Sunday, 21 October 2012

Falklands at Thirty in Camberley

30th Anniversary Falklands War Photo courtesy of the Royal British Legion http://www.britishlegion.org.uk

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War. For those that are too young to remember, Wikipedia describes the war like this…
“The Falklands War began on Friday 2 April 1982, when Argentine forces invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. The British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force, and retake the islands by amphibious assault. The resulting conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982, which returned the islands to British control. 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three Falkland Islanders died during the conflict.”

Margaret Thatcher announces to Parliament that the Falklands have been invaded by Argentina in 1982

On Remembrance Sunday, 11 November, we shall be particularly remembering the Falklands war this year. I know members of St Paul’s will be thinking about comrades they knew and fought with during that war, as we remain silent during our services. You might remember from the St Paul’s tribute last year, our own Vicar, Rev’d Mark Chester will be thinking about his friend and colleague who lost his life in the conflict. Our Speakers Corner host, Colonel (retired) Ivar Hellberg OBE, himself commanded a royal marines regiment in the Falklands war.

On Monday 12 November, we are extremely privileged to have Rev’d David Cooper, the Padre to the Second Battalion, The Parachute Regiment at the Battle of Goose Green, visit St Paul’s in Camberley for ‘Speakers Corner’. Ivar says: “David is very interested in the ‘just war theory’ and what is a right war and what is a wrong war. He gets very concerned about our commitment and operations in Iraq. He’s a lovely guy, a Yorkshireman, and the epitome of a good padre”.



I remember as a child watching the conflict unfold on national TV. I would rush home for daily updates, and commentary about how our servicemen were doing. Although the war only lasted just over two months, it claimed the lives of 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and 3 Falkland Islanders, and it’s effects are still felt by many today.

On 14 April 1982, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made this speech. In conclusion, she said: “The eyes of the world are now focused on the Falkland Islands. Others are watching anxiously to see whether brute force or the rule of law will triumph. Wherever naked aggression occurs it must be overcome. The cost now, however high, must be set against the cost we would one day have to pay if this principle went by default. That is why, through diplomatic, economic and, if necessary, through military means, we shall persevere until freedom and democracy are restored to the people of the Falkland Islands.”

So for me, the extended Remembrance Sunday will  not only be a chance to learn about the morality of war on Monday, from someone who has experienced it first hand, but to also show my support on Sunday, to those that have fought for my freedom, and overcome naked aggression.

Doors open at 7.30pm on Monday 12 November at St Paul’s, Crawley Ridge, Camberley, GU15 2AD. Light refreshments will be served at 9pm after the talk.  Places are limited, so to book your free tickets,  contact media@stpaulscamberley.org.uk. Questions may be sent in prior to the event.
To find out more about St Paul’s, please visit stpaulscamberley.org.uk or contact the office on 01276 700210.