Rick Jolly

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Rick Jolly
Nickname(s)"The Doc"
Born(1946-10-29)29 October 1946
Hong Kong
Died13 January 2018(2018-01-13) (aged 71)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
RankSurgeon Captain
UnitCommando Logistic Regiment Medical Squadron
Battles/warsFalklands War (Ajax Bay)
Oficial Orden de Mayo (Argentina)

Surgeon-Captain Richard Tadeusz Jolly OBE (29 October 1946 – 13 January 2018) was a Royal Navy medical officer who served in the 1982 Falklands War and was later decorated by both the British and Argentine governments for his distinguished conduct during the conflict. He went on to practise and give lectures to medical establishments on his experiences. He was a co-founder, with Denzil Connick, of the South Atlantic Medal Association formed in 1997.[1] He was also the only person to be decorated by both sides for his work in the Falklands War.


Jolly was educated at Stonyhurst College and subsequently studied Medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College (now Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry) in London, and qualified as a physician in 1969.[2] While working as a houseman, a senior colleague suggested he join the Royal Naval Reserve as a Royal Navy doctor.


He became Medical Officer to 42 Commando RM, who were deployed in Belfast along with men of the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, with whom he built a strong friendship.

In 24 years of service, he completed two tours with the Fleet Air Arm as a Fleet Surgeon, Medical Officer recruitment/Officer training in the Dartmouth Training Ship HMS Bristol, and at the Britannia Royal Naval College.

Falklands War[edit]

As Officer Commanding Medical Squadron of the Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Marines, Jolly was Senior Medical Officer of 3 Commando Brigade RM and commanded the field hospital at Ajax Bay.

The facilities at Ajax Bay were set up in an old refrigeration plant situated next to an ammunition dump, as those were the only roofed buildings available of any size fit for purpose. Therefore, due to its position, Brigadier Julian Thompson ordered they were to paint a Red Cross on the buildings to highlight the hospital due to the terms of the Geneva Convention. The conditions in the field hospital were poor and despite the dirt, poor lighting, air attacks and the presence of two unexploded bombs, only three of the 580 British soldiers and marines wounded in action were to die of their wounds and none while under the care of Dr Jolly.[3]


Before visiting Argentina in 1998, Jolly had sent ahead a list of Argentine casualties and asked the authorities there what had become of them. As a result, the Argentine Foreign Ministry discovered the truth about the battlefield medical care of their wounded by the British during the conflict and invited over 50 of them to a ceremony in Buenos Aires, where Dr Jolly was appointed as an Oficial (Officer) in the Order of May in recognition of his outstanding work in saving the lives of many wounded Argentine soldiers and airmen.[4]

As it was a foreign decoration, Jolly had to write to the Queen for permission to wear his Order of May award with his other medals, to which she personally responded by authorising him to wear the award "on all occasions" on behalf of the 300 British Naval, Royal Marines and Army medics involved in the war.[5][6] The Argentinian award made Jolly the only serviceman to have been decorated by both sides after the conflict.

Jolly also featured and was extensively interviewed in the TV documentary Falklands Combat Medics, which concentrated primarily on the work and role played by the field hospital based at Ajax Bay.[7]

With Denzil Connick, he campaigned for the recognition of posttraumatic stress disorder for all Falkland veterans in aid of the South Atlantic Medal Association.


Jolly's first book, For Campaign Service, detailed the experience of soldiers and Royal Marines who served in Northern Ireland. The book took its title and cover image from the General Service Medal (1962) issued to UK military.[8] He also wrote the book The Red and Green Life Machine, about his experiences in the Falklands War,[9] and Jackspeak: A Guide to British Naval Slang and Usage.[10][11]


  1. ^ Hamilton, Alan (3 April 1997). "Veterans keep the Falklands spirit alive 15 years on". The Times. London. p. 5.
  2. ^ "Military news". Stonyhurst Association Newsletter (298). February 2009. p. 7. Archived from the original on 20 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Falklands Combat Medics" Interview with Jolly and documentary narration, first broadcast by The Military History Channel on 1 April 2012
  4. ^ Honours even
  5. ^ Evans, Michael (19 March 2002). "Falklands doctor backs soldiers' claim for trauma". The Times. London. p. 11.
  6. ^ Jolly, Rick (2007). The Red & Green Life Machine (3rd ed.). Red & Green Books. p. 249. ISBN 0-9514305-4-8.
  7. ^ "Falklands Combat Medics" The Military History Channel
  8. ^ Jolly, Rick. For Campaign Service. Red & Green Books (2000).
  9. ^ Band of Brothers who met M*A*S*H in the Falkland Islands War of 1982
  10. ^ The joy of 'Jackspeak'
  11. ^ Jolly, Rick (2011). Jackspeak: A Guide to British Naval Slang and Usage. 10 Southcombe Street, London W14 0RA: Conway, an imprint of Anova Books Ltd.CS1 maint: location (link)

External links[edit]