Ipswich: Falklands hero ‘never got over war horrors’

Michael Wrather

Michael Wrather - Credit: Archant

A Falklands War veteran who died in a car crash in Ipswich last week never got over his experiences of the conflict as a teenager, his father said.

Michael Wrather is thought to be one of the youngest people to have served in the war and had his 18th birthday while serving.

The 49-year-old – dad to a nine-month-old son and a three-year-old daughter – suffered serious injuries when his Kia Sedona hit a tree in Congreve Road at about 4am on June 17. He died later that day in Ipswich Hospital.

Mr Wrather – known to many as Mike, or Ace – was a registered donor and his father, Murray, said up to seven people may have benefited from his organs.

Murray said his son had been struggling lately to come to terms with his experiences as a young man, but had opened up for the first time the day before the accident.

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He had sent a poem, called The Last Day, to members of his family in a text message over the weekend.

Murray said: “He went away with the Navy a boy but he came back a man. He would not talk anything about it. I would imagine what he saw was fairly horrific.

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“His ship was the one that didn’t turn bows – he spent his 18th birthday under fire. He never spoke anything about it to me until recently.”

He described his son, a former Westbourne High School pupil, as “quite a character” and a “sparkling lad” who had been an instructor for Ipswich Rider Training and was well known around the town.

Mr Wrather left the Navy and worked in demolition and as an engineer, but had suffered an injury that had prevented him from working for the past seven years.

He had also been a familiar face on the local rock music circuit and had worked as a roadie for several bands – some of which will be joining other friends to commemorate his life next month.

A memorial service will take place at the Seven Hills Crematorium at Nacton on July 12 from 10.30am, followed by a gathering at Trinity Park from about noon. All are welcome and those attending have been told to wear “what Michael would know you in”.

Donations can be made in memory of Mr Wrather to the Critical Care Unit at Ipswich Hospital.

Police want anyone who witnessed the accident to call the serious collision investigation team at Suffolk Police on 101.

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