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Portsmouth and Sheffield hold services to mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict

Tuesday, May 8th 2012 - 02:17 UTC
Full article 3 comments
The events were concluded with a ceremony of beating the retreat and a veterans' parade at Portsmouth Naval Base. The events were concluded with a ceremony of beating the retreat and a veterans' parade at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Hundreds of veterans and members of the public gathered on Sunday in Portsmouth and Sheffield to mark the 30 years since the Falkland Islands conflict.

A commemoration event was held at Portsmouth’s Anglican Cathedral while in Sheffield veterans and families staged a parade through the city before a service to mark 30 years since the sinking of a ship named after the city.

HMS Sheffield, a Type 42 Destroyer was struck by an Exocet missile on May 4, 1982, claiming the lives of 20 men. The Royal Naval Association marks the anniversary each year on the Sunday closest to the date.

The ceremony saw the parade circle the city centre, before those taking part gathered outside Sheffield Cathedral at 1.30pm. A bell was tolled 20 times, once for each of the crew lost in the attack.

In Portsmouth the service was held at the Anglican Cathedral led by the Very Rev David Brindley and included a sermon by Canon Roger Devonshire, who served for 24 years as a naval chaplain and who was on board HMS Hermes during the conflict.

Among the congregation were soldiers, sailors and air force personnel who served in the South Atlantic in 1982.

A Falkland Islander led tributes to Britain’s armed forces. Professor June Purvis, who was born in Port Stanley, read a prayer at the remembrance service at the Cathedral in Old Portsmouth.

She had moved to Portsmouth in 1972, a decade before Argentina invaded. But she remains grateful that Britain took back the territory and freed her family and friends who were invaded.

She said: ‘I feel very proud and I’d like to give thanks to the people of Portsmouth and all the armed forces that helped liberate the Islands.

‘I still know a lot of people living there, obviously, and they all think of themselves as very British. They were all horrified that Argentina invaded and they are very grateful to all those who liberated the Islands.’

Prof Purvis, who lives in Farlington, is Professor of Women’s and Gender History at the University of Portsmouth.

She said: ‘I feel honoured to have been asked to read a prayer today. I was quite nervous about it to be honest, but it was a good way of honouring all those people who died and all those who suffered horrific injuries to free the Falkland Islands.’

Following the service, a Royal Marines band led a parade to the nearby Falklands Memorial where a wreath was laid by veterans and dignitaries from the armed forces and local authorities. The events were concluded with a ceremony of beating the retreat and a veterans' parade at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: “This is an important day to remember the people who left from this city to defend the Falklands and to defend people's rights to choose who governs them and that is important for everyone.

”It is right to do that in Portsmouth as it is where the task force left from and we have to make sure we remember conflicts like this for the people who didn't come home.“

Retired Commander Steve Hopper, from Portsmouth, attended the wreath-laying ceremony to remember his colleagues whom he served alongside during the conflict.

The 50-year-old, who served aboard the Type 22 frigate HMS Broadsword, said: ”I feel this is important as 30 years ago I was down in the South Atlantic with lots of people, some of which didn't come back.

“Thirty years ago is a long time and for a lot of people it's like watching the World War Two news but it's still very alive for me. The Falklands was my first experience of combat as a young naval officer and it will always be something that sticks in my mind.”

A weekend of events has been held at Portsmouth Naval Base giving the public a chance to learn about the Royal Navy's role in the Falklands’ as well as the current force.

Canon Roger Devonshire, naval chaplain for 24 years and who was on board HMS Hermes during the conflict read a sermon at the ceremony

Top Comments

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  • Anti-Fascist

    Argentina is a product of colonialism, conquered by the sword, most of the natives killed and infected by disease, their land taken from them and worked by imported African slaves, oversean by imported European colonials. The African's who made up 50% of the population would themselves completely disapear from Argentina between 1850-1900 in what could have been a chilling fore runner to the disareances of the Dirty War in the 1970's when an estimated 30,000 Argentines were raped, tortured and murdered, many more were held illegally in detention camps and tortured. The true figure for the dead could be as high as 100,000, no one knows because there is little official documentation and most bodies were dumped in the sea.

    Argentina took land from its neighbours in numberous wars , civil wars and land grabs - Paraguay, Uraguay, Chile. Today Argentina despite the changed political landscape is still a nation characterised by uber nationalism. The claim to the Falklands was surendered in 1850 but reserected in 1941 by a fascist junta, which inc Peron, they thought their friends the Nazi were going to win the war, the Falklands looked easy picking.

    In 1982 Argentina was under the latest succession of a series of fascism military junta's. Their hold on power was looking precarious, in deperation they sort a war, Chile looked like a good victim, they already claimed lots of land and were ignoring the international tribunals that had ruled in Chile's favor. But then they changed their mind and invaded the Falklands. Today the war is romanticized by a nation ruled by a kind of cross between a Neo-Nazi uber nationalist and a Charvesta Revolutionary uber Marxist. The only thing missing is the land reform. Maybe that's for later? But as few natives remain, maybe they'll just ignore their rights... God knows they always have. An entire culture replaced by a European one. Entire languages destroyed.

    Timmerman should take time to read about his country's history.

    May 08th, 2012 - 02:39 am 0
  • briton

    long live the royal navy,
    and may she buy more acorns urgently .

    May 08th, 2012 - 06:32 pm 0
  • Uncle Sam

    Congratulations, and long may the Union Jack wave.

    May 08th, 2012 - 10:24 pm 0
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