Of the 600 residents who were living in Stanley on 14th June 1982 when the Argentine surrender to the British Task Force, and the end of the Falklands conflict, 200 remain in the Islands. On 15th June 2012 a large number of those left gathered to reflect on the events of 30 years ago.
An evening reception held in the Stanley Town Hall brought the Liberation of the Falkland Islands events and remembrance to a close. The “Reception for Reflection” was held on 15th June 2012 for all who were resident in Stanley when the Falklands were liberated on 14th June 1982.
Many people left Stanley after Argentine forces invaded the Falklands in April 1982 to seek safety, in what is known locally as Camp (any area of the Falklands outside of Stanley). It was feared Stanley would be the focus of the invasion and the fighting. Unfortunately, in a horrible twist of fate some Stanley residents who fled to Goose Green were imprisoned by the Argentine forces in the Goose Green Club Hall and forced to live in terrifying and horrific conditions until liberated.
Other events have been held around the Falklands for residents of settlements and farms to commemorate the Liberation of their communities.
At the time of the invasion approximately 600 people decided to remain in Stanley and were there for the liberation of the Falklands on 14th June 1982 when it was declared that a white flag had been seen flying over the Capital.
Thirty years on and of the 600 people just over 200 remain in the Islands. The “Reception for Reflection” allowed those left to gather together with their families and veterans to reflect on the events that took place 30 years ago. 258 candles were lit in honour of the 255 British servicemen and 3 Islander’s who were killed in the conflict. Two of the candles were lit by family members of servicemen who lost their lives.
Of those 600 people who remained in Stanley in 1982 most moved to the town centre into the original stone cottages which with their 2 foot thick stone walls could provide extra protection from the fighting taking place outside. Life was completely turned upside down but of course it could not come to a standstill, people still had jobs to carry out; gardening had to be done, the elderly required more care than usual, chickens and other livestock had to be fed, shopping had to be done, rubbish had to be collected and houses left empty had to be looked after. The Argentine forces enforced strict curfews on all residents and all windows in people’s homes had to blacked out at night to prevent any light being seen from outside.
As I write this article I am sat in the living room of what was my grandparent’s home during 1982, where eight of my family members lived and slept during the invasion. It is hard to imagine sat here, now in beautiful peaceful Stanley what it must have been like: the fear, the anxiety, the unknown, the anger, the frustration.
Unfortunately due to the political situation surrounding the 30th anniversary of the end of the war these emotions are still felt today. However, Falkland Islanders are resilient people and are determined to further develop the Falklands for future generations.
By Roxanne King - SeAledPR - Stanley