Events planned to mark 40th anniversary of Falklands War

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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 April 2 1982.

A total of 649 Argentine military personnel died.

Following several weeks of intense fighting, Argentine forces surrendered on June 14 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 January 10 in the Falklands, the anniversary of the first visit by the former prime minister in 1983.

A street name and bust commemorating former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the Falklands capital, Stanley (Falklands Island Government/PA)

Around 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 around 13,000 mines finally fully cleared in October 2020.

Margaret Thatcher Day is celebrated every January 10 in the Falkland Islands (Falklands Island Government/PA)

“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 June 14, 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.

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, including in Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chorley, Coventry, Derby, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Fareham, Gosport, Hereford, Hull, London, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Southampton and Whitby.

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.

A bust of Margaret Thatcher and the 1982 Liberation Monument in Stanley (Falklands Island Government/PA)

“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.”

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