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‘I think of the boys who didn’t come back’
Buy this photo » JOB DONE: Falklands War veteran and now head of The Oratory School in South Oxfordshire, Clive Dytor MC and, below, Ewalton Samuels
FORMER Royal Marine commander Clive Dytor has joined other military men and women as part of a Remembrance Day art project.
Members of Didcot’s Health and Wellbeing Centre have helped shaped the project along with pupils from Didcot Girls’ School.
Mr Dytor joined the elite fighting force when he was 24 after graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in Arabic.
Just 18 months later he was commander of a team of 30 men in the Falklands War.
And he won the Military Cross in his part in the Battle of Two Sisters and helped defeat the Argentines, leading to their surrender.
The young lieutenant and his troop were trapped as they tried to capture the Two Sisters, a fiercely defended ridge.
Within minutes three marines were dead and another was seriously injured.
But what followed was an act of remarkable bravery that was to win Mr Dytor the Military Cross.
He charged towards the enemywith his marines, bayonets fixed. The marines of 8 Troop were able to capture a machine gun, the battle continuing for hours before Zulu Company was ordered to halt.
The assault had been part of an operation designed to break the Argentines’ will to fight.
He said: “A lot of the troops around us were dying and it was a last ditch attempt. I don’t like to think of it in any particularly heroic way; I was just doing my job.
“It is nothing to brag about. War is a horrible business.”
Mr Dytor, now 57 and a father-of-two, was asked to contribute a piece about his thoughts on the poppy, the symbol for remembrance.
He said: “I always think about the boys who didn’t come back from the Falklands, particularly that they are sons, brothers, husbands, lovers, human beings.”
After six years of service Mr Dytor returned to education, studying Theology at the University of Oxford. He has been headteacher of The Oratory School in Woodcote for the past 14 years.
Funded by Didcot Town Council and co-ordinated by Age UK Oxfordshire, the project has given the people of Didcot the opportunity to consider Remembrance Day.
It allowed groups of people from different age groups to come together to discuss their experience of the miltary, with stories stretching back to the Second World War.
It was unveiled last Tuesday, with Colonel Rayland of Didcot’s 11EOD Regiment and the Mayor of Didcot, Axel MacDonald, among the guests.
The work, which includes written pieces and art, will be on display until November 11.
It was the concept of Age UK community development worker Karen Thomas.
She said: “I am so proud that Didcot wanted to be part of this. What is striking is that when you read some of the pieces, people from across different generations say very similiar things.”
Ewalton Samuels, known as Sam, from Harwell, attended the exhibition. He served in the RAF between 1962 and 1967 having joined up when he came to England from Jamaica aged 20.
The 72-year-old said: “When I came to England there was not much really for me job-wise so I saw all these posters about joining the RAF and decided to join.
“I had to go to Bristol for a test and managed to pass.”
Mr Samuels worked as a teleprinter operator and was based first at RAF Stanbridge in Bedfordshire and then RAF Bridgnorth in Shropshire.
He was then sent to Singapore. He said: “I didn’t really see any action when I was in. It was interesting in Singapore though.”
The grandfather-of-three took photographs of himself in the RAF along to the exhibition to share with others. He said: “It was a really nice day and I got to meet a lot of other military blokes. We had lots to talk about.”