General Lawrence Stewart’s Office
Monday February 1, 1982
Will and Jess had left after midnight for London. Jess had driven while Will had slept. Will had dropped Jess of at a hotel before he went to SAS Headquarters.
When Will entered General Stewart’s office, he was relieved that the General was the only other person in the office. He knew that he was going to have to tell him about Alice but hopefully he would be the only one. That was what they had planned for but they also had planned for having to tell more people. Will saluted.
“Have a seat Major Maclaren.” The general looked Will over carefully. What he saw was what he always saw with Will. An officer confident in himself and who was fully prepared. When Will had been a lieutenant first assigned to Squadron B that then Major Stewart had commanded, he had shown the same competence as he had every time Larry Stewart had seen him since.
“OK Will, what do you have that is so urgent?” Larry smiled at his friend.
“Sir, the Argentineans plan to invade the Falkland Islands after we have committed our forces to the exercise in Canada. This will delay our response until they can solidify their position there.”
The general immediately understood the military and political significance of such an invasion. The whole point of the exercise was to convince the Argentineans that if they invaded that the British Military would be able to force them to give up the islands. The timing of the invasion would actually turn the exercise to the Argentineans advantage. How did Will know this?
“Major, how did you learn this?”
“Sir, I would like to delay supplying that information to you until you have a source that you can present to the War Office and the Ministry of Defense.” He saw the confusing grow in the general’s face. “Sir, if you would give General Marcos Serrano a call, you will find that the Chilean military has the information that we need.”
How did Will know about Marcos? It had been years since they had seen each other but they still talked with each other regularly. He looked at the clock and saw that Marcos would be in his office, if he did not have a meeting somewhere else. Well, if Will says Marcos has the information, then I would not bet against it. The Chileans and the Argentineans had not had friendly relations for years.
“How you know about General Serrano, we can talk about later. I will give him a call and see what he knows.”
Will sat there while General Stewart made the call. That the discussion was in rapid Spanish did not deter Will from following the local side of the conversation. Less than a half- hour later, the General hung up and turned to Will.
“General Serrano confirms that the Argentineans are planning to invade the Falkland Islands and our other possessions around the first of April. The Chilean Generals were unsure about how to let us know about it. They were concerned about their politicians and diplomats if they were to contact us with the information. Marcos felt my call solved the problem since we knew about it and were just seeking confirmation. I hope you had a good source in case anyone finds out that we didn’t have intelligence about what the Argentineans are planning.”
“I hope we won’t have to do that sir. We suspect that we’ll have to tell a couple of people other than you but it mustn’t be widely known. In fact, it is important that they know. It will help in the future.” Will paused.
“Let me call General Reynolds, we need to call off the exercise.” Larry reached for the phone.
“Sir, let me explain how I learned about the Argentinean plans. Once you have that information, it will help you understand how the plans that I have will allow us a chance to use their attempt to time their invasion to the exercise to our advantage. I believe the plan that I have will give us a chance to stop them without starting a shooting war. If it doesn’t, it will delay the takeover of the islands until our forces can get there.”
“If you have more information, I need to know it before I make a call.” Larry expected to hear that Will had heard about the invasion from someone that wanted money for the information. He knew that Will’s wife’s family was rich. He soon realized that how Will had learned about the invasion was something he didn’t want to present to his superiors if he wasn’t ready to retire to a padded cell.
Before Will was done, Larry realized that he and Will needed to have a good story for how they learned about the invasion. When Will started to explain how he planned to stop the invasion, Larry realized that he and Will would be here well into the evening as they refined the plan.
Macphater Mining and Engineering Cargo Ship Thuringowa
South Atlantic Ocean off of the Falkland Islands
Tuesday, March 23, 1982
As he waited for the ship to reach the selected drop-off point, Will thought over the meetings before they had sailed. Things had gone off very close to how Alice had foreseen them. Alice had had no dreams that showed major changes. He hoped that stayed true. Leslie would have gotten a message to him through the ship’s captain if anything important had showed up. She would also contact the two MPs to whom they had supplied more information. John Lawrence and Charlie Blake would be important in the future when they had the windows to other worlds.
“Major Maclaren, we have reached the co-ordinates that you had requested. We will start to deploy your boats as per your orders.” Captain Morris Lowery was the captain of MME’s first ship, Thuringowa, but he had known Ian Macphater for seven years.
“Thank you, Captain for the help you and your crew have given us.” Will turned to the commander of the other SAS squadron. “Paul, have the men start loading when the SBS crews are ready. I will be down in a few minutes.”
Originally, Will had thought that it was fortunate that the Thuringowa had been designed to handle the large mining equipment that MME built, but he had later remember that Alice was the one that suggested the idea of MME owning a custom ship to carry the equipment. The SBS boats being unloaded were easily handled by the ship’s cargo handling equipment.
Captain Paul Hayes salutes and heads down to the main deck.
“Morris, we will stay under cover until the Argentineans invade. I expect that it will be a week so you should be well out of their reach by then. If they board you though and find out about us, let them take you into custody. The Macphaters will see that you are released. The ship is replaceable. You and your crew are not.”
