P. D. CALLAN
45 Commando Royal Marines
Paul David Callan was born in Liverpool on 9 March 1961, to David Roy Callan and Pamela Elizabeth. They moved to Wigan when Paul was five years old, and then five years later they moved to Ellesmere Port in June 1971. Paul was the eldest of five children, with two brothers, Andrew and Michael, and two sisters, Jacky and Michelle. On his mother's side, his grandfather was a Dunkirk veteran, whereas his paternal grandfather served in the Staffordshire Regiment for twelve years.
Paul was educated at the Parklands Junior School and then Mill Lane Secondary School, Ellesmere Port. After leaving school, he was employed by a local firm of industrial painters while waiting to join the Royal Navy. Although he did six months training and passed out of HMS RALEIGH, his ultimate ambition was to serve in the Royal Marines. He decided to leave, and took his discharge papers straight to the RM recruiters. A year and a half later he entered into RM Commando training, and passed the course to earn his green beret whereupon he was posted to 45 Commando RM in Arbroath. He then served in Northern Ireland where he volunteered for evening patrols, and in his chosen specialisation of chef, Paul was one of the team that made the Princess of Wales's wedding cake.
In Spring 1982 Paul left the shores of England in the Royal Fleet Auxilliary Ship Stromness. 45 Commando RM landed in the Falklands on May 21st and Marine Callan was based with the unit support group at Ajax Bay, at one end of a building that was later to become famous as the Falklands Field Hospital. At dusk on the evening of May 27th this disused refrigeration plant was attacked by two Argentine Skyhawks. One of the bombs detonated near the main galley area after hitting a stack of anti-tank missiles. The explosion killed five and injured 27; Paul was one of the wounded. He sustained horrific injuries to his upper abdomen, and although he survived to reach the hospital ship, HMHS Uganda, the severity of his wounds could not be overcome by the skill of the surgeons or the devotion of the nurses, and he died of his wounds on June 10th.
The girls who nursed him refused to let him be buried at sea and instead asked Surgeon Commander Rick Jolly - OC Ajax Bay and a regular visitor to the hospital ship - to take his body back ashore to be buried alongside his five friends who had been killed. This was readily agreed and Paul was interred in a temporary grave there.
His body was returned to England at the end of 1982, and Paul is now buried in the 45 Commando RM cemetery at Arbroath. His Memorial service was full to overflowing, and his brother Andrew, who like his other brother Michael, had joined the Cheshire Regiment, sounded the Last Post.
Paul was a superb young man who loved spending time on leave with his family. He was especially close to his sisters, but never married. His friends from 45 Cdo and all his family miss him very much.
Even though our Paul has gone,
His memory here will now live on,
His smiling face we shall not see
Yet in our hearts he’ll always be...