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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sod that for a game of soldeirs
A well written and heart-felt account of the events leading up to and during the Falklands War by someone who was there.

Mark (Tom) takes you through his upbringing with no punches pulled which culminates with him joining the Junior Paras at aged 17. Not old enough to drink, vote, or watch an adult movie, Mark joins the world of men and provides a good insight...
Published on 3 July 2007 by Mr. A. Mallard

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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How things change!
I was looking forward to reading this book as I have served with a couple of lads from both 2 & 3 Para who fought in the Falklands and have worked with many other Paras in more recent years.
The book started off pretty dull about his life at school but soon got on track once he decided to join the Army, the story of life in the Army, his trip down south and what...
Published on 6 Oct 2008 by Filbert Fox


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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sod that for a game of soldeirs, 3 July 2007
By 
Mr. A. Mallard (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
A well written and heart-felt account of the events leading up to and during the Falklands War by someone who was there.

Mark (Tom) takes you through his upbringing with no punches pulled which culminates with him joining the Junior Paras at aged 17. Not old enough to drink, vote, or watch an adult movie, Mark joins the world of men and provides a good insight into the hardships which are faced by any aspiring Para.

From September 1981, to April 1982 he develops as a paratrooper, becoming a "Crow" with 3 Para. With his friends: Ian Scrivens, Neil Gross and Jason Burt (all 17) he finds himself in one of the hardest battles since Korea - The Battle for Mount Longdon.

Mark takes you with him through the TAB across east island into the battle and paints a very grim and emotionally taxing account of what war really is alongside such well known members of 4 Platoon such as Sgt Ian Mackay VC. As they charge through withering fire on Mount Longdon, he loses one of his close friends soon after breaking cover, but by the end of the day he will have suffered further loss. As Major Chris Keeble of 2 Para describes his experiences, it is "gutter fighting".

It is unlikely that you will fail to be moved by this account

It's a thoroughly absorbing account and an opportunity to pay our respects to the young me that fought and died on those distant islands.

Highly recommended.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sod that, real story-real life., 13 Feb 2008
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
I feel i have to write in a retort to Jayetee's reveiw. The comments about the authour being rude and abusive, although being his/her personnel opinion should not stand.
I have recently laid the book down after what i can describe as one of the most moving accounts that i have ever digested.
Mark Eyles-Thomas served with the Parachute Regiment, calling all other members of the armed forces who did not earn the Maroon beret as HATS, is what is best described as banter, mickey taking and having a massive sense of self pride. What the Paras and other elite units do is not normal, these people are close, because of what they are asked to do; by people sat in their living rooms and cosy offices. Is the reviewer so naive as to think those HATS do not have their own colourful language to describe those who call them HATS?
I can give this informed statement, as i served as a Hat for nearly ten years, i am immensley proud of my military sevice, like Mark i joined the Army as a sixteen year old, and also lost a friend during operations in Bosnia.
People should not be put off from reading this book because of Marks description of non Paras, Mark tells it like it is, sometimes people tell you the truth can hurt, read the book and understand that this is about normal young men asked to do a very abnormal job, its consequences and what makes our British Army the best on the planet.
You will not be disapointed
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real eye opener, 9 Mar 2009
By 
William Stuart (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
With so many positive reviews there should be little reason for anyone to doubt this book is essential reading. Mark's story is compelling and I'm not ashamed to admit it moved me to tears on more than one occasion.

In response to some of the less positive comments, the point has to be made that the author makes it quite clear in the preface that he is telling it exactly as he lived it, because to dress his experiences in a sugary coating would be a gross disservice to those friends he left behind. The constant disparaging references to "hats" may seem offensive to some readers but don't be so quick to judge. For generations, the British army has used regimental pride as a key motivator to great effect. The author simply bought into the Paras particularly enthusiastic implementation of that system and if he still feels so passionately 25 years later then he's earned that right, in my opinion.

For me the book was riddled with insight and was very thought provoking. In some cases the author makes quite clear the point he is trying to get across but much of the time he simply presents his evidence and relies on the reader to actually think about what was going on. The opening paragraphs are a very good example of that. One reviewer has described them as "pretty dull" and yet for me they are essential to the story as they expose the factors that contributed to Mark's decision to enlist at the earliest opportunity. There was nothing all that remarkable or extraordinary about his upbringing. No abuse, deprivation or malicious neglect. Like so many kids, he quietly suffered the adverse effects of parental separation and a father incapable of forging a proper emotional bond with his son. It's little wonder that he saw in the Regiment a much needed sense of belonging and self-worth that had previously been missing from his life. I think, sadly, too many parents would have to admit there but for the grace of God go mine.

The main section of the book, centred around the fight for Mount Longdon, is a truly harrowing account of the grim realities of war. We are left in no doubt as to the effects such an experience had on the author, only seventeen years old at the time. As a father with sons around that age I can't begin to imagine them having to deal with such stress and trauma, yet who am I to hope my children might stand aside whilst others step up to the mark? It raises very serious questions about minimum combat age and I have to admit I had not given that particular issue enough consideration, until now.

Questions also have to be asked about many of the strategic and tactical decisions that were made by those in charge. The multi-day forced march in near arctic conditions, one of several, was a staggering achievement and became the stuff of legend overnight, introducing words like tab and yomping into the common vocabulary. But was it wise, or necessary, to force those men to undertake such a daunting challenge without the benefit of their sleep systems or even a change of clothing? Why weren't the enemy positions on Longdon subjected to a sustained artillery barrage prior to the attack? Was the hope that the paras could somehow take the enemy by surprise based on sound military judgment or just misplaced officer ego? What about the decision to attack a heavily entrenched position, complete with heavy machine guns, using tactics "not dissimilar to those seen in the battles of the first world war?"

