OTD: Argentina Invades The Falkland Islands

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:

The South Atlantic Campaign 1982.

Portsmouth:

Southampton:

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. 

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Loving Liverpool (10) Liverpool Parish Church

Liverpool Parish Church is also also known as “Our Lady and St Nicholas”, and the current building was built after the original main body of the church was destroyed by fire on  21 December 1940, during the bombing of Liverpool by the Luftwaffe.

Situated close to the pier head it would have been much closer to the Mersey before all the changes and dock building was done.

The bombing attack resulted in the building of a new church, and the completed church, was dedicated to “Our Lady and St Nicholas” and it was consecrated on 18 October 1952.

The church had a very welcoming feel about it and it is light and very beautiful inside. Liverpool is a maritime city and that is reflected in the church too.  The best find was the Cunard Roll of Honour which was moved from the Cunard building and rededicated on 21 July 1990.

 

The nautical theme abounds and I found yet another bell from HMS Liverpool. Just how many bells did the ship have? (there is also an HMS Liverpool bell in the Cathedral)

One of those rare gems is the Roll of Honour of those who lost their lives during the 2nd World War while serving in merchant ships and fishing vessels. The case is made from wood from the Aquitania.

The Pulpit and Font.

Chapels.

Maritime Chapel of St Mary del Key (St Mary of the Quay)
Chapel of St Peter

The Cross in the Chapel of St Peter was created by Revd David Railton, who was the rector at Liverpool at the time, was formed of two pieces of fire blackened roof timbers taken from the ruins of the church. in 1920, Revd Railton wrote to the Dean of Westminster, about the possibility of giving an unidentified soldier a national burial service in Westminster Abbey. This became the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior 

The Grail Boat (Greg Tucker)
Our Lady of the Quay (Arthur Dooley)

Unfortunately I missed so much in the Garden of Remembrance that I now have a reason to revisit the church in the future. 

Atlantic Conveyor Memorial

And then I had to leave and go to my next destination.

As far as churches go this one is a relatively new building in an ancient parish, but it has managed to straddle the old and the new and the result is stunning. I regret not looking over the garden though, but the lack of headstones probably put me off.  But, that’s a good reason to return.

The Bombed Out Church.

I also found one more church that had been affected by the bombing, and it is the former St Luke’s Church on the corner of Berry Street and Leece Street, It is known as “The Bombed Out Church”

The church was built between 1811 and 1832, in addition to being a parish church, it was also intended to be used as a venue for ceremonial worship by the Corporation, and as a concert hall. It was badly damaged during the Liverpool Blitz in 1941, and remains as a roofless shell. It now stands as a memorial to those who were lost in the war, Unfortunately it was closed on both times I was there, but I was able to photograph two monuments of interest. 

The first is “Truce” by Andy Edwards, and it commemorates the the moment when British and German soldiers called a temporary truce during Christmas in the First World War.

The second monument is related to Malta.

There is an Irish Famine Memorial too, but for some strange reason I missed photographing it. 

Incidentally the surrounds were never used for burials, and today this is a nice peaceful green spot in the city. And that concludes my look at the two churches I saw in Liverpool and both are worthy of a revisit. Continue onwards to the final say.

forwardbut

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The Canberra and the Falklands.

I have just finished reading “A Very Strange Way To Go To War” by Andrew Vine (published 2012 Aurum Press Ltd). It deals with the requisitioning and subsequent service of the Canberra in 1982 in the Falklands War. In fact it is one of at least four different books I have read on the Falklands conflict this year. However, what makes this book very special is that I have been fortunate enough to have sailed on the ship in 1992. It is a wonderful read though because of how much respect they accord the ship and her crew. I have reread it in 2020 and it still makes for an amazing read. 
By the time I sailed on her the Falklands were a mere memory, and yet reading this book brought back so many memories of this magnificent vessel that I thought I would have to pen a few words. The first time I was aware of her calling in South Africa was 1986, and the next would be 1990, when she made an unexpected call to our waters. I went down to Durban to see her, and hopefully get on board, but that never happened. My one abiding memory of her though was her arrival, it was a cold and foggy morning when she sailed into view. A white ship in a field of white fog. Beautiful. 
The whole day was one of lousy weather that ensured that any images we did get were not great. And, not getting on board was even worse, especially since we had travelled over 570 kilometres to be here. Reading the book I suspect there must have been moments in the South Atlantic when she looked like this. A white ship in a white fog.
Winding forward to our trip in 1992, I suspect I was curious to see what there was to see from her trip down South and surprisingly there was not too much that was obvious to the likes of me. I do know she had a plaque above her bridge windows which was the most noticeable thing.
And, in the one stair tower there was a glorious photograph of her returning to Southampton; rust stained, grubby, and getting the biggest welcome that was accorded a ship in many years. I tried to photograph that pic on that star tower and the closest I got was the image below.
Seeing that image on board that ship was a very special moment, she was as famous as the Queens, and she served in wartime just as well as those two mighty Cunarders did. It was easy to place myself in the areas they discussed in  the book, but I could never recreate that atmosphere or that epic voyage that lasted just over 90 days. I am sure there are a number of Falklands Veterans who remember her with fondness too.  Canberra has sailed into history, while her old rival QE2 still “lives” on, possibly one of the last remaining Falklands vessels. In the week when QE2 was in Durban she was there with another Falklands Veteran, the former RMS St Helena. The QE2 however was a very high risk target and did not see the prolonged service that Canberra undertook. In fact it was said “Canberra cruises where QE2 refuses”. The book does hot heap glory on the QE2, but then I have never read a book about her Falklands jaunt either.
Triang Minic 1/1200 scale Canberra model
While I was in Southampton I often wondered where did Canberra berth? and she invariably berthed up at Mayflower where Oriana berths most of the time.
Oriana berthed at Mayflower
Oriana berthed at Mayflower
How I wish I had been able to see Canberra at Mayflower, or better yet, to have been there when the Great White Wale nosed her way through the hordes of small boats that followed her down Southampton Water. Such is the stuff of legends, and if ever there was a ship of legends Canberra is it. 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).

 
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