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Montevideo, November 17th 2018 - 13:47 UTC

Thatcher secret documents on Falklands' war reveal her anxiety over casualties

Friday, June 19th 2015 - 06:02 UTC
Full article 67 comments
She wrote: 'The Union Jack was flying in San Carlos Bay. We had returned to the Falklands. My heart was full but desperately anxious about casualties'.(Pic Mail Onliine) She wrote: 'The Union Jack was flying in San Carlos Bay. We had returned to the Falklands. My heart was full but desperately anxious about casualties'.(Pic Mail Onliine)
'The Task Force had been dispatched with a speed and efficiency which astounded the world and made us feel very proud and very British'. (Pic Mail Online) 'The Task Force had been dispatched with a speed and efficiency which astounded the world and made us feel very proud and very British'. (Pic Mail Online)
Thatcher expresses anxiety when HMS Sheffield was destroyed, and 20 men died and 24 more were terribly injured as fires ripped through the ship. (Pic Mail Online) Thatcher expresses anxiety when HMS Sheffield was destroyed, and 20 men died and 24 more were terribly injured as fires ripped through the ship. (Pic Mail Online)

The Mail on line revealed on Thursday a secret handwritten account of the Falklands War by Margaret Thatcher. The 128 page, 17,000 word handwritten memoir of the 1982 conflict reveals for the first time her anxiety on the eve of battle and her joy at winning back the Islands from Argentina.

 According to the piece credited to Martin Robinson, “experts today declared it 'the single most significant historical document Margaret Thatcher ever wrote' - and was so secret only her husband Denis probably knew about it”.

It is one of several private documents released on Thursday charting her 11-year term as Prime Minister, including the 1984 negotiation of the multi-billion EU rebate and the start of her friendship with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985. All these documents have been donated to a Cambridge college in lieu of £1million of inheritance tax.

As to the Falklands document, Mail on line says it was written in secret a year after the conflict and reveals her anxiety on the eve of the British invasion on May 21 1982.

She wrote: 'The Union Jack was flying in San Carlos Bay. We had returned to the Falklands. My heart was full but desperately anxious about casualties'.

It also describes the decision to sink the Belgrano and her sorrow over British deaths on HMS Sheffield and HMS Coventry.

The conflict began on April 2 1982 when Argentina invaded the British Overseas Territory. Within days a British task force was sent on the 8,000 mile journey to re-take the islands.

Mrs. Thatcher wrote of the launch: 'The Task Force had been dispatched with a speed and efficiency which astounded the world and made us feel very proud and very British'.

After the fleet arrived in early May they set up an exclusion zone around the Falklands and then on May 2 the Argentine cruiser, General Belgrano was sunk by British submarines.

Mrs. Thatcher wrote: 'We decided that British Forces should be able to attack any Argentine naval vessel.

'The next day, Monday 3rd May, the submarine torpedoed the Belgrano which later sank. The two accompanying destroyers were not touched but were slow to pick up survivors from the Belgrano. We knew she had been hit but it was some hours before we knew she had sunk'.

But she also described her anxiety when HMS Sheffield received a missile attack and was destroyed, and 20 men died and 24 more were terribly injured as fires ripped through the ship.

Explaining her thoughts about telling the families she wrote: 'We never learned how best to announce grievous news'.

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  • zathras

    Maggie cared about casualties on both sides. You only ever hear Argentinian politicians praising Argentinian casualties.

    Has Argentina ever formally apologized or paid compensation to the people of the Falklands?
    Maybe something that should be brought up at the next C24.

    Jun 19th, 2015 - 06:54 am 0
  • golfcronie

    @1
    Sounds very logical but Argentina has no money, anyway if they said they would pay reparations I doubt they would. They borrowed US$ billions and stole it. Sorry they can't be trusted. Most Argies are lying bastards and if they can fleece you then they will, even their friends ( if they have any )

    Jun 19th, 2015 - 07:43 am 0
  • Skip

    I'm not sure an apology from Argentina would mean much when they continually talk about the mythical Malvinas.

    Jun 19th, 2015 - 09:18 am 0
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