Even after the war had ended there are many questions to be answered. Not least where was the support for those men who had given so much of themselves? Where was the support for the families of those who were killed or injured? These men were heroes and deserved so much better.

One would like to think lessons have been learned and things have improved but with constant reports of kit shortages and of charities battling to fill gaps in the inadequate support systems provided by HMG & MOD it seems, sadly, very little has.

I apologise if this review was overly long but, as I said earlier, this is an extremely thought provoking book. Buy it. Read it.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll find my way home!!, 3 July 2007
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
A truly moving & courageous account of a young Para's experiences during the Falklands War including the battle for Mount Longdon. The style is candid & compelling. The book deals with some very difficult subject areas including close quarter fighting, combat aftermath & reconciliation.

A must to read. A small price to pay indeed is Remembrance. Our armed forces must never be taken for granted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality of War, 4 July 2007
By 
Oldoneegg "Egg" (Worcestershire UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
A must read for anyone who wants to understand what it means to go to war and loose those close to you.
The hard reality of the battle and the underlying politics of the return.
A terrific insight from a man who was so young at the time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic account from someone that was there!, 18 Jan 2009
By 
J. Bishop (Germany) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
This book definitely brings home a true account of heartache and pain accompanied with war. Seen through the eyes of a 17 year old paratrooper whose not old enough to be deployed to Northern Ireland yet eligible to fight in war!
Within a few days of stepping foot on the Falkland Islands Mark Eyles-Thomas is up to his neck in the heat of battle. Three of his closest friends were killed during the battle of Mount Longdon. Each of them sent to war with the same age tag as he.

Marks story is gripping to say the least and without doubt an excellent read from start to finish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 21 Jan 2008
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
Excellent read.
Forget the history books,this book brings home the true reality of the Falklands War as experienced by the young soldiers of 3 Para.
It brings home the true horrors and emotions of warfare.
A must read for all.
Thanks Mark for telling your story and helping us remember those who gave thier lives and those who still suffer today.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Remarkable Book, 6 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
If you, like me, have wanted to become a soldier and not been allowed due to an assortment of so called problems that the Army decided to put in your way to stop your entry into the armed forces at the early age of sixteen, then you, like me, will have always been interested in reading and learning about life in the armed forces; what it really would or could have been like if you had joined all those years before.

Likewise, if you, like me at the age of twenty, saw the unfolding events of the Falklands campaign on the television and just wished you were there with the lads that actually went, then you can do no better than read Mark Eyles-Thomas' account of life in 3 Para as they trained and prepared to take Mount Longdon prior to entering Stanley to recapture what had been taken from the islanders.

Entitled `Sod that - For a Game of Soldiers' this book tells in such an honest and yet endearing way the journey of one young man as he entered the Parachute Regiment and met three young men who would become very close friends. As is always the case with such friendships, they are never forgotten and create a bond that lasts for eternity, a bond that not even death can break.

So, at the age of forty six, with news of the twenty fifth anniversary of the campaign fresh in our minds, I listened to a radio 2 interview with Jeremy Vine and was moved to buy the book in order to share something with the author, even though I could not stand beside these friends in battle. I still do not know what it was that made me buy the book but I will be eternally grateful to Mark Eyles-Thomas that I did.

You see, it is a book that has to be read by everyone, regardless of their political position in life, regardless of whether they are anti war or pro war and regardless of their faith in this dangerous world we live in. When you read, you will be introduced to characters that simply could not be created in works of literature; larger than life comrades that would eventually shape the outlook Eyles-Thomas has. You will laugh out loud at the behaviour of this band of brothers [and one in particular at Greenham Common] and cry with the author when you read of their deaths and military burials. I did and I defy anyone not to be moved to tears at these points. Trying to explain to your boss after lunch why big lumps of tears are on your face is not easy, so be careful to read it at work!!

In essence, this is a truly remarkable book that like most books, can be read in so many different ways, but what I see is a lasting testimony to the bravery of the men, young and old, who went thousands of miles to fight for the freedom of such a few. It does not matter whether you think it was all worth it - just read and see the cold reality of warfare and the effect it has on modern lives. Read and see why I now thank God that I was not there and why I choose to use the words of this book in Remembrance Day services that I conduct.

The Falklands campaign should never be forgotten in any way and after you have read this book, I am sure you will be left with a deep sense of gratitude for what these men gave of themselves.

`Lest we forget.'

Robert Johnson
July 2007
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swept Away, 15 Dec 2007
By 
Mrs. A J. Connery "Mrs. Shoe" (Cambridgeshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
Being married to a Falklands vet', I have read many books on soldiers' experiences of the Falklands War. This one just blew me away. I have been glued to the sofa all afternoon and evening reading it in a oner. I have giggled at the antics of a young boy and sobbed at the grief experienced by a terrified young man. Easy to read and adept at conveying the incredible tummult of emotions felt by a combat soldier. If you read no other book about the Falklands war - read this one.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sod That For A Game Of Soldiers, 22 Jun 2007
This review is from: Sod That for a Game of Soldiers (Paperback)
Having read this book with interest I found it to be an open honest account of one soldiers personal story.To have lived with these memories from such an early age must be horrific.You get an idea of him as a young boy where you laugh at the antics and then the transformation into a young man who serves his country with pride.The obvious compassion for his friends brought tears to my eyes.Don't expect a masterpiece but what you do get is an honest and sincere account of one very young persons war.
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Sod That for a Game of Soldiers
Sod That for a Game of Soldiers by Mark Eyles-Thomas (Paperback - 1 Jun 2007)
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