Lt Col Mike Argue MC


Roll of Honour: 
Mike Argue MC
1 March 1947 - 20 July 2006

Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Argue, who has died aged 59, won an MC in the battle for 
Mount Longdon during the Falklands campaign.

Mike Argue

On May 1 1982, a month after Argentine forces had invaded the islands, the first British troops arrived; and, three weeks later, some 4,000 reinforcements landed at San Carlos on the north-west coast of East Falkland. The western end of the ridge that forms the north side of the valley in which Port Stanley lies is dominated by Mount Longdon; and, from this position, the Argentine defenders were able to provide supporting fire on to important strategic features nearby.

On the night of June 11, 3 Commando Brigade launched two other major operations, for which it was essential that they gain possession of the mountain. Argue, a major in command of B Company, 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, was given the task of seizing the rocky, fortress-like summit, and destroying key command and support weapon positions as well as silencing the 120mm mortars.

The night was moonlit and bitterly cold, with freezing rain and sleet. Argue's company had to negotiate awkward water obstacles and cross open ground and moorland that was known to have been mined.

The Argentines were dug into the rocks in battalion strength along the top of the mountain and had considerable artillery support.

Shortly after 9pm a soldier stepped on an anti-personnel mine, severely injuring his leg and alerting the enemy. The company then came under harassing fire from machine guns operating on fixed lines and, as they gained a foothold on the mountain, the British were forced into narrow, rocky gullies down which the defenders were able to hurl grenades.

The Argentine forces proved formidable opponents, and the company's advance was slow, hazardous and costly. Positions believed to have been cleared of enemy burst into life with fire as heavy as ever.

Snipers equipped with passive night sights impeded attempts at flanking movements and machine-gun and mortar fire was heavy and sustained. At a critical point in the battle, when 4 Platoon was pinned down, Sergeant Ian McKay led a charge across open ground to clear a number of bunkers and silence an elevated medium machine gun. He was awarded a posthumous VC.

The company took considerable losses as it moved eastwards along the objective. Attempts to use naval gunfire to eliminate individual targets proved difficult because the terrain sometimes made it impossible to observe the fall of shot. An outflanking movement by two platoons ran into intense machine-gun fire, and brought further casualties. By 3am B Company was reduced to less than half its strength and was pulled back to the western end of Mount Longdon, allowing A Company to move through them.

In a series of fierce, close-quarter actions against heavily-defended positions, A Company cleared the feature of the enemy. After an action lasting more than 10 hours, Mount Longdon was back in British hands. Argue was awarded an MC.

Michael Hugh Argue was born at Acomb, York, on March 1 1947 and educated at Penwortham County Secondary School, Preston, Lancashire. After working as a farm labourer and a steel erector, he joined 17 Training Regiment in 1965 and was awarded his green beret the following year.

He served with 29 Commando Regiment, RA, and then on permanent attachment to 22 Special Air Service Regiment in Cyprus, the Middle East, Malaysia and Brunei. After attending an officers' training course at Sandhurst, in 1973 he was commissioned and posted to 2nd Parachute Battalion and served in Northern Ireland and BAOR.

Argue completed another tour in Northern Ireland with 3 Para and was mentioned in dispatches in 1981. A good Arabist, after the Falklands campaign he moved to Beirut as assistant defence attaché and was then posted to Oman as second-in-command of the Sultan of Oman's Parachute Regiment. He was appointed MBE in 1986.

Argue was promoted lieutenant-colonel in 1989 upon taking command of 15 (Scottish Volunteers) Parachute Battalion. A posting to Saudi Arabia with the British Military Mission was followed by two years in Abu Dhabi as SO1 Training.

In 1997 Argue moved to Rabat, Morocco, as defence attaché. After retiring from the Army in 2002, he lived in a Wiltshire village and became commercial director of the Stirling Group, the security and risk management group, until his death on July 20.

Those who served with him remember him as quiet, professional, single-minded and very likeable. A member of many countryside and wildlife organisations, he enjoyed cross-country skiing and cooking.

Mike Argue married first, in 1968, Glynis Butt. He married secondly, in 1989, Marie Louise Sfeir, who predeceased him. He married thirdly, in 1991, Jane Wise, who survives him with a son and a daughter from his first marriage and two step-daughters.

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