“Will, I have known Ian Macphater long enough to know that he values his employees more than money. I look forward to seeing you if we are every in Townsville at the same time.”
“I plan to be moving there after this is done. Leslie has wanted to move back for a while. I am going to accept Ian’s offer of a job.”
“Well, you haven’t done to bad for yourself with the Army, but I expect that you will do much better working for your father-in-law.”
Will kept himself from grinning. Leslie was one of the co-owners of MME. He expected that his pay would increase but he knew that he would be working more. The family was always discussing business except when Brenda told them to stop. He, Jess, and Alice had always been drawn into the discussion every time they visited. He expected that his mother-in-law couldn’t cut off business so often without guests there to use as an excuse.
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
April 1, 1982
An Argentinean transport ship accompanied by a destroyer had entered Stanley Harbor during the night. The destroyer had stationed itself in the Narrows while the transport continued towards the docks. Though the sun had barely risen, the local members of the islands assembly were there to meet the ship. When they asked to speak to the officer in charge, an Argentinean Army Colonel accompanied by two officers and two armed squads had met with them. They spoke for over a half hour. When they broke up, it is obvious that the locals hadn’t been able to dissuade the invasion.
Glenn Short, one of the members of the assembly, went to speak with Will. “Major Maclaren, it is just as you said, they want everyone to stay in their homes. We are to be hostages against efforts to retake the islands. I am glad you convinced most of us to move out.”
“I suspect the colonel was not happy with holding hostages.”
“No, but Colonel Schmitt is still going to follow his orders. We have no further objections to your plans.”
“Return to your home. You will need to stay there until things get resolved. As I mentioned, do not try to flee at this time. If they see you leaving, it may precipitate hostile action. What we plan will either work quickly or we will be in a short firefight. If I don’t have their surrender within an hour after the fighting starts, we will help you disappear into the hills. If you are captured, don’t hold back any information they ask for.”
The assemblyman hurried off.
“Will, I would be happier if you stayed here and I went and talked to them.” Captain Paul Hayes would have been even happier if no one were to walk out to talk to Colonel Schmitt.
“No, Paul. We have to show strength.” Will turned to the communication sergeant. “Sergeant Richards, signal them to blow the drive shafts on both ships as planned. Then contact General Stewart and let him know that we are resisting the invasion.”
“Paul, you know what to do if they resist. Do not try to rescue me. Wait for their surrender.”
Will put his rifle down and went to talk to Colonel Schmitt.
He came into view of the soldiers exiting the ship just as the demolition explosives crippled both ships.
The soldiers looked back at their ship. Many were terrified. They had expected no resistance. The briefing had said that there were only a few policemen on the islands.
One of the soldiers looked around and saw Will approaching. He yelled a warning and brought his rifle up to fire. Just as he fired, his sergeant knocked his rifle. When the sergeant saw that the approaching officer was hit, he yelled for no one to fire.
Will had been hit in the arm. It was mostly a flesh wound but the bullet had grazed the bone. Will continued walking but pulled his knife out and cut his sleeve off. Just as he pulled out a dressing for the wound, the Argentinean sergeant ran up.
“Major, let me help you dress your wound.”
Will had read the Sergeant’s nametag as he stopped to address him in Spanish. “Gracias Sergeant Ramirez, but it is more important that I talk to Colonel Schmitt before my men find it necessary to destroy your ships.
The sergeant stared at the British Major. He treats his wound as a minor inconvenience. He is more interested in making sure that none of us die. When he saw the SAS patch, the sergeant paled. They knew. This is a trap. The sergeant turned and yelled. “Colonel Schmitt, he needs to talk to you pronto.”
Will and the sergeant slowly moved towards the ship, which allowed the wound to be bandaged. Just as the sergeant finished, Colonel Hans Schmitt approached them.
“Sergeant Ramirez, ensure that none of your troops cause another incident.”
“Si, mon Colonel.”
“I am Major William Maclaren of the British SAS.” Will slowly salutes with his wounded arm. “Colonel Schmitt, I understand that you are in charge of both ships.”
“Yes, I am.” Schmitt again looks over the man standing in front of him. SAS, I knew they were well trained but this is more than training. “Major, I apologize for the action of one of my men. We had not expected to have any opposition. I see that you have anticipated our arrival.” They must have planned this before I got my orders. We had to secure the airfield for our planes before the other troops can be sent in.
“Yes, Colonel. We knew that your current political situation would require more than words about the islands being part of Argentina. Let us discuss that later. I need to have you and the two ship captains surrender your command before something occurs that requires my people to destroy both vessels and kill most of your people. That would lead to escalation of the hostilities and many more than you have here would die.”
There are more explosives on the hulls of the ships. “You have more explosives on the hulls?” How had they known that the destroyer would come within reach? The explosives necessary to destroy her were not carried in rucksacks. What do we face here?
“We can destroy both ships and ensure that your troops on shore only option is surrender or die. I choose to allow the locals to ask you to leave. When you could not, I showed you that I had your forces in an untenable position. As I said, I do not want to do anything to escalate the hostilities between our two countries.” Will turned and looked at the destroyer in the outer harbor.
