1. ITV Report

Britain and Argentina remember Falklands conflict

Margaret Allen touches the name of her late husband, Able Seaman Iain Boldy at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Photo: Press Association

On this, the 30th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland islands, families gathered at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire to pay their respects to the 255 men who died, on ships and on the battle-fields of the Falklands, liberating the islands.

It took 74 days to achieve and cost more than 600 Argentine their lives, too.

Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to those who had died on both sides of the conflict. He also said that the Falkland islanders have a right to "determine their own future".

Britain remains staunchly committed to upholding the right of the Falkland Islanders, and of the Falkland Islanders alone, to determine their own future. That was the fundamental principle that was at stake 30 years ago: and that is the principle which we solemnly re-affirm today.

– David Cameron, Prime Minister
A service was held today at the National Memorial Arboretum. Credit: Press Association

In Argentina's capital Buenos Aires, the occasion was less calm with demonstrators attacking the British Embassy in protest at what they see as the British occupation of the islands.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner addressed war veterans at a ceremony in the Patagonian city of Ushuaia - Argentina's most southerly point.

She criticised Britains "absurd and ridiculous" claim to the islands and called once again for a dialogue with the UK on their future.

It is unjust that, in the 21st century, there are still colonial enclaves such as the one we have here a few kilometres away. There are 16 such colonial enclaves in the world and they belong to the UK. Justice, we also claim so that they do not continue to harm our natural resources, our fisheries, our oil.


ITV News' International Editor Bill Neely reports:

A single candle was lit at Staffordshire's National Memorial Arboretum's Millennium Chapel and will be left alight for the 74 days of the conflict. Widows of fallen soldiers gathered there today for a remembrance ceremony.

Initiated by the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA 82), a memorial to the servicemen who were killed during the conflict will be unveiled at the Arboretum on May 20, in front of more than 600 veterans.

Craig Jones was the last British soldier to die during the Falkland's conflict.

His mum and dad, Pamela and Richard, have bought and named an island in the Falklands after their son. To watch the couple's interview with ITV Anglia, click here.

Richard and Pamela Jones lost their son Craig during the Falklands conflict. Credit: ITV News

Here those who fought in the conflict and the mother of a soldier killed in service share how the war changed their lives forever.

Argentine soldiers line up to hand in their weapons to Royal Marines near Port Stanley. Credit: Press Association

The anniversary of the conflict has attracted some criticism that UK forces are no longer equipped to defend the islands.Admiral Sir John Woodward, who led a task force in the conflict, told The Times (£) that the UK could not fight another Falklands war with its current inability to launch fighter jets at sea.

The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond rejected the claim:

We are very clear that our position in relation to the Falklands is that we will be robust in defence of the Falkland Islands but we do not intend to repeat the mistake of 1982 and allow the Falklands to be taken from us.We will defend them robustly, we have the assets, the people, the equipment in place to do so. Despite the rhetoric of the media, there is no evidence at all of any military intention by Argentina nor any military capability by Argentina to attempt to retake the Falkland Islands.

– Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.