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Montevideo, October 26th 2016 - 05:51 UTC

Churchill feared in 1942 the Falklands could be taken over by the Japanese

Monday, May 12th 2014 - 06:54 UTC
Full article 35 comments
Sukey Cameron: “more troops in the Falklands during WWII than nowadays”. Sukey Cameron: “more troops in the Falklands during WWII than nowadays”.

According to the Sunday Express wartime prime minister Winston Churchill feared the opening of a new front in the Falkland Islands and was so concerned about the matter that he sent about 1.000 soldiers to protect the Islands and ensure Britain would not have to retake them.

 Churchill’s South Atlantic nightmare is revealed by historian Stephen Haddelsey in his book “Operation Tabarin: Britain’s Secret Wartime Expedition To Antarctica”.

Apparently Churchill told his commanders he was worried the South Atlantic islands would be invaded by Japan, and used as a base to attack allied shipping.

The Sunday Express then quotes the Falkland Islands Government Office representative in London, Sukey Cameron who underlines that “in the ¬Second World War there were more troops on the Falklands than now. It just shows how ¬strategically important the -Falklands have always been”.

In 1942 Hitler’s armies were ¬blitzkrieging through the Soviet Union, Nazi U-boats were threatening to starve Britain out, and the UK suffered arguably its greatest defeat when its forces had to surrender ¬Singapore to the Japanese.

Two months later Churchill told his commanders that he feared Japan would turn to the Falklands. At the time the Islands’ only defense was provided by 300 local volunteers, armed with a few dozen rifles.

With British forces overstretched, America and Canada turned down his requests to provide a garrison. Churchill then ordered a battalion of soldiers on the way to India to be diverted and sent to the Falklands.

The military presence was scaled down in 1944, but Royal Navy explorers were sent to the region in a top-secret mission called Operation Tabarin to underline the validity of British claims to the Falklands.

According to Haddelsey: “the expedition was intended to bolster a sovereignty that had been weakened by decades of apathy and indecision by successive British administrations.”

Top Comments

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  • Britworker

    One would think if Argentina had always historically claimed them, then the onset of world war 2 would surely have been the best time to take them, being that the British fleets were so stretched around that time.
    Maybe historically and around that time they just weren't that bothered about them?

    I can't imagine the two airports, future port, rich fishing grounds, strategic proximity to antartica, thriving economy and their future oil fields would have made them more desirable in the last 30 years????????

    The grass is always greener 400km out to sea.

    May 12th, 2014 - 08:28 am 0
  • lsolde

    Never heard this one before.
    l know Churchill was worried that the Japanese would take over Madagascar.
    lf they had done so, they could have threatened, or even landed in East & South Africa.

    May 12th, 2014 - 09:19 am 0
  • Livingthedream

    Most in the UK never heard or cared of the FI before 1982.

    May 12th, 2014 - 09:57 am 0
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