This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War.
Today, Herefordshire remembered the sacrifices made by those who fought and died in the Falklands War, including 28 men from Herefordshire.
Cllr Sebastian Bowen, Chairman of Herefordshire Council marked the anniversary at the Annual Council Meeting, followed by a one-minute silence.
Cllr Sebastian Bowen said:
“On the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War we remember all the British servicemen and civilians that served in the task force, particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The re-capture of the Falklands by the British forces was a most remarkable feat of arms, with all three Services playing their part to the utmost.”
Cllr Bowen continued:
“Our thoughts are with the bereaved families of the 255 men who died during the conflict. The impact to our county of Herefordshire was significant, 28 of those killed had roots in Herefordshire together with HMS Antelope, the adopted warship of Hereford City which was sunk by Argentine aircraft.”
In April 1982, Argentina laid claim to the Falkland Islands and mounted a military assault. Thousands of amphibious troops backed up by Naval and Air resources soon occupied the island capital of Port Stanley. The islands were garrisoned by a token force of Royal Marines who had little choice but to stand down after a short campaign in which they were totally out numbered.
The British response was swift and within days a Royal Navy task force was heading south. It eventually comprised of 127 ships (43 Royal Navy, 22 Royal Fleet Auxiliary and 62 merchant ships), 3 Commando Brigade and 5 Infantry Brigade; Special Forces were also deployed and the RAF set up a forward airhead at Ascension Island.
The British landings took place on May 21 and after a difficult time due to the weather, the terrain and intense enemy activity, land troops advanced on foot, traversing some 70 miles across the island liberated Port Stanley on June 14. As well as the 255 British men who died during the hostilities, many returned home wounded or injured. Three Falkland Islanders and 649 Argentine military personnel also died during the conflict.
Cllr Barry Durkin, Chair of Herefordshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership said:
“We know there are veterans of the Falklands War who still struggle with physical and mental scars, and some have faced life challenges since the war ended. Our respect continues to these and those gallant service personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Local support is available, no matter what the issue might be. Our military charities are on standby to assist, to give the right kind of help with complete understanding."
There will be a dedicated Falklands Service at Hereford Cathedral on Sunday June 19 at 3.30pm for those wishing to pay their respects.
The Royal British Legion have created a message board for those wishing to pay a tribute and honour the lives and sacrifices made at https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/ways-to-give/poppy-press/your-falklands-messages
If you need support or someone to talk to locally, please contact Herefordshire Veteran Support Centre (https://herefordshire-vsc.org) on 01432 260656 or the Herefordshire Mental Health 24 hour helpline on 0808 196 9127.
Other 24 hour national helplines:
- Veterans Gateway - 0808 802 1212 or https://www.veteransgateway.org.uk
- Op Courage, NHS Veteran Mental Health - 0300 323 0137
- Samaritans - 116 123 (or download the Samaritans Veteran App)