Prime Minister pays tribute to 'the daring and bravery' of Falklands task force

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the "incredible daring and bravery" of Armed Forces personnel on the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War.

A series of commemoration events have taken place across the UK to mark four decades since the moment when the Falklands War concluded with a British victory.

Veterans, civilians and bereaved family members attended a centrepiece service at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in East Staffordshire, along with senior members of UK defence staff.

The Royal British Legion hosted the large-scale event at the NMA – the focal point of commemoration in the UK – with hundreds of veterans and families attending as acts of remembrance were carried out. 

The Prime Minister laid a wreath at the service. He said: "The first thing to remember is what an incredible thing it was that they achieved back in 1982.

"To make an opposed landing, to take back territory in the way that they did.

"The incredible daring and bravery of those young men and women.

"And we salute that – we remember that today." he adde

Mr Johnson, who spoke as military helicopters carried out a flypast, said the "greatest tribute" to those who had laid down their lives was that the Falklands Islands had since "thrived in peace and freedom".

Image ID 2JCMAAC Military personnel lay wreaths during Falklands memorial service at the National Memorial Arboretum 14062022 CREDIT PA, Alamy Stock Photo.jpg
Military personnel lay wreaths during Falklands memorial service at the National Memorial Arboretum (Picture: PA/Alamy Stock Photo).

On 14 June 1982, white flags flew over Stanley after a land war lasting 24 days. The Argentinian military had surrendered. 

Now, four decades on, those who fought in the war, men aged in their 60s and 70s, have joined the families of those lost in acts of remembrance across the country.

As well as the event at Staffordshire's NMA, Plymouth held an event to mark the occasion which got under way early this morning.

There, the flag of the Falklands Islands was raised over Plymouth Hoe and will remain in place until after Armed Forces Day at the end of the month.

A short ceremony was held, attended by The Rt Hon Gavin Short, Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, and military representatives from HMS Raleigh, 3 Commando Brigade and veterans of the conflict.

Watch: Falklands flag is raised over Plymouth Hoe.

The war began on 2 April 1982, when Argentine forces invaded and occupied the Falklands Islands, a British Overseas Territory. 

Within days, then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sent a military task force to the South Atlantic to recapture the islands, while diplomatic efforts continued at organisations such as the UN.

When these failed, a ground war ensued, which saw 30,000 UK Armed Forces personnel fighting in the campaign. 

Sadly, the undeclared war claimed the lives of 255 British forces personnel.

In the Falklands Islands itself, today marked Liberation Day. 

This annual calendar event saw islanders gather at Christ Church Cathedral to mark the occasion with a thanksgiving service, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Liberation Monument and a military parade. 

The day is a public holiday in the South Atlantic Islands.

Events have also been conducted in military bases at home and abroad. 

At the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines Lympstone, base personalities, including a still-serving Falklands veteran, placed wreaths at a memorial wall. 

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