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Forces Reunited - Falklands War: UK and Argentina mark invasion 30 years on >> Topical News >> Topical News Items >> Falklands War: UK and Argentina mark invasion 30 years on
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Phil Beacall
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Falklands War: UK and Argentina mark invasion 30 years on

Falklands War: UK and Argentina mark invasion 30 years on Services are being held in Britain and Argentina to mark the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War. A total of 255 British servicemen and about 650 Argentines died after the UK sent a task force following the Argentine invasion on 2 April 1982. The anniversary comes amid renewed tension, as Argentina has reasserted its claim to the archipelago. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the day should be used to remember both the British and Argentine dead. In a statement, Mr Cameron also said that he remained committed to upholding British sovereignty over the islands. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy has confirmed one of its newest warships, HMS Dauntless, will leave the UK on Wednesday for a six-month routine deployment in the South Atlantic. British veterans of the war - and relatives of those who died - have paid their respects at Britain’s National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. A single candle was lit as a gesture to mark the anniversary. It will remain alight for 74 days - the length of the conflict. Anglican priest the Rev Vic Van Den Bergh told the service they had come together to pray for peace between the UK and Argentina and to remember the fallen - including the three Falkland Islanders who died in the conflict. In his statement, Mr Cameron said: "Thirty years ago today the people of the Falkland Islands suffered an act of aggression that sought to rob them of their freedom and their way of life. "Today is a day for commemoration and reflection: a day to remember all those who lost their lives in the conflict - the members of our armed forces, as well as the Argentinian personnel who died." 255 British servicemen and three Falklands civilians died during the conflict. The number of Argentine dead is estimated at about 650 Mr Cameron saluted the "heroism" of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who took part in the operation which freed the islanders from Argentine rule. He said "We are rightly proud of the role Britain played in righting a profound wrong. And the people of the Falkland Islands can be justly proud of the prosperous and secure future they have built for their islands since 1982. "Britain remains staunchly committed to upholding the right of the Falkland Islanders, and of the Falkland Islanders alone, to determine their own future. "That was the fundamental principle that was at stake 30 years ago: and that is the principle which we solemnly reaffirm today." In a statement, shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said there was no evidence the Falkland Islanders wished to change their nationality and added: "Something more important than the Empire’s legacy was and is at stake: the universal right to self-determination and our belief that diplomatic dispute should be resolved by democracy rather than the uptake of arms." Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is expected to visit the southern port of Ushuaia on Monday to remember the Argentine servicemen who died. President Fernandez is due to lead rallies to commemorate the Argentine dead and to light an eternal flame devoted to their memory. Before she arrived, Argentine veterans held a vigil for the fallen. Army veteran Carlos Alberto Latorre said he saw himself as one of the "Malvinas combatants" and it was important for him to be there to educate Argentines about what happened during the conflict, Reuters reported. He said he could see younger generations also believed Argentina had a rightful claim to the islands, and this gave him the strength to continue. Fellow veteran Alejandro Meringer said he felt he had "lost his youth" because of the war. He said he experienced great joy when he was told by an officer he would be helping to "recover Las Islas Malvinas" but this was replaced by sadness when their mission was unsuccessful. British Falklands War veteran Simon Weston, who was badly injured when his ship Sir Galahad was attacked, told the BBC he did not believe that Argentina’s military capability was as strong a threat as it was at the time of the initial conflict. ’British stock’ Richard Jones, whose son Craig was the last soldier to be killed in the conflict, said those who lived on the islands identified themselves as British. "They’re not Latin American, they’ve got nothing really in common with the Argentines. They are as British stock as we or anybody else. They want to remain - they don’t want to be part of Argentina, and that was what the war was all about," he said. Argentina has asked for negotiations about sovereignty but the British government says it will not discuss the issue without the agreement of the islanders. BBC World affairs editor John Simpson said while a new armed conflict remained unlikely, Argentina was now using diplomatic weapons to push its claim over the Falklands. The defeat of the Argentine forces led directly to the collapse of the military dictatorship led by Gen Leopoldo Galtieri, who was later jailed in Buenos Aires for "incompetence" during the war. The British prime minister at the time was Margaret Thatcher, but she is not expected to play a part in the commemoration of the 30th anniversary because of ill-health. The Falklands War 2 April: Argentine forces invade Falkland Islands. Other British South Atlantic territories including South Georgia are seized shortly afterwards 5 April: A British task force of more than 100 ships sets sail for the South Atlantic 25 April: South Georgia is recaptured by British forces. 2 May: Argentine cruiser General Belgrano sunk by HMS Conqueror, killing more than 320 21 May: Three thousand British troops begin landing at San Carlos on East Falkland 28-29 May: British forces recapture Goose Green. 8 June: British landing craft are bombed at Fitzroy, killing more than 50 men 13 June: Argentine positions on mountains overlooking the capital Port Stanley are taken 14 June: Argentine forces surrender. British troops march into Stanley

