Today marks 35 years since the end of the war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands
15 days ago
Today marks 35 years since the end of the war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands and a service at Liberation Movement will mark the anniversary.
On this day in 1982, the 74-day occupation of the remote Falkland Islands ended as Argentinian commander General Mario Menendez surrendered to the British at Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. The Falklands cost the lives of 255 British servicemen, three Falkland Islanders and around 655 Argentinian soldiers.
The bitter Falklands conflict started on the 2 April 1982 when Argentina invaded the remote UK colony in the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. Argentina at the time was in a state of economic crisis and had hoped to restore its support by reclaiming sovereignty of the islands. The country based its claim on the islands' proximity to the South American mainland and said that it had inherited the islands from Spain in the 1800s, stating that the Falkland Islands have been Argentinian territory since the 19th century. It has still not relinquished the claim. The Argentine government saw their initial invasion as the re-occupation of their own territory, and the UK who had ruled the islands for 150 years after claiming the islands in 1765, saw it as an invasion of a British dependent territory. The British government, led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1982, chose to fight and a naval task force was sent out to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force, and retake the islands by amphibious assault, 8,000 miles away. After a battle that lasted 74 days the Argentinian forces surrendered, on this day, 14th June, 35 years ago. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said at the time that the 1,800 Falklanders were "of British tradition and stock". The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who was a Royal Navy helicopter pilot in the conflict joined other Falklands veterans at a service to mark the 35th anniversary of the end of the conflict at the chapel of Pangbourne College in Berkshire.
The service was relayed on screens outside the chapel, to allow 870 veterans and relatives to take part. Among those in the congregation was Ellie Smith, whose husband Petty Officer Ben Casey was one of the first servicemen to be killed in the conflict.
She said: "My husband always said he loved fighting for what was right. I have a lot of love and a lot of pride in my heart."
For arrangements for anniversary of Liberation Day 2017 please see Mercopress HERE
[The Yomper Falklands memorial statue, Royal Marines Museum Portsmouth]