AN MSP has visited a county veteran of the Falklands War to mark the 40th anniversary of the conflict.

Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP, met with Rear Admiral Neil Erskine Rankin to discuss the war and his important history with the islands.

Rear Adm Rankin, from North Berwick, worked in the Ministry of Defence and played an instrumental role in securing Sidewinder missiles from the United States for the Royal Navy’s Sea Harrier aircraft.

The former North Berwick councillor’s role helped turn the tide of the 1982 war by securing British aerial supremacy over the Argentine Air Force.

He also commanded HMS Achilles, HMS Bacchante, HMS Andromeda and the 8th Frigate Squadron, and held tri-service command in the Falkland Islands.

Rear Adm Rankin said: “It was wonderful to catch up with Craig and discuss the Falkland Islands.

“The islands are an incredible place and they are home to a fantastic variety of wildlife, including close to one million penguins in their summer – our winter!

“Recovering and securing the islands was an important, complicated and difficult task, bearing in mind the distance involved of almost 8,000 miles that our forces had to travel and be supported.

“The Falkland Islanders are wonderful, all fiercely loyal to the United Kingdom.

“There’s really nowhere else quite like the Falkland Islands, and I would strongly encourage anyone who’s thinking of visiting to go.

“Sadly, the islands were not such a pleasant place to visit for the many British servicemen killed or wounded during the Falklands War and, as I remember the sacrifices that were made, my thoughts go out to those who lost loved ones during the conflict.

“We owe veterans of the conflict and the islanders themselves a great debt in respect of their service in protecting our national interests – all who played a part can be justly proud of their efforts, for which they will long be remembered.”

Mr Hoy was honoured to meet the Rear Admiral and also met with representatives of the Falkland Islands Government in the Scottish Parliament to discuss the conflict and veterans’ issues relating to the war.

He said: “I was honoured to be welcomed into Rear Admiral Rankin’s home to discuss the Falkland Islands with him.

“We should never forget the sacrifice of the veterans of the Falklands War, or the 255 servicemen and women who died protecting innocent residents of the Falkland Islands.

“We owe our armed forces a huge debt of gratitude and respect for their service, for which we can never repay.

“June 14, 2022, marked the 40th anniversary of the conflict and their sacrifice should never be forgotten.”