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Ian McDonald: face of the Falklands

By Brendan Cole

Updated on 01 February 2007

The Ministry of Defence spokesman Ian McDonald made some of the key announcements about the Falklands War to the world's media.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Defence Ian McDonald became a memorable figure during the Falklands conflict.

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In a conflict whose media coverage was tightly controlled, his press conferences at the MOD headquarters in London had the nation on the edge of its seat for news of the campaign.

He became known for his steady and deliberate delivery of news with his remarkable speaking voice, and was known familiarly by the press as the warm-up man for the "Lutine" bell.

However for many, the problem was that as a civil servant, he saw his first duty as to Ministers, so the job of that part of the public relations staff was purely to serve Ministers and their policy.

'When there was no longer any hope of saving the ship, the ship's company abandoned ship.'
Ian McDonald announces the attack on the HMS Sheffield

Eventually he had to be rescued by bringing military men in to be the spokesmen and give explanations. That happened after the first battle of Goose Green, and then right on to the end.

When announcing the attack on the HMS Sheffield, he said: "In the course of its duties within the Total Exclusion Zone around the Falkland Islands, HMS Sheffield, a type 42 destroyer, was attacked and hit late this afternoon by an Argentine missile.

"The ship caught fire, which spread out of control. When there was no longer any hope of saving the ship, the ship's company abandoned ship. All who abandoned her were picked up."

Video archive: Ian McDonald

Watch Ian McDonald's press conference where he announced the attack on the HMS Sheffield and the sinking of the Belgrano.

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