A weekend of events starts today, honouring the contribution local men and women made during the Falkland Island conflict three decades ago. The campaign lasted just 11 weeks, but it had a devastating effect: 130 naval personnel were killed, 257 were wounded, and six ships were lost.
Today visitors to Portsmouth will be able to visit HMS Dragon, the newly commissioned Type 45 Destroyer and HMS York, a Type 42 destroyer that was launched in 1982 and spent time in the Falklands in 1985. A civic event at the historic dockyard will also officially launch the covenant, commemorating the navy's involvement in the conflict. It'll be played out to the Band of HM Royal Marines, Collingwood and the RM Volunteer Cadet Corps Field Gun Display Team performing in Victory Arena.
It saw 18, 000 servicemen and women sail in the Falklands Task Force of over 100 ships. Those from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Queen Alexandra's Royal Navy Nursing Service and the Merchant Navy all played a vital role, and will be remembered today.
Here's a full list of the weekend's events:
Band of HM Royal Marines, Collingwood
Starboard Arena of HMS Victory, 11:00 & 15:00 (both days)
Salutes to be taken at both & veteran Standard Bearers will be present at 15:00 on Sat 5th May.
RM Volunteer Cadet Corps Field Gun Display Team
Starboard Arena of HMS Victory, 12:30 & 14:00 - Saturday 5th May
Rose and Thistle Pipes and Drums
Starboard Arena of HMS Victory, 12:30 & 14:00 - Sunday 6th May
13:00 on Saturday 5th May:
'From Trafalgar to The Falklands - A History of Hospital Ships Over The Centuries'
A 45-50 minute illustrated presentation covering the history of hospital ships from the seventeenth century to the present day. This is a fascinating & well researched history that Nicci Pugh, herself a former serving Naval Nursing Sister, presents in a lively & approachable manner accompanied by vibrant images of hospital ships from their formative days to how they are managed by different nations today. A chance to ask questions as the end of the talk.
15:30 on Saturday 5th May and Sunday 6th May:
'White Ship - Red Crosses - A British Hospital Ship at War'
This inspiring, informative & fascinating presentation illustrates the role of a modern-day floating hospital ship working 8,000 miles from home in the South Atlantic Ocean during The Falklands War.
Presenter Nicci Pugh, who served throughout the Falklands War as a Trauma Operating Theatre Sister on board Her Majesty's Hospital Ship Uganda relays the history in a sensitive & thoughtful delivery, covering all aspects, from helicopter evacuation of casualties from the battlefields ashore & at sea, to the repatriation of recovering patients to UK by sea & air. The talk completes with up- to-date images of The Falkland Islands today, which include excellent shots of the rare black-browed albatross nesting off remote West Falkland Islands. Signed copies of the new, revised edition for the 30th anniversary of The Falklands War of author Nicci Pugh's White Ship - Red Crosses. A Nursing Memoir of The Falklands War will be available after Q&As.
Penny Legg - Under the Queen's Colours - 60 years of service memories
11:30 on Saturday 5th May
11:30 & 13:00 on Sunday 6th May
Under the Queen's Colours is a Diamond Jubilee commemorative book of service reminiscences from current military personnel and veterans, who have served under the Queen's colours in the sixty years of Her Majesty's reign. There are stories, poems and anecdotes happy and sad, laugh-out-loud funny and that will bring a lump to the throat from UK, Australian and New Zealand forces, male and female. The book will raise funds for the RN/RM Charity, ABF The Soldier's Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Other events taking place as part of 'Remember the Falklands' weekend:
Saturday 5 May - Community Covenant Event
To mark the signing of the Community Covenant, Portsmouth City Council, in partnership with the Royal Navy, intends to host a civic event in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to formally present and officially launch the covenant as part of 'Remember the Falklands'.
The event will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth's Naval Base Commander, servicemen and women and their families as well as veterans.
· 10.55am - presentation of the covenant
· 11.00am - ceremonial marching display by Band of HM Royal Marines Collingwood Band (20-25 mins)
Sunday 6 May: Memorial Service, wreath laying service and march past
Portsmouth City Council and St Thomas's Anglican Cathedral will be holding a memorial service, wreath laying ceremony and march past as part of 'Remember the Falklands'
· 11.00am - Veteran standard bearers and the RM Marching Band lead the Civic procession including Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and representatives of the Armed Forces to St Thomas's Anglican Cathedral
· 11.15am - service at St Thomas's Anglican Cathedral, attended by local servicemen and women, their families, Falklands' veterans, invited guests and the public. The service will include a performance by the Band of HM Royal Marines.
· 12.00pm - Civic procession to make its way to the Falklands' Memorial in Broad Street, Old Portsmouth where VIPs and representatives of local veterans organisations will each be invited to lay a wreath.
· 12.30pm - March past led by the Band of HM Royal Marines and Falklands' veterans along Broad Street past the memorial where the Lord Lieutenant will take the salute.
Falklands Conference at The National Museum of the Royal Navy - 19th, 20th May
Later in the month (19th and 20th May) there will be a conference at the National Museum of the Royal Navy - Falkland's Thirty Years On. This conference will provide new, early career and established scholars the opportunity to present new research and perspectives on the 1982 Falklands Conflict. It will focus on the war at and from the sea.
Panel topics include; lessons learned and lessons forgotten, logistics, intelligence and policy, war memory, the role of women, the cultural history of the conflict, and battlefield archaeology.
Speakers include: Professor Richard Thornton (George Washington University), Dr Ben Jones (King's College London), Dr Phillip Grove (Britannia Royal Naval College) and Dr Tony Pollard (University of Glasgow) and a keynote address by Dr John Lehman, US Secretary for the Navy (1981-1987).
It was exactly 30 years ago today that news was released about the sinking of HMS Sheffield during the Falklands War. The event is being remembered throughout the south, including an exhibition at the Royal Navy's Historic Shipyard in Portsmouth.