Face of the Falklands War dies

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A Southside civil servant who became the face of the Falklands War, has died at the age of 82.

Ian McDonald conducted on-screen briefings during the 1982 conflict, updating the nation on losses and victories in the South Atlantic.

He became such a pin-up with the ladies that the bachelor was stalked by a woman from the north of England for two years.

She would insist on sitting next to him on the London Underground and wrote him impassioned letters.

‘Alternative’ TV presenter Janet Street-Porter later admitted:”I really fancied him.

“He was so restrained and controlled and the way he put no emotion in his voice.”

The mild-mannered mandarin was plucked from the ranks of the Ministry of Defence for his boring voice.

As a child, he attended Battlefield Primary School before going on to the High School of Glasgow.

In April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dispatched a Task Force to re-take British soil.

Sir Frank Cooper, the permanent under secretary, told his bewildered subordinate:”Ian, you have to make these announcements on television. There is the chair.”

McDonald later admitted:”I was terrified.”

By modern-day standards, his presentation seems pretty basic, with McDonald often standing in front of a map, wielding a teacher’s pointer.

His tone was never more solemn than his announcement on live television on May 4, 1982, informing the nation of a devastating loss at sea

He said, funeral-like: “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 Argentinian 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.”

At this point McDonald bit his lip. He then resumed: “But we have no details yet. Next of kin will be informed first, as soon as details have been received.”

Even the Imperial War Museum Collection in London holds an image of him, caricatured between an olive branch and a high-velocity bullet.

Ian McDonald was born in the Battlefield / Langside area in 1936, the son of a fish merchant.

He never married and had no children.

McDonald died of pneumonia on March 28, aged 82.