Falkland islanders mark 20th anniversary of war

 

The 20th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands is being marked today.

On April 2nd, 1982, thousands of troops from the South American country landed on the islands to claim the remote British territory.

It was to lead to a 72-day war, involving nearly 40,000 men and killing 655 Argentinean and 236 British servicemen.

In the early days of the crisis, few people in Britain had heard of the islands, some 8,000 miles away in the South Atlantic.

But soon after news of the invasion broke, then British Prime Minister Mrs Margaret Thatcher said: "It is the Government's intention to see that the Islands are freed from occupation and are returned to British administration at the earliest possible moment".

The descent into war started when a group of scrap metal merchants raised the Argentinean flag on South Georgia on March 19th 1982, prompting protests from the Governor, Sir Rex Hunt, and an appeal for help from Britain.

When a larger Argentinean force arrived on East and West Falkland on April 2nd, a detachment of Royal Marines were forced to surrender. The seizure was followed by the capture of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Group, 1,000 miles to the east the next day.

PA