Falklands

Falklands risks becoming forgotten conflict, research suggests

Only 4% of more than 2,100 adults polled by Help for Heroes were able to answer questions on the Falklands conflict correctly.

The Falklands conflict risks becoming a "forgotten" conflict, as research suggests many people are "clueless" about its details, according to a new report.

One in four younger people have never heard of the fierce battle with Argentina over the islands, a survey indicated.

Only 4% of more than 2,100 adults polled by Help for Heroes to mark the 40th anniversary of the conflict were able to answer questions correctly.

Half of those aged 18 to 34 said they did not know when the conflict was fought, and one in 10 of that age group believed the UK invaded the islands, leading to the conflict, while a similar number thought the Falklands were in the English Channel.

The charity said its research suggested that the sacrifice of those who stepped up to serve their country is in danger of being forgotten as the years pass.

Carol Betteridge, head of clinical and medical services at Help for Heroes, said, at the time of the conflict, it was "difficult for veterans to get the support they needed".

Watch: Former Royal Marine shares experience of Falklands conflict.

"While there have been major improvements in Government support for veterans since then, we are concerned that veterans are falling through the gaps," Ms Betteridge said.

"Just because people were injured 40 years ago, doesn't mean they don't still need help, as recovery can take years or last a lifetime.

"We're currently supporting Falklands veterans with long-term issues, including the lasting effects of trench foot and also PTSD. 

"Every one of them deserves our help and we would urge anyone who is struggling to ask for help," she added.

Falklands veteran Nick Martin, 65, was in the Royal Navy on the Atlantic Conveyor when, on 25 May 1982, it was hit by two Argentine Exocet missiles, killing 12 crew.

Watch: Falklands veteran – 'We'd already made out our wills'.

He suffered physical injuries including a fractured skull, traumatic brain injury, lost teeth, a dislocated jaw and burns to his mouth and throat.

Mr Martin also has a diagnosis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of his time in the Falklands.

"There was no real support available for me when we returned home," he said.

"Previously, I sabotaged anything that was good, and I wouldn't allow myself to enjoy anything.

"I kept thinking: 'Those lads who never made it back never had a chance to do any of this, so why should I have a nice life?'

"With Help for Heroes, I had a lightbulb moment that made me realise what I should be doing is living the best possible life I can, because that's what they would have wanted me to do – but it took nearly 35 years to get sorted," he added.

Article cover image: IMAGEPAST/Alamy Stock Photo.