Falklands 1982

Freedom of the Falklands given to all who liberated the islands in 1982

The residents have expressed their gratitude to those who fought to free the Falklands from Argentinian occupation.

The Freedom of the Falkland Islands has been granted to more than 33,000 South Atlantic Medal Holders, shortly before the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the islands. 

It means all those who played a part in the Falklands conflict in 1982 – whether fighting with bayonets on the slopes of Tumbledown or working tirelessly in kitchens and laundries on board ships out at sea – now have the right to march across the Falkland Islands. 

More than 33,000 South Atlantic Medals were awarded to members of the British Army, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Merchant Navy, the Falkland Island Defence Force and civilians – all were responsible for restoring freedom to the islands back in 1982. 

The Freedom Of The Falkland Islands framed certificate CREDIT BFBS
The Freedom Of The Falkland Islands framed certificate.

Nigel Phillips, Governor of the Falkland Islands, spoke to Forces News about the deep gratitude and sorrow felt by the islanders still, to this day.

"There's ... a collective sadness about the fact that this happened to these islands, to these people," he said.

"It's not what anybody wanted and they remember the sacrifice.

"I heard somebody say the other day, they still feel embarrassed that people died for their liberation.

"That sense of gratitude is profound and has not changed and, so, whilst there's a lot of noise and atmos in the room, there's also a real sense of an understanding of the depth of the sacrifice made and the efforts to win back the liberation of the Falklands." 

Falkland Islands resident Brian Aldridge was 22-years-old when Argentina invaded the islands in 1982.

He believes that life would be very different if the British Armed Forces had not liberated the islands 40 years ago, saying: "If it hadn't have been for these guys, where would we be today?

"So, it's the least we can do is give them the freedom of the place." 

The South Atlantic Medal Association was represented by the co-ordinator in the islands, Gary Clement, who expressed his gratitude.

He said: "For me, this represents 35,000 people that have been awarded this freedom of the Falklands and, 40 years on, that's a really nice gesture.

"Apparently, we can't take sheep anywhere though!

"I'm just over the moon to be asked to be the recipient here in the Falklands.

"It's the gesture as much as anything else, I think. It means an awful lot." 

The Freedom Of The Falkland Islands Military Wives Choir performance CREDIT BFBS
The Falkland Islands Military Wives Choir performed at the freedom event.

The world's most southernly Military Wives Choir closed proceedings with a performance at the town hall in Stanley, as the islanders look ahead to the 40th anniversary of their liberation.

Cover image: Veterans stand for a photograph with the Freedom Of The Falkland Islands framed certificate.