Sgt Pepper taught the band to play..."
Who would have thought it? 30 years after a war had ended, feelings and rhetoric would still be running so high?
|Liberation Monument, 1/4/2012|
I can remember conflicts erupting in the Balkans that seemed to have origins 3 centuries ago. But I have also seen several countries, like France and Germany, who might be expected to harbour emnity, co-operating and collaborating to make their countries and continent stable and peaceful. Neighbours need to rub along.
Leaving aside the politics, I, along with many residents and journalists, attended a low-key commemoration service on Sunday, to mark 30 years since the Falklands Islands Defence Force (FIDF) - a largely ceremonial group of local volunteers - were called up to defend the islands against imminent Argentine invasion.
|HE The Governor, and the Commander of British Forces, South Atlantic Islands|
As many of you were reminded by TV and press reports this week, the invasion did take place, and the small force of 50 Royal Marines stationed in Stanley soon surrendered to the 1,000 Argentine troops, after a short, intense skirmish. The Marines, and the Governor, Rex Hunt, were deported via Uruguay. Some of the Marines returned with the British Task Force and re-hoisted the Union Jack over Government House on Liberation Day, 14th June.
The FIDF had been stationed in various parts of Stanley, but had no real experience of soldiery, and were shortly stood down on that first morning, and told to return to their civilian roles.
However, the current FIDF is fully-equipped to work alongside the regular garrison of troops at Mount Pleasant Complex. They train with live ammunition and take their responsibilities seriously.
|Guard of honour leading FIDF volunteers|
For further reading, you could do worse than try some of these books -
There is also a great Twitter feed, Falklands82 @wardiaryF82, which provides daily snippets of the war for each day, 30 years ago.
I expect the Falklands will soon be moved off the front pages by "shock-snow-in-London-at-Easter" headlines. In the meantime, I hope everyone in the UK has enough petrol and pasties for their needs. Next week, I'll explain how Stanley is the only place in the world where you can see the all the planets of the Solar System....
** Colour TVs were a rarity in 1982, but few islanders could resist the 2-year hire purchase deal to obtain a television from Argentine suppliers. Needless to say, no-one made more than one monthly payment, and no-one got in touch to reclaim the sets! Despite the lack of a local TV service, most people used them to watch videos sent from the UK....