Governor’s Address Falklands Conflict – 40th Anniversary Commemoration and Flag Raising
The Courthouse, Jamestown 14 June 2022
On 3 rd April 1982, the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made a statement to the House of Commons. The day before, Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands. Prime Minister Thatcher got straight to the point: “This House meets this Saturday to respond to a situation of great gravity…for the first time for many years, British sovereign territory has been invaded by a foreign power.” Two days later a command was issued to despatch a naval task force to the South Atlantic. This unexpected act of aggression against an overseas territory began a two-and-a-half month campaign by British forces, together with our volunteers from St Helena, personnel on Ascension, and countless others working in the UK and elsewhere.
Not forgetting the courage of the passive resistance by the islanders themselves. The campaign objective was simple, to liberate the Falkland Islands from the occupying Argentine force. 2 Its execution was going to be complex and setbacks likely. It was known the islands had been flooded before the task force arrived with thousands of invaders.
We are all aware the fight was bloody but the skill and determination of our military, with their merchant navy support, ultimately won the day. And so it was on this day, 14th of June, forty years ago that Margaret Thatcher made a further announcement in Parliament.
An announcement that has become the defining moment for all involved in the conflict and for the future of the Falklands itself. “Mr. Speaker… Early this morning in Port Stanley, 74 days after the Falkland Islands were invaded, General Moore accepted from General Menendez the surrender of all the Argentine forces in East and West Falkland together with their arms and equipment.
In a message to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet, General Moore reported: “The Falkland Islands are once more under the Government desired by their inhabitants. God Save the Queen.” It is my honour and privilege today to remember the active service and selfless contribution of those sailors from St Helena who joined the conflict in the RMS St Helena and other vessels. You should continue to take pride in that service.
Throughout the intervening forty years, the territory has continued under the protection of the UK and achieved a significant rise in prosperity. Today, at this flag raising we salute the bravery of the contribution of St Helena on the liberation day of the Falklands and we salute too, the outstanding professionalism of the British forces. Neither must not forget the human cost of conflict and those who lost their lives on both sides, 255 British, 649 Argentine personnel.
The loss of all life is a matter of deep regret. But, in a turbulent world the UK and the entire British family will never shirk its duty… To stand up to those who bully and threaten our peoples and our way of life; To persevere; and To prevail. Thank you.
Dr Philip Rushbrook Governor
14 June 2022