17 December 2018
Our Boys – Who were the Falklands paratroopers?
Dr Helen Parr, Senior Lecturer at Keele University
Dr Helen Parr presents her new book ‘Our boys – the story of a paratrooper’ at the sold out 2018 annual lecture for the Sir Michael Howard Centre in The Great Hall
On 3rd December 2018, Dr Helen Parr, Senior Lecturer at Keele University was invited to present around her new book ‘Our boys – the story of a paratrooper’ at the sold out 2018 annual lecture for the Sir Michael Howard Centre in The Great Hall, chaired by Professor Joe Maiolo.
Dr Parr said “I needed to see what it had been like for them. I did not want to glorify or to damn them. I had to appreciate their courage and their spirit; but I could not ignore parts of their histories that were distressing or disquieting.”
Dr Parr examined this elite unit of the British Army before, during and after the Falklands war; and in so doing, offered a window into Britain’s changing society in the 1970s and the 1980s and addressed questions such as; who were the men who chose to join the ranks of a Regiment like the Paras in the 1970s? How did they experience combat in the Falklands? And what did it mean, for them, their families, and for Britain, after they returned home?
Our Boys brings to life the human experiences of the paratroopers who fought in the Falklands War, and examines the long aftermath of that conflict. It is a first in many ways – a social and cultural history of the Parachute Regiment, a group with an elite and aggressive reputation; a study of close-quarters combat on the Falklands Islands; and an exploration of the many legacies of this short and symbolic war.
Told unflinchingly through the experiences of the people who lived through it, Our Boys shows how the Falklands conflict began to change Britain’s relationship with its soldiers, and our attitudes to trauma and war itself. It is also the story of one particular soldier: the author’s uncle, who was killed during the conflict, and whose fate has haunted both the author and his fellow paratroopers ever since.