Falklands

'Voice Of Falklands War' Ian McDonald Remembered

Ian McDonald became renowned for his restrained, and at times emotionless, style of delivery.

The so-called "voice of the Falklands War", Ian McDonald, has died aged 82.

Mr McDonald was born and raised in Glasgow and was conscripted into the British Army as an interpreter based in Cyprus.

However, he only spoke ancient Greek rather than the modern variant.

After discharging from the Army, Mr McDonald briefly returned to Scotland where he worked with a law firm.

But after that career did not work out either, he left for Pakistan where he taught for a year.

Harrier GR3 taking off from Port Stanley during Falklands War
A Harrier GR3 taking off from Port Stanley in 1982 during the Falklands War (Picture: Crown Copyright).

On his return to the UK, his career in politics started to get underway.

He began as a civil servant, before moving up the ranks to become the Ministry of Defence spokesman during the Falklands War, when he provided televised updates as British forces recaptured the islands from Argentina.

During the three-month conflict, Mr McDonald became renowned for his restrained, and at times emotionless, style of delivery.

Archive footage by Forces News, at the time known as BFBS, shows Mr McDonald, in his typical monotone, announcing that British forces had taken Darwin in the Falklands:

"We have just learned that the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment," Mr McDonald said slowly, before he paused, and added, "has taken Darwin and Goose Green."

Mr McDonald was one of the few avenues of information throughout the conflict with reporters only able to report audio over satellite phones.

2 PARA Ferry NORLAND San Carlos Falkland Islands Falklands Conflict 20 May 1982 Credit Imperial War Museum
British forces recaptured the Falklands Islands from Argentina on 14 June 1982 (Picture: Imperial War Museum).

Due to the remoteness of the Falklands, it would take three weeks to return any film footage from the South Atlantic to the UK.

Tapes had to be shipped to the Ascension Island 6,000 kilometres away before being flown back to the UK.

Mr McDonald later admitted his emotionless style of delivery was deliberate, as he felt it could lessen the impact of any bad news.

He said: "I knew right from the start there would be bad news as well as good news, which is why the delivery I chose was drained of all emotion with no adjectives, short and truthful.

"I thought this was the kind of vehicle which could give bad news as well as good news."

Mr McDonald never married or had children and died of pneumonia on 28 March.