Kent experts votes for Falklands referendum

British soldiers parade in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, yesterday, as Falkland Islanders commemorate Liberation Day Photo: PA

Professor Mark Connelly, a military historian at the University of Kent and a leading expert on the Falklands conflict, has emphasised the importance of the move to give Falkland Islanders a referendum on their relationship with Britain.

He said: "The Falklands conflict ended thirty years ago this week. After 74 days of occupation, Falkland Islanders were liberated by British forces allowing them to return to their preferred form of government.

"In recent years Argentinean governments have stressed their claim and have tried to isolate the islands from the mainland of South America. It is in this atmosphere that the Falkland Islands government has recently announced its decision to demonstrate the wishes of the islanders through a referendum on their relationship with Britain.

"This will be an important sign to the whole world that the principles of self-determination protecting the rights of a free and peaceful people should be respected."

These themes - among many others - were explored in an international conference at Kent in April, organised by Professor Connelly of the University’s School of History.

On Sunday, veterans from across the country will gather in Aldershot to commemorate the anniversary.

Around 1,000 people will take part in a Drumhead Service at the town's military cemetery - where 18 of their comrades are buried.