A WIDOW has made an emotional trip to the Falklands Islands to retrace her husband's final movements before he was killed in the 1982 war.

The experience has enabled Jay Hyrons, who married Lance Cpl Gary Bingley after a whirlwind romance 41 years ago, conquer her demons.

It was love at first sight when the two 19-year-olds' eyes met in the former Three Tuns pub, in Tancred Street, Taunton, where Jay worked as a part-time barmaid to supplement her wages working from the pay office at Jellalabad Barracks.

Jay, who had attended Bishop Fox's Grammar School for girls, in Kingston Road, and Gary, who was on leave from a tour of Northern Ireland at the time, married at Taunton Register Office less than five months later in July 1977.

Somerset County Gazette:

Gary and Jay on their wedding day at Taunton Register Office.

The couple, who had only seen each other for a total of three weeks due to his Army commitments, enjoyed a brief honeymoon in Stockton-on-Tees before Gary rejoined his regiment.

As an Army wife, Jay got to see more of her husband over the ensuing years until he was called up with the Second Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, to fight following the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands in 1982.

Somerset County Gazette:

Gary Bingley while serving in Northern Ireland.

Gary was killed heroically leading his section in D-Company at the Battle of Goose Green, on May 28 - he was later posthumously awarded the Military Medal.

"The saddest thing about him dying when he did was that after we'd got married the way we did, we wanted a proper church ceremony and had planned a blessing on our fifth anniversary," said Jay, who lives in London,. "The war broke out and we never got to do it.

"The after the war, I had another fight to get the Ministry of Defence to repatriate Gary's body as I'd promised him he'd be cremated if anything happened to him."

Gary's ashes are now buried in a military cemetery in Aldershot.

Somerset County Gazette:

Jay at Gary's grave in Aldershot.

Jay, now 60, who is considering retiring to Taunton in the near future, said: "Gary was amazing. He was always upbeat, cracking jokes to keep people's spirits up.

"There's never a good way to lose your husband, but visiting the Falklands has made me realise that perhaps this way was better than most after seeing how much people there have done with their freedoms people like Gary fought for.

"I had so many emotions in the Falklands. I followed Gary's last footsteps from Sussex Mountain to Goose Green. It was very healing and helped me conquer some of my demons."

Jay, who has suffered post traumatic stress disorder since Gary's death, now works tirelessly to raise funds for The Falklands Veterans Foundation and Combat Stress.