North West veterans mark the 40th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War

  • Report by ITV Granada Reports' journalist Paul Crone.

Forty years ago this week, in April 1982, Argentinian forces invaded the British overseas territory of the Falkland Islands. Argentina had claimed sovereignty over the islands for many years and their ruling military junta did not believe that Britain would attempt to regain the islands by force.

Despite the huge distance involved - the Falklands were 8,000 miles away in the South Atlantic - Britain undertook the extraordinary feat of assembling and sending a task force of warships and rapidly refitted merchant ships to the Falklands.

British forces landed on the islands on 21 May and, after a series of brutal battles on land and sea, the Argentinian forces finally surrendered on 14 June, 1982.

Over the course of 74 days, the lives of 255 British and around 650 Argentines were lost in the conflict.

Ian Winnard, who is from Bolton, was just 18 years old when he fought in the Falklands with the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.

Ian Winnard served with the Parachute Regiment during the Falklands War Credit: ITV Granada

He was at the bloody Battle for Goose Green, and also fought the last battle of the campaign at Wireless Ridge before entering the capital Port Stanley.

"In the parachute regiment, you're a trained killing machine to be honest", Ian said.

"That's what they trained you to do, they trained you to kill. The training is so tough. Mentally it was so tough."

Seventeen men from the regiment died in the Battle of Goose Green.

Fighting was hand to hand, bayonets fixed, a throw back to the Great War.

Lasting 74 days, the Falklands War was the first military action since the Second World War that utilised all elements of the Armed Forces, with 255 British personnel losing their lives.

The British Legion are hosting commemorative events, set to take place across the UK, to remember those who were killed or wounded in the Falklands War.