2022 is the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War. 40 years ago Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Army units were deployed at pace from Devonport and Plymouth as part of British efforts to liberate the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. Plymouth-based units were involved in some of the fiercest fighting in the conflict. Devonport Dockyard played a pivotal part in the conflict with workers toiling 24 hours a day to ready Royal Navy and merchant navy ships for the long journey to the South Atlantic.
A national commemoration of the liberation of the islands in the South Atlantic will see events across the nation including special services at St Paul’s Cathedral and the National Memorial Arboretum. In Plymouth, the city will mark the anniversary with a significant contribution to the Armed Forces Day activities, talks, moments of remembrance and events to renew Plymouth’s long-standing partnership with the Falklands.
Great Western Railway, the University of Plymouth, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines as well as veterans organisations from SAMA 82 to the Royal British Legion have been involved in the preparations for the anniversary events in Plymouth. Events in Plymouth include:
- A significant Falklands contribution to Armed Forces Day in Plymouth including a veterans’ parade
- Talks organised by the University of Plymouth to help tell the story of Plymouth’s role in the conflict
- A special anniversary service at St Andrews Minister Church for veterans of the conflict
- The Official 40th Anniversary Of The Falklands Conflict Flag Raising, an evening’s entertainment with The Band Of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines in St Andrews Minister.
- Special exhibition of never before seen historic artefacts at the Box
- Unveiling of a special plaque to Devonport Dockyard workers in Devonport
Chris Jones from the South Atlantic Medal Association 1982 said:
“The South Atlantic Medal Association (82) are looking forward to commemorating the sacrifices made by both veterans and civilians at the 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict in 2022 and the lives lost. Nearly 30,000 medals were awarded to all personnel who took part in the operations in the South Atlantic or their next of kin, which underpins the seriousness and extent of the operation.
“SAMA (82) spend a huge amount of time working with other organisations to support the interests of Falklands veterans, and similarly for this upcoming series of events we are busy working together with organisations across the city and country to make sure the sacrifices made are honoured appropriately, sensitively and with due consideration to everyone involved. We hope this will also help in one of our main endeavours, which is to maintain and strengthen links with the people of the Falkland Islands.”
Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, who has chaired the anniversary committee said:
“Plymouth’s contribution to the liberation of the Falklands is a story that is not fully told. That is why this anniversary is so important that we not only only remember those we lost in the South Atlantic but the incredible effort of those in our city to the war effort. From the dockyard workers pulling 24 hour shifts to get ships ready, to the military units preparing and sailing for Falklands. This anniversary will be the last time that many Falkland veterans will be alive and so I hope the city join the veterans and our armed forces in retelling the stories from 1982 and paying respects to those who never returned from the South Atlantic.”
Commodore Peter Coulson, Naval Base Commander of HMNB Devonport said:
“I am pleased that the Naval Base will play its part in the events to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Falklands Conflict. Many of the Task Force’s ships were prepared in Devonport Dockyard with remarkable work achieved in extraordinarily short timescales – and subsequently, after prevailing in the most challenging conditions of the South Atlantic, returned home to rapidly restore the ships for future operations. It was a period that showed the best that Devonport Naval Base has to offer – a spirit that continues today and has been essential in the incredible effort by all of our people in continuing operations during the COVID global pandemic. We are very much looking forward to marking this anniversary with a series of interesting and poignant events.”
Plans to mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands in Plymouth have been in preparation for six months with Luke Pollard MP chairing a special commemorative committee of veterans, the City Council and the Royal Navy. The anniversary will see Plymouth and Devonport’s story told as never before with events across the city and the region. These veteran-led events will seek to remember those lost in the Falklands Conflict in 1982 and the contribution made by Plymouth’s military and civilian population to the effort.
Further announcements will be made in due course.