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The three of them are together again: Mother's dying wish fulfilled as ashes are scattered at point where sailor son lost his life

By Richard Guttridge | Dudley | News | Published:

Martha and Arthur Boldy were hit hard by the loss of their young son during the Falklands War – and it was always his mother's wish for them all to be reunited when they died.

Iain Boldy

That wish has now come true as, after being flown 20,000 miles, the couple's ashes have been scattered in the same bay where their son was killed.

Able Seaman Iain Boldy was just 20 years old when the ship he was serving on, the HMS Argonaut, was struck by an Argentinian bomb.

Although the bomb did not go off, he was 'in the wrong place at the wrong time' and killed by the impact of the strike. He had married the love of his life Margaret just two weeks before going out to war.

HMS Argonaut

On May 21, 1982, the ship was protecting amphibious vessels during an attempted landing at San Carlos Water when it came under attack from fighter planes.

The Argonaut was hit by two bombs, neither of which exploded, Iain was killed alongside fellow sailor Matthew Stuart.

His mother Martha had remarked over the years how she would love to be able to rest where her son lost his life when she died, even if she didn't realistically believe it could happen.

Arthur and Martha Boldy

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She and Arthur had emigrated to Australia, but Martha flew to the UK in 2010 despite her declining health to be awarded the Queen Elizabeth Scroll by the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, which is awarded to women who have lost close relatives in action.

Arthur died in 1997 following a battle with cancer and then Martha died following a stroke last year.

After her death, her other son Keith, from Gornal Wood, Dudley, took on the challenge of trying to reunite his parents with his brother – but he admitted from the outset he didn't know if it could be done.

"I didn't think it was going to be possible," he said. "I was trying to find a way to get to the Falklands.

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"There are no passenger services there. I had to find someone who was going."

Fortunately, Keith managed to find that someone. During a memorial service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, he bumped into one of Iain's shipmates, who was heading out to the Falklands for a charity event and was ready and willing to make Martha's dream come true.

Margaret Allen touches the name of her late husband, Able Seaman Iain Boldy, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire

The retired 70-year-old grandfather, who previously ran a business producing school uniforms on the Pensnett Estate before, said: "When my father died, she always said she wanted to be buried at sea with Iain. I never thought anything could be done."

But, thanks to shipmate Paddy Gallagher, an epic journey began. The ashes of Keith's parents, who married in Alloa in Scotland in 1945, had already been flown from their home in Australia back to him in the UK. They were then put on a flight from Manchester another 8,000 miles to the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic, the scene of so much tragedy in 1982.

A special service was held on Wednesday, where the ashes of Martha and Arthur, who lived in Derby before emigrating Down Under, were scattered in San Carlos Bay, close to where Iain was killed.

There were also some local guests present, after word of Keith's efforts got round through social media.

He explained: "A guy from the Falklands wanted to know what was happening. There were a few islanders who wanted to attend which I thought was a lovely touch."

Father-of-two Keith, who has lived in the Black Country for more than 40 years, was in his mid-30s when his brother was killed and he remembers his warm, bubbly character.

He said: "He was a smashing chap - very, very funny and very jolly.

"He had a great sense of humour and nothing ever phased him at all.

"He was never unhappy, he was a bright, bubbly boy. He joined the navy because he wanted it to be his career at the time.

"He met his girl and fell very much in love with her. Her married her two weeks before he left. They spent two weeks together and she never saw him again."

Due to difficulties getting to the remote islands, the family were not able to attend the service.

But Keith said he was just proud he was able to make his mother's dream come true.

He said: "When my mother died I made it my business to make sure I got her last wish done.

"I think she would be over the moon. My mother and father were devastated when my brother was killed. Neither of them ever really got over it.

"For the three of them to be able to be together, I am sure if she is looking down on us she would be extremely proud of us."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
@RichG_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton

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