It must be accepted as a principle that the rifle, effective as it is, cannot replace the devastation produced on the enemy by the speed of the horse, the magnetism of the charge, and the terror of cold steel. - British Army Cavalry training manual 1907
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02/04/2012 13:53:20
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Edward George Penny
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The Falklands

Yes it was 30years ago, but then they had the men, materials and the money, sadly we dont have.

What would they do if the Argentinians invaded sent a section of infantry to stop them
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02/04/2012 19:52:14
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Colin Hall
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This woman who may well be Gadaffi’s mother, is merely sabre-rattling!

The first colonists in East Falkland were French, in 1764 - who then sold their settlement to Spain in 1767. British occupation of West Falkand comemnced in 1765, which was conquered by the Spanish in 1770 and then returned in 1771. The British abandoned the settlement in 1774, but left a plaque confirming that it remained British (actually English) territory. It then gets complicated. Argentina (as is) declared independence from Spain in 1811 and took formal possession of the islands in 1820. The Colonial Office, being on the ball, protested some 9 years later. In 1831 a USN ship evicted the Argentine settlers in reprisal for actions taken by the Governor and in 1833 the British captured the island and have remained there ever since, apart from a brief interregnum in 1982. British possession is based on the principle of conquest, which is upheld by international law. Simples!

Oh, and one final point, it is accepted point of international law that a state (in this case the UK) is entitled to rely upon the right of self defence even when its possession of the territory in question is subject to controversy.

Stick that up your Junta!

One other small but very important point! Argentina doesn’t have the means to attack the Falklands!

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02/04/2012 21:37:40
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Pamela Forbes
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    I was going to mention that there has been a great deal of talk about the British Armed Forces being run down but no-one has mentioned the fact that since the Military Junta was removed in Argentina successive civilian governments have run down the Argentine Forces to possibly an even greater degree and they simply don’t have the capability of invading the Falkland Islands.

   Colin has just now mentioned that fact.

  Like the rest of the world, Argentina’s economy is in a dire state at present and whenever there are economic problems they start sabre rattling about ’Las Malvinas’.  It gives the people something else to focus on.

   The Falkland Islands are and will remain British for as long as the Falkland Islanders wish it to be so.


Give a man an inch.........and he thinks he’s a ruler.
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03/04/2012 01:12:38
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Colin Hall
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Correct Pamela.

Argentina militarily is arguably less well-equipped than they were 30 years ago, and have no means by which they could carry an invasion force to the Falklands, where they would meet considerably more trouble than when they last tried it. They no longer have an aircraft carrier for starters.

The view that should be taken on the topic should include the dire straits of the Argentine economy and also the political climate, which this women is trying to divert attention from by creating the false argument that the Falkland belong to her. They don’t!

If it were true then Hawaii doesn’t belong to America,  and a number of British Channel islands would be part of France. In other words her argument is specious, and in her case for local consumption!
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03/04/2012 01:32:23
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