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Falklands medical officer who saved many in ‘red and green life machine’ mourned

UK News | Published:

Royal Navy medical officer Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly saved British and Argentinian lives.

Funeral of Srg Cdr Rick JollyThe funeral service for the late Surgeon Captain (Surg Capt) Rick Jolly OBE, who ran the Field Hospital during the Falklands conflict, took place at HMS Raleigh today (Saturday 10 February 2018).Around 550 mourners attended the service conducted by the Reverend Ralph Barber, Royal Navy Chaplain, and the Reverend David Cooper, who was the Chaplain to 2 PARA during the Falklands conflict and is the Chaplain to the South Atlantic Medal Association.The mourners included Surg Capt Jolly’s wife, Susie, other family, neighbours and friends together with friends and former colleagues that he served with throughout his Service career and during the Falklands conflict. The eulogy was given by Surg Capt Jolly’s long-standing friend Dr Richard Page, who trained with him at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.Other attendees included Senator Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisamo, the Argentine Ambassador, Group Captain Fernando Luis Mengo, the Argentine Defence Attaché, Mrs Sukey Pullen, representing the Falklands Islands government and Commodore Inga Kennedy, the Head of the Royal Navy Medical Service.Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly’s coffin being carried by men who served alongside him (LPhot Ken Gaunt/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown copyright/PA)

Hundreds of mourners have attended the funeral of a former Royal Navy medical officer who saved the lives of British and Argentine troops during the Falklands War.

Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly OBE became known during the conflict for the success of his “red and green life machine” medical station in an old refrigeration compartment at Ajax Bay.

Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly (Stephen Kelly/PA)
Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly (Stephen Kelly/PA)

The mourners included Surg Capt Jolly’s wife Susie, along with other family members, friends, neighbours and former colleagues.

Nine former members of the Medical Squadron of the Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Marines – the squadron that Surg Capt Jolly headed up during the Falklands conflict – acted as pallbearers.

Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly’s coffin dressed with the Union flag, his medals, sword and green beret (LPhot Ken Gaunt/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown copyright/PA)
Surg Capt Rick Jolly’s coffin dressed with the Union flag, his medals, sword and green beret (LPhot Ken Gaunt/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown copyright/PA)

“It was a very difficult time for him, as he had a lot of responsibility, but he knew all our names.

“He came round to see us after particularly difficult days for a debrief and to give us a tot.

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Major General Julian Thompson, Admiral Sir James Perowne, Surgeon Vice Admiral Alasdair Walker and Argentinian ambassador Senator Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisamo attending Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly’s funeral service at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, Cornwall (LPhot Ken Gaunt/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown copyright/PA)
Major General Julian Thompson, Admiral Sir James Perowne, Surgeon Vice Admiral Alasdair Walker and Argentinian ambassador Senator Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisamo attending the funeral service in Cornwall (LPhot Ken Gaunt/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown copyright/PA)

“He referred to us as his steady men and it’s an honour to carry the boss on his last journey.”

The squadron provided the vast majority of medical support to UK land-based Royal Marines and Army battalions as well as ships in Falkland Sound and San Carlos Water.

Around 550 mourners attended Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly’s funeral service (LPhot Ken Gaunt/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown copyright/PA)
Around 550 mourners attended the service (LPhot Ken Gaunt/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown copyright/PA)

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“It was (the) early evening of May 21 1982 and little did I know that this was the day I was to come into contact with an amazing man, someone who would save my life and become a really good friend,” he said.

“Rick has had a significant impact on my life ever since the moment we met going up on a wire dangling from a helicopter.”

Major General Julian Thompson, who commanded 3 Commando Brigade in 1982, said: “Surg Capt Rick Jolly was in charge of the field hospital at Ajax Bay during the Falklands War of 1982.

Dr Richard Page giving the eulogy during Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly’s funeral service (LPhot Ken Gaunt/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown copyright/PA)
Dr Richard Page giving the eulogy (LPhot Ken Gaunt/Royal Navy/MoD/Crown copyright/PA)

“Awarded the OBE by Britain, he was the only person to be decorated by Argentina as well for his care of many wounded Argentines.

“Rick, an outstanding commando doctor, was a large, compassionate, ebullient man, a gifted mimic and raconteur. We will miss him very much.”

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