Falklands' preparations for commemoration of the great naval battle of 1914
Commemorative events to mark the centenary of the Battles of Coronel and the Falklands were brought to the table by the Falkland Islands 1914 committee. Chair of the committee MLA Phyl Rendell said the committee split into two working groups last year to organize the schedule of events and to progress the memorial wall plans.
The Falkland Islands government has allocated £50,000 to fund events, “this is not a vast number of funds compared to June 14 events” said MLA Rendell, but a, “good core” to work with.
She said the funds would be split between a memorial wall, social events and transporting the families of significant naval figures involved in the battle descendants of families to the Falklands from Germany and Britain.
It was decided that events should be, “a commemoration, not a celebration ...to recognize the human losses,” said MLA Rendell.
Military Liaison officer Gareth Westlake confirmed a band and a large number sailors would be made available to take part in the parade.
HMS Clyde, HMS Dragon and RFA Gold Rover are confirmed to be taking part and HMS Protector may also be in attendance. Small boat owners are encouraged to join in to sound their horns at significant commemorative times.
Research is being carried out to find the youngest descendants of the eight FIDF members who died in the Canache during this period so they can be invited to take part.
Other research by Tim Miller has also revealed that Admiral Sturdee had a direct link with the First Falklands Scout Group.
Letters were found documenting the Admiral’s acceptance to the invitation of becoming the group’s patron, alongside the request of renaming the group to include the prefix ‘Admiral Sturdee’s own.’
“We don’t know if the name was used at the time but in recognition of the request the Scout Group will adopt the name this year,” said Mr. Miller.
A wall is being constructed to bear a visual representation of the Battle of Coronel and the Battle of the Falklands and both German and British naval dignities involved.
“This is an entirely new concept to commemorate instead of celebrating the victory,” said committee member Richard Cockwell who hoped other countries would adopt the concept too.
Planning permission has been approved for the wall to be constructed in the flower bed area by Sure.
“The idea is to compliment the current memorial not overwhelm it,” said Mr Cockwell.
A commemorative call-sign will open from the dates of the battles with a collectable QSL Card to be specially designed.
Janet McLeod explained that the amateur (Ham) radio reaches people all over the world and the last time a call-sign was made available more than 4,500 contacts
were made in four days. This call-sign will be open for a month and available at the Post Office, and could reach thousands of people.
British Forces radio manager Antony Ballard attended the meeting and said the station would create promotions for the events and could create features that carried the story of the Falklands, and they would be made available for use by FIRS. Opportunities to broadcast on BFBS television and link in Falklands’ events with BBC coverage of WWI remembrance are being investigated.
A website has been created to give the public access to the full schedule of events. Private events that want join the official list or benefit from advertising, are also encouraged to come forward through the website: www.falklands2014.org.uk .(PN).-