ON THIS DAY: June 14, Falkland Liberation Day

Blogger: GemSen Today marks 30 years since the end of the war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands and a service at Liberation Movement has marked 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. A service at Port Stanley’s Cathedral also took place and veterans of the conflict then led a military parade to the Liberation Monument for an Act of Remembrance. The parade was led by veterans of the 1982 war and consisted of members of the Royal Navy, the Parachute Regiment, the Royal Air Force and the Falkland Islands Defence Force. The names of all the British service personnel and Falkland Islanders who died during the war were recited during the service, after which wreaths were laid at the monument, finishing with a Royal salute. Sovereignty Dispute

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, 30 years ago. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said at the time that the 1,800 Falklanders were "of British tradition and stock". At the recent service in Port Stanley, the BBC’s defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt, stated that the day was very emotional for veterans who had returned to the battlefields where many of their comrades laid down their lives. The broadcaster also reported that for islanders, it was an important ceremony to mark their liberation and to express the undying gratitude they felt for the servicemen and women who came to help them. "There are hundreds of people gathered here in what is frankly really freezing cold, inhospitable weather, and they are doing that because they are so grateful for what we achieved on their behalf 30 years ago," said Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne who attended the service in Port Stanley. He said it was "hard to convey" to the wider world "just how much this means to the Falkland Islanders". Eight thousand miles away in London the Falklands flag flew over government buildings and according to British Forces News Cameron marked the anniversary by pledging to continue defending the islands from “aggressive threats”. "It's a time to pay tribute to the 255 UK servicemen who paid the ultimate price so that the people of the Falkland Islands could live in peace and in freedom,” said the Prime Minister. "And it's a time to express our huge debt of gratitude to all those servicemen who showed such astonishing courage to recapture the Islands." Cameron who has has remarked that there would be “no negotiation” over the islands sovereignty, also said that he hoped the decision by the Falkland Islands government to hold a referendum on their future sovereignty would end that dispute "once and for all". Source:  BBC and British Forces News Did any of your family fight during the Falklands? Are you trying to find out more about their military history? Forces War Records have a wealth of records including ones post World War II - search the site and discover more about your relatives...
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