39 years ago, Operation Paraquet – a subsidiary of Operation Corporate – led to the successful recapture of South Georgia by British Armed Forces. This followed an initial incursion on 3 April by the Argentine military, which was one of the earliest flashpoints of the Falkland Islands War.
Today, South Georgia is known as one of sub-Antarctica’s most stunning beautiful and rugged islands, with a long and varied history, which over the years has inspired a very strong focus on conservation work in order to protect its spectacular natural environment and the wildlife that live in this remote location.
In 1982 it was also home to a group of scientists, based in Grytviken, who were undertaking vital research at the time of the attack. They were taken hostage until their liberation by the Royal Marines, Special Air Service and Special Boat Service, supported by HMS Endurance.
Following the surrender of the invading forces, Task Group Commander Captain Brian Young, sent the following message back to the United Kingdom: “Be pleased to inform Her Majesty that the White Ensign flies alongside the Union Jack in South Georgia. God save the Queen.”
In recent times, visitors have been drawn to South Georgia by the prospect of viewing tens of thousands of king penguins on a single, unspoilt beach or to walk in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton and pay tribute by his graveside; however the significance of what took place there on a cold April day, a little under four decades ago, will always be a part of the story of the Falkland Islands. FIG_PR)