past Stewart's grave for the last 30 plus years without knowing that he was there, and I reasoned that there would be others that do not know where their friends lie.

"The Falklands War was the first time that families had been given the option of bringing their loved ones home.

"The majority of the fallen are at sea, however I started to research those buried in the UK and plotted their locations.

"The first ride in 2019 was only to the 3 Para graves and we followed this in 2020 and 2021 by visiting all of the other graves in the UK, as well as associated memorials.

"We now know where all of the graves are, but there are other memorials we are only being made aware of and we hope to visit these in the future.

The group is touring the UK on their motorcycles paying their respects at the graves of those who fell in the Falklands War.
The group is touring the UK on their motorcycles paying their respects at the graves of those who fell in the Falklands War.

"As soon as we are able, we intend to ride to the remaining 15 graves in the Falkland Islands.

"We also hope that this will encourage others to visit the graves and to pay their respects to those who fought so bravely in the Falklands War on land, at sea and in the air, 8000 miles from home and against all the odds."

For more information about The Ride of Respect visit www.airborneforcesriders.com


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