Monoray lands ex-Paratrooper O'Connell's Falklands 'masterpiece'

Monoray lands ex-Paratrooper O'Connell's Falklands 'masterpiece'

Octopus imprint Monoray has acquired “masterpiece of oral history” 3 Days in June, the minute-by-minute retelling of the battle of Mount Longdon in the Falklands War by former Paratrooper James O’Connell.

Publisher Jake Lingwood acquired world publishing and dramatic rights from the author, for release in hardback on 3rd June 2021.

With the 40th anniversary of the Falkland’s War on the horizon in 2022, Monoray will publish the “extraordinary account of the bloodiest battle of the Falklands War, retold in breathtaking detail by the men who were there”. To write the book, its author visited the Falklands five times in recent years and, with his former colleagues, walked through the battle, step by step.

The publisher explained: “Re-creating the battle from multiple angles, James O'Connell — who fought there and was badly wounded — has been frustrated by highly inaccurate books about Mount Longdon. His response is to write a gut-wrenching, 360-degree classic. He even has contributions and support from Argentine soldiers, who were happy to take part in the project and also share their experiences. Combined with rare access to the Battalion's records and radio logs, this is the last word on Mount Longdon – a battle that has received far less attention than other battles, but is without doubt the bloodiest fought in the campaign.”

O'Connell enlisted in the Parachute Regiment in 1979. In April 1982, after a posting in Cold War Germany and a tour of Northern Ireland, the call came to take part in the British Task Force to re-capture the Falklands. During the attack on Mount Longdon, he was shot in the face. A bullet passed through his nose, destroying his right eye, cheekbone and front teeth. Though he survived, five years of reconstructive surgery followed, and he left the Army in 1985 as a result of his injuries.

Following the conflict, transition to civilian life was a difficult and the author suffered from what was likely undiagnosed PTSD. Since 2014, he has helped with the campaign to get a posthumous gallantry medal for Cpl Stewart McLaughlin and was instrumental in getting a memorial erected on Mount Longdon on the exact location where Sgt Ian McKay was killed winning a posthumous Victoria Cross.

He commented: “Many years have passed since those fateful days in June 1982, but for those involved it can be like yesterday, please bear witness to the most personal memories from the men of 3 Para, Class of 1982.”

Lingwood added: “I have never come across an oral history of a battle that is so vivid, heartstopping and frankly, at times, terrifying as 3 Days In June. Jimmy has done a remarkable, granular job of re-creating the fighting, and it is without doubt the nearest you will ever get to being in the thick of battle yourself."