At the age of 18 years Mike joined the British Army in 1965. He entered number 17 Training Regiment, Royal Artillery.
In 1966 he applied for and passed the Commando selection earning his green beret. He went on to serve with 29 Commando Regiment.
Not happy with attaining his green beret, Mike went onto pass selection for the Special Air Service, unusually at the time only aged 21.
He served with the Regiment in Brunei, Malaysia, Cyprus and the Middle East. During this time he was promoted to full corporal.
In 1973, following his successful passing out on officer training at Sandhurst, he was commissioned and posted to 2 PARA where he served as Mortar Platoon Commander and the Intelligence Officer in both BAOR and Northern Ireland.
Following a short successful stint as a Staff Officer he was given command of his own Company in 3 P ARA .
MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES
In 1981 whilst in Northern Ireland Mike was mentioned in despatches for his work in Intelligence gathering.
On the 1 st of May 1982, a month after the Argentines invaded the Falkland Islands, the first ships of the Task Force arrived with their load of British troops to recapture the islands. The main contingent landed at San Carlos on the northwest side of East Falkland.
On the evening of the 11 th of June 1982, 3 Commando Brigades task was to launch a series of operations, one of which fell to 3 PARA, and the famous attack on Mount Longdon at the western end of the ridge overlooking Port Stanley.
Mike Argue was the OC of B Company 3 PARA and given the task of taking on the well prepared Argentine fire positions and obstacles that came with a well prepared defensive position, and the fire power that they had massed including 120 mm mortars. They were also tasked with destroying the Argentine key command and support elements located there.
That particular night was a moonlit night, combined together with, freezing sleet and rain. On their advance to the start line they encountered many obstacles including a mine field and heavy going in boggy moorland.
The Argentines had been dug in to the rocky crags at the top of the mountain in Battalion strength, supported by artillery.
Shortly after 9pm, a lad from 3 PARA found one of the anti personnel mines laid in the path of any would be attackers. He was seriously wounded, but the initiative was now lost.
B Company came under a fierce barrage of machine gun fire on fixed axis, forcing the Company to take some refuge they believed in rocky gullies. This proved to be a costly decision when the defenders found they could easily throw grenades into the gathered throng.
The Argentine troops dug in there, proved to be a formidable foe, and the advance dangerously faltered at this point.
The enemy emplacements were extremely hard to identify and many rounds were coming in from the flanks and the rear of the Company.
The defenders also had snipers equipped with night vision equipment which, along with effective machine gun and mortar fire took its toll on the Companies strength. This is then, what we, the Regiment, find the most exhilarating…odds heavily stacked against us!!
It was at this critical point in the battle that Sergeant Ian McKay led a ferocious charge across open ground to clear a number of enemy bunkers causing havoc with their machine guns. It was an attack on one of the many bunkers that Ian was sadly killed, but for his valour he was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
This selfless attack broke the morale of many of the Argentine soldiers and the positions they held, as the Company moved ever eastwards across the objective.
B Company sustained considerable losses. At one stage of the heavy fighting, Navy support was called in to try to knock out some of the bunkers obstructing the advance.
This proved to be very difficult, as the fall of shot was hard to recognise in the melee.
By 3 am the next morning B Company was reduced to less than half its original strength, and was finally pulled back to the western side of Longdon, with
A Company continuing the pressure of the attack on the well defended positions.
This action on Longdon lasted a total of 10 hours, considered some of the fiercest fighting of the campaign.
This action won Mike the Military Cross for his leadership, tenacity and bravery.
Those that knew the man, and stood beside him in those hours of overwhelming odds, knew that he had truly earned this award.
After the Falklands Campaign Mike was posted to Beirut as the Assistant Defence Attache with responsibilities for Damascus as part of his remit. He had become very experienced in the workings of the Arab world and was invaluable in this role.
He was later in 1985 posted to the Oman, and took up the post as 2IC of the Sultan of Oman’s Parachute Regiment.
He was rightly made an MBE in 1986 for his services to the Oman.
15 (V) PARA
In 1989, Mike was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and placed in command of 15 (Scottish Volunteers) PARA. Many that served under Mike in those days, have fond memories of his humour and common sense, and the will to get things done!
Mike was posted to the British Military Mission in Saudi Arabia, during which time he became the advisor to Brigade at the commencement of hostilities in the first Gulf War.
Following the war he moved to Abu Dhabi as SO1 training to set up a non commissioned Officer school with his vast experience in the Arab world.
In 1997 he moved to Rabat in Morocco where I had the pleasure to meet him personally in his post as Defence Attache, whilst I was on a UK Police secondment as part of DESO. He had made a massive influence on the region and was highly respected as a leader of men and a great ambassador to his country which he loved dearly.
By this time he was fluent in French and Arabic, and proved to be a great asset to the French speaking country, providing valuable assistance to his peers at the Embassy as well.
Mike retired from the Army in 2002 and settled down in Bromham near Devises in Wiltshire. He became the commercial Director of the Stirling Group until his untimely death on the 20 th of July 2006.
Mike was admired by many of his friends and colleagues alike. He was a man of physical and moral courage which showed through so many times in his Military career on the battlefield and the years that followed.
He will be sadly missed by all, and it is only right and proper that this man, should take his place in the Famous Faces section as a fine officer and soldier of our Regiment, especially in this the 25 th Anniversary year of the Falklands War..
Written and compiled by Gil Boyd B.E.M (Ex 2 PARA)
Lt. Col. Mike Argue MBD, MC
MICHAEL HUGH ARGUE MBE, MC
Born: 1 st March 1947 at Acomb near York
School: Penwortham County Secondary Modern School
Employment: Farm Labourer then a