On 1 April 1982 Major Mike Norman, commander of Naval Party 8901, was looking forward to a peaceful year-long tour of duty on the Falkland Islands. But events turned out differently, for the next day the Argentinians invaded and he and his forty-three Royal Marines found themselves fighting for their lives. They took up defensive positions around Government House in Port Stanley to protect the Governor, Rex Hunt. After a desperate battle in the gardens and even inside the house, Hunt ordered them to lay down their arms. As the surrender took place, an Argentinian told a marine: The islands are ours now . The response was simple: We will be back . They were, and this is their story. The Royal Marines of Naval Party 8901 as well as some members of the previous detachment volunteered to join the Task Force, and so the men who witnessed the raising of the Argentinian flag over the islands on 2 April saw the triumphant return of the Union Jack. Mike Norman s account is a powerful and moving tribute to the marines who confronted the Argentinians when they invaded and then fought to force them out.
Major Mike Norman joined the Royal Marines in 1962 and served for thirty years, spending much of his time in commando units or training establishments. In 1982 he was appointed commanding officer of Naval Party 8901, the Royal Marines detachment which was stationed in the Falkland Islands when the Argentinians invaded. He organized the resistance until he was ordered to surrender, then returned to the UK. Months later when the Task Force was launched to retake the islands he commanded a company in 42 Commando and was in Port Stanley to see the Argentinian surrender.