SAILORS who risked their lives on HMS Ledbury during the Falklands conflict have still not received the recognition they deserve, according to a retired radio operator who served aboard the minesweeper.

Ian McVitie believes the criteria should be changed for the awarding of the South Atlantic Medal to incorporate those who worked to clear the dangerous waters of mines and other debris following the Argentine surrender.

The Ledbury set off from Rosyth, Dunfermline, on May 15, 1982, and proceeded to play a vital part in the clean-up operation.

Mr Mcvitie, who retired from the Royal Navy in 2004 having achieved the rank of Leading Radio Operator, said: “We located and marked the wrecks of the Coventry, the Ardent and the Antelope and disposed of unexploded bombs. Sea lanes were made safe and divers working in the freezing cold and murky waters had many grisly and dangerous jobs. There was still a threat of attack when we were doing operations down there in July and August because the Argentine government still claimed sovereignty of the islands.”

The South Atlantic Medal, without the rosette, is awarded for 30 days continuous or accumulated service in the region between April 2 and June 14, 1982. Almost 30,000 have been issued in the 27 years since the conflict, but Mr McVitie and those serving on the HMS Ledbury, HMS St Helena and HMS Brecon were not eligible as they had not served the full requirement.

He has written letters to, among others, the Prime Minister, and the Queen’s personal secretary, as well as Members of Parliament Dr Liam Fox, Andrew Murrison and Bob Russell.

He said: “Hopefully these official letters will set the wheels in motion for something to be done. Even because we arrived just after the surrender does not make any difference.”

A petition started by Mr McVitie can be found at