THE FAMILY of a bomb disposal expert who died during the Falklands conflict have unveiled a new plaque in his memory after the original memorial was stolen by metal thieves.

Sergeant Jim Prescott, of Auchinleck, was killed in action as he tried to defuse an unexploded 1,000lb bomb that struck the Royal Navy warship HMS Antelope during the war with Argentina.

In honour of his sacrifice his comrades in the Royal Engineers paid for a bronze plaque to be installed on a bridge built by the regiment in Milngavie and later renamed after Sgt Prescott, but it was stolen last year and has not been recovered.

After hearing about the theft his squadmate Warrant Officer John Phillips DSC, who was with the bomb disposal expert when he was killed, organised for a new plaque to be inscribed and attached to the bridge.

He contacted members of the regiment's association who rallied round to raise more than £2,000 for a replacement to be created.

The new plaque, made of granite, was officially dedicated during a ceremony yesterday on the 42nd anniversary of Sgt Prescott's death, attended by his daughters Angela and Carol and members of his regiment.

His daughter Angela Dolan said: "It was a lovely day for the ceremony and we really appreciate the effort everyone has made. It was very nice to see so many people there.

"There were some lovely words spoken during the ceremony and his regiment brought their standard to fly during the service."

Around 20 people attended the rededication service, which was presided over by a padre who was formerly a member of Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal before he was ordained.

Sgt Prescott and his colleague Warrant Officer John Philips had been tasked with making safe the gigantic bomb that had penetrated HMS Antelope on May 23, 1982 but had failed to go off.

The previous day the pair had disarmed a similar bomb on board HMS Argonaut and made several attempts to blow the fuse of the Antelope missile without success.

Unbeknown to them, the device had a 28-second delay and exploded as WO Phillips was preparing to inspect it. The pair were standing 30ft from the explosive when it went off.

Sgt Prescott was killed instantly and WO Philips lost an arm in the blast, which caused the ship to sink the next day. The bomb disposal expert was posthumously awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for his bravery, the only one handed out during the war.

A photograph of HMS Antelope engulfed in an enormous fireball became one of the defining images of the 1982 conflict with Argentina.

WO Philips, who attended the rededication ceremony yesterday, said: "When we heard that the original plaque had been stolen we quickly got together and decided to do something about this.

"After a few calls round the members of the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Association and the HMS Antelope crew we very quickly got more than we needed. I had no doubt that we would get the donations we needed.

"We were really pleased to be able to do this and rededicate the memorial in Jim's memory."