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

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

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)

Around 550 people attended his funeral service at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall on Saturday following his death last month aged 71.

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)

John Thurlow, a former Royal Marine, said: “We worked under Rick’s direction at Ajax Bay. He was a fabulous boss.

“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.

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)

“I believe he was the right man in the right place at the right time. We’ll miss him as a friend as well as a former boss.

“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)

Ken Enticknap was rescued by Surg Capt Jolly after the sinking of HMS Ardent.

“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)

“Here, in the ‘red and green life machine’, Rick Jolly and his staff treated more than 650 British and Argentine casualties, and carried out some 210 operations.

“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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