|The 25th anniversary of the Falklands War.
Radio DJ - an unlikely hero of the Falklands invasion
By IAN GALLAGHER
18th March 2007
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Falklands invasion, how the first moments were caught on a remarkable tape recording.
James Last was on the turntable as the Argentinian soldiers burst in.
"Stop that racket and put those guns down,' I barked. They did just as they were told.
• Audio: Click here to listen to the moment the Governor of the Falklands told citizens that Argentinean war boats were heading for the islands
Sitting in his tiny radio studio, Patrick Watts heard the thud of soldiers' boots in the passage outside and took a deep breath.
James Last and his Orchestra were on the turntable and Mr Watts - headphones around his neck, a flask of tea at his side - had just finished eating a cheese-and-pickle sandwich.
The door opened and he was surrounded by six Argentinian soldiers who pointed their rifles at his back.
It was around 9am on April 2, 1982, and outside, in the hills around Port Stanley, the battle for the Falklands was just a few hours old.
Mr Watts had manned the station all night long, relaying events to the outside world.
"I knew they would come, and I had been feeling nervous.
But when the moment came, I was feeling rather bullish,' he recalled.
"The captain spoke good English and was quite friendly, but the others were shouting at each other and waving their guns about."
Such was Mr Watts's indignance, he summoned up a bulldog spirit he didn't know he possessed - and made a lion-hearted stand while live on air.
"I told them it was my studio and I couldn't broadcast with guns pointing at my back,' he said.
"I also told them I couldn't broadcast while they were making such a racket.
"And for good measure I said I didn't allow people to smoke in the studio."
To Mr Watts's surprise, the soldiers stopped shouting, laid down their guns and put out their cigarettes.
Only then did he reluctantly agree to play their tapes of military music and instructions for the islanders.
His courage must have buoyed the spirits of his listeners: they had been glued to the radio all night and heard every word of the extraordinary exchange.
A Port Stanley woman who had been following every word from her kitchen even captured it on her tape recorder.
And last night on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the war, her recording - the only one made - was aired on BBC Radio 4 for the first time.
Now 62 and retired, Mr Watts, who ran the Falkland Islands Broadcasting Station for more than 30 years, scotches talk of heroism, saying it was 'soldiers who fought in freezing conditions up in the mountains who were the real heroes, not me'.
But he agreed that the episode recalls a bygone era of indomitable Dad's Army defiance.
It all began the day before when he went to Government House to see the Governor, Sir Rex Hunt, who showed him a Foreign Office telegram warning them to expect an invasion early in the morning and ending with the words: "You will wish to make your dispositions accordingly."
Mr Watts said: "Rex was quite calm and said he would have to put a message together for the islanders - to warn them but not frighten them too much.
When he finished writing it, I recorded it. I rushed back to the studio and it went out at 8.13pm."
The Governor had asked Mr Watts to keep broadcasting for as long as possible and he did just that.
While the islanders remained in their homes, and the 60 or so Royal Marines on the island prepared to try to repel the invaders, Mr Watts stayed in the studio.
Every so often the Governor called with an update and Mr Watts would simply hold up the phone receiver to his microphone and turn up the volume.
At around 4am the Governor said the invasion was expected around 6.30am.
In the first wave just 90 Argentinian soldiers came ashore and they were beaten back by the Marines, who killed one soldier and wounded several others.
"I don't think they expected to be met with such force, but that's the Marines for you.
Later on, I asked the Governor if he had surrendered and he replied, "I will never surrender to the bloody Argies".
"Lots of people were ringing in, the milkman said he could see an Argentinian flag flying at the airport - a decisive moment.
There was a call from a chap who was saying he could see the stars. His roof had been blown off by a shell."
Around 9am the soldiers arrived and he was forced to play the Argentinian national anthem before going home, exhausted, at 11am.
But he returned later that day and continued broadcasting through the war.
"We used to broadcast Dad's Army but the Argentinians were convinced it contained war messages."
On one occasion he got a vital message to the British.
"I let slip that the Argentinians were still using Port Stanley airport.