On this day: 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. In response to the invasion the British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force before making an amphibious assault on the islands. The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with an Argentine surrender on 14 June, returning the islands to British control. In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falklands_War.
Unfortunately the sovereignty of the islands was never really sorted out and Argentina still maintains that they belong to Argentina, even going so far as referring to them as “Islas Malvinas“.
There were many memorable events during the conflict, and some that stand out are: The sinking of the Belgrano, The Black Buck raids, Canberra and QE2 called up into service as troopships, the sinking of HMS Sheffield, HMS Ardent, HMS Antelope, HMS Coventry, RFA Sir Galahad, SS Atlantic Conveyor, The bravery of the ground forces and the success of the Hawker Harrier, the unpreparedness of the Falkands against invasion, and so many more. It makes for fascinating reading although very little appears to have been written from the Argentinean point of view.
There are many memorials to the Falkands war in the United Kingdom. Worth mentioning are:
National Memorial Arboretum:
Trinity Gardens, London:
There are quite a few resources on YouTube that deal with the Falklands too, and of course that memorable footage of the Canberra berthing in Southampton after the war. (Image opens in YouTube video).
The Canberra had a wonderful image in her one stair tower of her arrival home but sadly a good photo of the image was almost impossible to get.
The Falklands conflict happened the year after my national service and today the veterans of that war are also wearing their medals and realising that their experiences back then are forgotten so many years down the line, and some will ask themselves what was it all in aid of? The same is possibly true for those Argentinean conscripts that were sent to the Falklands on what was really a very poorly planned and futile exercise. It is the same question that we ask ourselves too. General Leopoldo Galtieri did not expect the reaction that came from the United Kingdom, and neither did the rest of the world. Nobody thought that a naval task force would be up to the task, but they were very wrong. The Falklands conflict is just another war in a succession of small wars through the centuries, but sadly the lessons that were learnt have all been forgotten.
DRW © 2020. Created 02/04/2020.