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Remembering the defence of the Falkland Islanders

Falkland Coat-of_Arms

Coat of Arms of the Falkland Islands. Thirty years ago, Argentina invaded. With Britain's help the islanders regained their freedom.

Today new oil discoveries have entered the equation, and a new Argentine dictatorship threatens another invasion of the Falklands.

Sara Jones, 70, the widow of hero Lt Colonel 'H' Jones, who paid the ultimate price, said:

We stood up for what we believed in. We didn’t like to see a small country overrun by somebody who had very little claim to it."

She told The Daily Telegraph: “The islanders have always been fiercely British and want to stay that way. I hope we would do it all again if we had to."

f_colonel_h_jones.jpg

Lt Colonel 'H' Jones VC. Two hundred and fifty-five British servicemen lost their lives.

Stanley in the Falkland Islands

Stanley. The Falkland Islands is a self-governing territory of the United Kingdom with three thousand people.

When the military dictatorship of Argentina invaded on April 2nd,1982, a local radio presenter repeatedly played 'Strangers in the Night' to warn Falklanders. They were determined to remain British.

The British Government, led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, took the wishes of the island people and the principle of self-determination so seriously that Britain went to war to protect them from armed aggression and to assert the rule of law.

Britain had been taken by surprise by the attack and scrambled to launch a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force, and retake the islands by amphibious assault if necessary.

Falklands beach

Falkland Islands beach.

While British ships streamed across the Atlantic, the Argentine government refused to withdraw as requested by the UN.

After intrepid combat, the British prevailed.

They did so with the help of the United States. President Reagan's administration made supplying essential military supplies its top priority. Caspar Weinberger, the US Secretary of Defense, later received a knighthood from The Queen for his services.

Happily, the Argentine defeat increased popular protests against the military junta, which fell.

"It was," wrote Luigi Barzini, "a highly pragmatic operation undertaken in defense of international law and morality and surely not for gain." The islands were restored "to the government desired by their inhabitants".

Postscript

Jim Hodge sent a link to this WSJ article, which reminded us that America almost sided with Argentina. It includes a gorgeous photo, which shows two little girls waving goodbye to British servicemen.

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