A shot is heard across the harbor.
“Colonel Schmitt, would you inform the ship captains, that my men have orders not to allow divers or anyone into the water to disarm the explosives. The first diver will be killed. If there is a second attempt, the ship will be destroyed. I believe that was a warning shot.”
He had looked before the shot was fired. What am I facing here? “Major Maclaren, I will go discuss this with the ship captains and my superiors. I will have my men onshore set their weapons down so that there will be no incidents.”
“Colonel, inform your superiors that if any additional forces approach, we will find it necessary to destroy both of these ships as well as those forces. You have a half an hour to agree to our terms.”
“What will happen to us if we surrender?”
“There are a number of locations where we can leave you and your people with minimum supervision. I assume that you came equipped to provide for yourself for at least a month.”
“I see that you know a lot about our plans and that you have had a while to plan for this. I agree that I do not want to see unnecessary bloodshed especially since it looks like it will be one sided. I will go and confer on the situation.”
“Thank you, Colonel. Your half hour starts now.” He turned and left.
When Will entered the command post, Captain Hayes had the medic ready to take care of his wound.
“Captain Hayes, if they don’t surrender in a half hour, blowup the destroyer. Will continued to talk as he sat down to let the medic tend to his wound. Give them another fifteen minutes and if they still don’t surrender, blow up the troop ship and do what is necessary to ensure they all surrender. I leave those decisions in your hands until we find out how the morphine affects me. You can consult with me, but the decisions are yours.”
“Yes, sir. I understand, sir.” Paul heads to the radio, to issue commands.
“Corporal, give me a small dose of morphine to start with. If I need more, I will let you know.
“Major, I’m not sure how you continued out there after you were shot. I was ready to go out and care for you, but the Captain stopped me.”
“It is a matter of showing strength to their weakness. The soldier that shot me weakened their position. When I discounted my wound, our positions strengthened. This will help to ensure no one else is shot. Help me lie down. I will take a short nap so that I can be ready when I am needed.” After the medic had helped him to lie down on the floor, Will gave one last command. “Remind Captain Hayes that he may consult me even if I am napping and that I am to be awakened to accept the surrender.”
<The Scotsman, April 15, 1982 – Douglas Richards – Navy Fleet arrives at Falkland Islands
British Navy fleet under Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse arrived early yesterday in the Falkland Islands. The 3rd Commando Brigade began offloading in Port Stanley along with equipment and supplies for an extended campaign. They are the first ground forces to reach the SAS and SBS forces that had held the Argentinean forces at bay for the past two weeks.
The two SAS squadrons in the Falkland Islands are commanded by officers from Edinburgh. Major William Maclaren is the commander of the A Squadron of the 22 SAS Regiment. He was wounded during the initial confrontation with the Argentinean forces. Though wounded in his right arm, he continued in command until yesterday when Brigadier Julian Thompson took over command of ground forces. Major Maclaren’s family owns Maclaren Motors. Commanding D Squadron is another Edinburgh native, Captain Paul Hayes. …
Will’s action stopped the Argentineans from taking over the Falkland Islands though an uninhabited island group much farther from the mainland was taken over. It was over two weeks before a British fleet under Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse arrived to reinforce them. By then negotiations were underway with the new Argentinean government. Will had pushed himself too much and his wound had not healed. He was evacuated back to England on a flight through Brazil. He spent almost a month in the hospital but he was the only wounded on either side in the Falklands.
William Maclaren was knighted for his actions in the Falklands. He was credited for preventing the takeover of the Falkland Islands and the capture of the invasion force. Additionally, he accomplished it with only one wounded, himself, among his soldiers, the Falklanders or the Argentineans. No official mention was made about his anticipation of the need for the SAS in the Falklands or how he was able to get his troops there undetected.
Hans Schmitt and his family moved to the United States. Though no one in the military could find fault with what he did, his superiors had made it plain that his resignation was required.
A week after leaving the hospital, Will submitted his resignation. General Stewart and the next two levels of command tried to talk him out of resigning. He told them that with his fifth child on the way, he had decided to take his father-in-law’s offer of a job. He wanted to be able to spend more time with his family.
Privately he told Larry Stewart a little more.
“Larry, I promised Leslie that in return for the use of the Thuringowa that I would go to work for her father. She would have talked her father into it either way but it is time that we moved there. Just as Alice saw what was going to happen in the Falklands, she saw my family in Australia. It is important that my family be there.”
“What did Alice’s dreams show her?” Larry was one of the very few that had been told about Alice’s dreams. He had had to know in case she had had a new one that would have required a change in what Will needed to do in the Falklands.
“That we are not ready to say, but when you are ready to retire, I could use your help.
Townsville Sun, Queensland, Australia, September 25, 1982
A baby boy, Robert Jesse Maclaren, was born to Leslie Macphater Maclaren and William Maclaren at their home on Thursday. He joins his two brothers, William and Ian, and sisters, Brenda and Mary. He is the twenty-third grandchild for Ian and Brenda Macphater. …