A veteran who lost his sight when he was bombed in the Falkland Islands will march to the Cenotaph in London on this Memorial Sunday.
Terry Bullingham, from Peacehaven, will join more than 40 other blind veterans who are being supported by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for visually impaired men and women.
Terry, now 78, joined the Royal Navy in 1960. He was aboard HMS Antrim in the Falkland Islands on May 21, 1982 when four Argentine Skyhawk fighter-bombers flew over the ship and dropped a pattern of eight 1,000-pound bombs.
Terry was hit by a cannon shell during the attack and was first treated aboard the Canberra and then operated on when he arrived on the hospital ship SS Uganda.
Sister Nicci Pugh said she remembered Terry as “incredibly stoic” as her team struggled – but failed – to save his sight.
“Losing your sight for the first time is like going back to childhood; there’s no getting around it,” he said.
In the autumn of 1982 Terry had found Blind Veterans UK and started his rehabilitation by learning to write, read and write in Braille and to use a long stick.
He was inspired by the blind WW1 and WW2 veterans he met.
“I figured if you can crack it, I definitely will,” he said.
“They had overcome such challenges in their lives.
“The camaraderie, combined with the encouragement and support from Blind Veterans UK, has kept me positive and I have found I could achieve more every day.
“I just wouldn’t have survived without their support.”
Since then, Terry has had an impressive career, including positions as a museum information officer, social worker and lecturer.
He thanked the charity for restoring his confidence and independence in the early days and said he will always remember those who didn’t make it back from the war.
“I want to share my experience of this wonderful organization and their commitment to providing lifelong support to so many people,” he said.
“As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Falkland Islands I will be thinking of those who didn’t make it back, especially the men we lost on HMS Glamorgan two days before the end of the war. I knew some of them very well and they will be in my thoughts on Remembrance Sunday.
“Blind Veterans UK changed my life forever. So I would say to all the blind veterans out there, just pick up the phone and get in touch. The camaraderie is what it’s all about. You will meet others in the same boat as you and I guarantee you will never look back.”
If you or someone you know has served in the armed forces, including national service, and is now struggling with vision loss, contact Blind Veterans UK by calling 0800 389 7979 or visiting blindveterans.org.uk/support.
While originally caring for veterans who went blind on active duty, Blind Veterans UK now helps veterans regardless of what caused their vision loss.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23109410.peacehaven-falklands-veteran-march-cenotaph-remembrance-sunday/?ref=rss Peacehaven Veteran marches to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday