Airman who took part in Falklands raid coordinated from Doncaster sells medal for £8000

Signed pictures of the aircraft.
Signed pictures of the aircraft.
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The medal of a flight lieutenant - who took part in bombing raids during the Falklands War that were coordinated from Doncaster - has sold at auction for thousands of pounds.

Flight Lieutenant Mike Cooper played a crucial role in the famous Black Buck raids after Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982.

Mike's flight suit.

Mike's flight suit.

Displaying remarkable skill, he successfully aimed 1,000lb bombs from 16,000ft at Port Stanley Airfield destroying the runway so the enemy's air force could not use it.

Doncaster played a key role in the raids. RAF Finningley was a former base for the Vulcan bombers which led the raid and the operation was coordinated by military chiefs at Strike Command Headquarters based at RAF Bawtry.

Mr Cooper has now decided to sell his South Atlantic Medal along with operation maps and photos, navigation bag, command crew cloth badge, flying suit and a power switching control panel from a scrapped Vulcan.

The collection was sold for more than £10, 000 - including £8000 for the medal alone - at Thomson Roddick Auctioneers in Carlisle on Wednesday.

Mike Cooper, far right, with his crew.

Mike Cooper, far right, with his crew.

Mr Cooper, aged 71, who also lives in Carlisle but completed training at RAF Finningley, said he wanted to put them up for sale while he is still alive so that he could interact with the purchaser and answer any questions they have about the famous raid.

He said: "It is of interest to a lot of people so I wanted to be able to speak to the people that bought my medal.

"I know that I earned that medal so I don't need to have it, somebody else can now enjoy it."

Remembering the raids, he said: "The crew was summoned to the Squadron Commander's office and he said straight away how do you feel about seeing action in the South Atlantic.

"To a man we said we were happy to give it a go. I wasn't apprehensive because we had a job to do and we knew we could do it.

"It was so important we succeeded because if the Argentinians could have extended the runway for their fast jets to launch attacks from our ships in the South Atlantic would have been decimated."

Steven Parkinson, auctioneer at Thomson Roddick, said: 'Mike was one of the people who played an integral part in ending the conflict sooner, saving lives in the process.

'They were the best of the best and what the bomb navigators did required incredible skill."