PARAS 2 Keeble, Christopher Patrick Benedict

John Robertson

Staff member
Christopher Patrick Benedict
  • UNIT
2 Para (2-in-C)
  • RANK
Distinguished Service Order
Falklands 1982
from Maddington, Wiltshire
age 40
London Gazette 49134, 8th October 1982, Page 12844


Distinguished Service Order : In the early hours of 28th May 1982, the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, of which Major Keeble was Second-in-Command, launched an attack on enemy positions in the area of the Darwin and Goose Green settlements on the Island of East Falkland. The enemy were thought to be entrenched in battalion strength. In the event they proved to be in far greater numbers, sited in depth with mutually supporting positions. At one stage the attack was held up by a number of well-sited enemy machine gun positions and almost foundered. It was retrieved by the personal action of the Commanding Officer, who was killed at that time.

The loss of a Commanding Officer at such a crucial stage of the battle, when the outcome was uncertain, could have had a devasting effect upon the Battalion. However the speed and decisiveness with which Major Keeble assumed command and pressed forward with the attack was such that the Battalion gained renewed vigour and determination and drove the enemy from their positions. It was a display of leadership, tactical skill and determination of the highest order.

On several other occasions in the battle, which lasted some 36 hours, the outcome hung in the balance. Supporting fire from the two 81 mm Mortars and three 10S mm Guns, which was all that was available, was insufficient to neutralise enemy positions. Inspired by Major Keeble, the fighting spirit of the Battalion carried the day and by nightfall the enemy had been fought to a standstill and were confined to a small salient.

During the night and following morning Major Keeble, never loosening his grip on the battlefield, skilfully conducted negotiations for the release of the local inhabitants who were confined within the enemy position, and for the surrender of the entire enemy force, which numbered in excess of twice that of his own Battalion.

This remarkable victory, the first major encounter of the campaign on land, established a moral superiority over the enemy which was to affect all subsequent actions in the Falklands campaign.

Credit for this must fall to 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment and to the outstanding leadership displayed by Major Keeble at a moment of particular danger.

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