Falklands

Events planned to mark 40th anniversary of Falklands conflict

One ceremony in the UK will see veterans formally presented with the Freedom of the Falkland Islands by a link to the capital Stanley.

A series of lectures, memorials and other events will be held from this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War.

The aim is to commemorate the sacrifices made in 1982 and to celebrate the progress made in the islands in the South Atlantic over the past 40 years.

The war lasted for 74 days after Argentine forces invaded the Falklands on 2 April 1982.  

Three days later, a task force set sail from the UK, eventually involving almost 26,000 Armed Forces personnel and 3,000 civilian crew.

Two hundred and fifty-five British service personnel died during the campaign, as well as three civilian Falkland Islanders.

A total of 649 Argentine military personnel died.

Following several weeks of intense fighting, Argentine forces surrendered on 14 June 1982, a date that has since been known in the Falkland Islands as Liberation Day and is a national holiday.

A Falkland Islands government spokesman said: "Falkland Islanders continue to be profoundly grateful for the strong support that the UK Government continues to provide, in acknowledging our right to self-determination and our choice to remain a UK Overseas Territory.

"Today, the Falkland Islands is a forward-looking community, with a strong sense of culture and heritage."

Margaret Thatcher Day is celebrated every 10 January in the Falklands, the anniversary of the first visit by the former prime minister in 1983.

Watch: Falklands War - Veterans remember the 1982 conflict.

A street in the capital, Stanley, is named Thatcher Drive after her and there is a bust statue of her with the inscription: "They are few in number, but they have the right to live in peace, to choose their own way of life and allegiance."

About 3,200 people live on the Falklands, with locally elected politicians responsible for all matters other than defence and foreign affairs.

The Falkland Islands government stresses that it funds its own activities without any recourse to the UK taxpayer, and provides a base for the UK's Armed Forces as well as opportunities for UK companies to participate in major capital projects.

One legacy of the 1982 war was the vast tracts of minefields, with the last of about 13,000 mines finally fully cleared in October 2020.

Speaking at the celebrations to reclaim the fenced-off beaches around Stanley, Member of the Legislative Assembly Leona Roberts said: "The Falkland Islands are known for our amazing physical landscape - for our endless horizons, our outdoor spaces and unique scenery – but since 1982 that landscape has been scarred by the terrible legacy of war.

"We have had to teach our children about the dangers of minefields and have hoped but not quite dared to dream of the day when we would become mine-free."

On 14 June, a special commemoration will take place at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for up to 10,000 people, mainly focused on veterans and their families.

Crew on board HMS Hermes during the Falklands War 170482 CREDIT PA Alamy Stock Photo
Crew from HMS Hermes during the conflict (Picture: PA/Alamy).

Veterans will be formally presented with the Freedom of the Falkland Islands by a link to Stanley during the ceremony.

Events ranging from services and ceremonies to talks, exhibitions, conferences, receptions and competitions are being planned across the UK this year.

Other events include a photographic exhibition at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, west London, an essay competition for UK students to win a visit to the Falklands, and a series of Falklands-themed talks around the UK.

Falkland Islands Committee chairman and former member of the Legislative Assembly, Phyl Rendell, said: "I know how important the 40th anniversary will be for many people, which is why we need to make every effort to ensure that we mark the occasion with due respect, and pay tribute to the courage shown and the sacrifices made back in 1982.

"As a nation, we have moved forward substantially in the past 40 years and it is right that we celebrate how, in exercising our liberty, we have built a prosperous and peaceful country – one which has not simply survived, but thrived.

"We want to approach this milestone with optimism for the future. We now have a younger generation, born after 1982, who understand how they have benefited from the bravery of others and will continue to build on that legacy." 

Head to our Falklands 40 page, where you can find our memorial wall, as well as more Falklands stories, videos and podcasts.