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Falklands' honors only New Zealand soldier killed during the 1982 war

Saturday, February 1st 2014 - 04:40 UTC
Full article 60 comments
“Young men like Richard Absolom died defending our freedoms & for that we will forever remember them” Mike Summers (pic.twitter.com/yBYdrXvWRn) “Young men like Richard Absolom died defending our freedoms & for that we will forever remember them” Mike Summers (pic.twitter.com/yBYdrXvWRn)

Falkland Islands Member of the Legislative Assembly Mike Summers attended on Friday a wreath-laying ceremony at Palmerston, New Zealand, to honor the sacrifice of Private Richard Absolon who was the only New Zealand solider killed during the Falkland Islands war in 1982.

 The ceremony remembering Richard John De Mansfield Absolon, or “Dickie”, as he was known to his comrades, took place at his former school Palmerston North Boys High

“It's a tragedy that young men have to die in war, but if they die in the cause of freedom, then they have done great work” said MLA Summers.

The Falklands lawmaker has been talking to governments in New Zealand and Australia during the past few weeks about the progress the Falklands have made since the war with the development of the fisheries, tourism and oil industries, and is working on the continued support from these countries as it faces a sustained aggressive attitude from Argentina which claims sovereignty over the Islands.

In 1982 Argentina invaded the Falklands and held on to the Islands for 74 days until they were defeated and expelled by a British Task Force sent to liberate them. Argentina however has never dropped its claims over the Falklands and other South Atlantic islands.

The Falklands' GDP has increased 15-fold since the war and the Islands are self sufficient and self governing expect for defense and foreign affairs which is responsibility of London. Last March the Falklands held a referendum in which the overwhelming majority voted to remain as a British Overseas Territory.

The result of the referendum had world impact and came as a huge blow for the sovereignty ambition of Argentina that bases its claims on territorial integrity and ignores the Falklands population saying they were 'implanted'.

Richard Absolon was born in England, but in 1972 his family moved to New Zealand, taking up farming in Marton. In 1980, aged 18, he returned to Britain and joined the army, where after six months' training, he was sent to 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment, and joined A company. He was later deployed to the Falklands, where he worked as a reconnaissance scout.

On June 13, 1982, the day after a successful assault on the enemy, he was mortally wounded by mortar fire and died later that evening, aged 19.

Palmerston North Boys' High have a plaque and memorial trophy dedicated to Private Absolon. The trophy is awarded each year to the pupil who has demonstrated outstanding qualities of fitness, courage, dedication and determination, as exemplified by Private Absolon.

“One of the tragedies of war, as many soldiers have told us, is if you go and fight somewhere and come back, and go back again years later, and it's still the same as it was before, that is a tragedy. In the Falklands, we have moved forward very substantially”, said MLA Summers.

The ceremony was attended by Private Absolon's stepmother, Gillian Absolon, who said she was not in favor of war, but was pleased that the future for the people of the Falklands was hopeful.

The school's memorial trophy, celebrating the traits her stepson exhibited was lovely, she said.

Top Comments

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  • Brasileiro

    Honor!

    Feb 01st, 2014 - 07:43 am 0
  • golfcronie

    Yes, something you know little about.

    Feb 01st, 2014 - 07:59 am 0
  • Britworker

    @1

    We shall defend our islands, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

    Winston Churchill

    That's honour, are very rare commodity indeed in South America.

    Feb 01st, 2014 - 08:51 am 0
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