Steeped in military history, the Portsmouth community is looking to build further ties with the Falkland Islands by installing a permanent flagpole above the entrance to the city’s harbour.

But they need your help.

Forces Radio BFBS's Jess Bracey spoke to Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Steve Pitt, who shared their upcoming plans.

“The veteran’s groups who organise the annual Falklands service to commemorate the Falklands war spoke to us about putting two permanent flagpoles in place.

"One to fly the Falklands flag and one to fly the Royal Navy ensign.”

In a bid to hold a permanent piece of history in the City, the Council’s second request dates back to the Falklands War of 1982.  

Atlantic Conveyor

“We are aware that an ensign connected directly to HMS Sheffield had been recovered, however, that’s actually gone up to Sheffield and is going to be permanently placed there.”

HMS Sheffield was the first British ship to be lost in action since the Second World War and sunk on May 4, 1982, when it was hit by an Argentine Exocet missile while it was carrying out a scouting mission off Port Stanley. 

It was the first British ship to be attacked by the Argentine Air Force during the Falklands Conflict and claimed the lives of 20 of its crew.

Portsmouth City Council wants to remember the plight of the British military, especially those who departed for the South Atlantic from its harbour.

“We feel that if there was another ensign from one of the ships that was sadly lost from the Falklands War then we might be able to work with the cathedral in Old Portsmouth and provide an extra place of contemplation and commemoration for the veterans.”

On a personal level, to have the Falklands flag flying across Portsmouth Harbour would be significant to Steve.

“It’s always been very special to me. In another life, I was a publican and the surviving crew from HMS Sheffield used to hold their annual reunion in a pub that I used to run.

"I also used to run the Royal Marines association for a period of time in Portsmouth. I’m quite well connected to that community and both myself and the leader of the Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson have very fond feelings towards our local servicemen and women."

Portsmouth

To have this historic artefact flying over the harbour would be a momentous addition to the city.

“If people know that there is an ensign out there that was directly connected with one of the ships that were lost during the Falklands War that they would like to see permanently placed in Portsmouth as a commemoration then please do get in contact with Portsmouth City Council.

“Portsmouth has been the launch pad for so many different events and the number of ships that have left here for the Falklands.

“You can trace those connections back to the launching of D-Day, the sacrifices made during world war one and further back still.

“The annual service we hold for the Falklands gives veterans a focal point of commemoration which is very important to them."

“If we can make sure that we are building on that legacy and protecting our association with the Falklands veterans, that’s really important to us.”

If you are able to help Portsmouth City Council in their search for the flags then contact the main switchboard on 023 9282 2251.

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