Born in Bootle, Merseyside, where he still lives, James O'Connell enlisted in the Parachute Regiment in 1979. In April 1982, after a posting in Cold War Germany and a tour of Northern Ireland, the call came to take part in the British Task Force to re-capture the Falklands. During the attack on Mount Longdon, James was shot in the face. A bullet passed through his nose, destroying his right eye, cheekbone and front teeth. Though he survived, five years of reconstructive surgery followed, and James left the army in 1985 as a result of his injuries.Following the conflict, transition to civilian life was a difficult and James suffered from what was likely undiagnosed PTSD. He eventually married his long-term girlfriend Maureen, who he met in 1981, and they have two sons. Since 2014, James has helped with the campaign to get a posthumous gallantry medal for Cpl Stewart McLaughlin and was instrumental in getting a memorial erected on Mount Longdon on the exact location where Sgt Ian McKay was killed winning a posthumous Victoria Cross, and he has travelled to the Falklands several times in order to write this book.
Former members of 3 Para and its attachments recall the brutal fighting and hostile terrain they faced during the battle for Mount Longdon. Combined, their perspectives provide a formidable account of the clash that reveals their tenacity, teamwork, courage and humour. For me this is the definitive title on the campaign that inspired me and many of my peers to join The Parachute Regiment. If you only read one book about the Falklands make sure it's this one. -- Cpl Adam Jackson, Para * Soldier Magazine *