ON April 20, 1982, after almost three weeks of diplomatic wrangling with Argentina, the British War Cabinet ordered the repossession of the occupied Falkland Islands.
Warships in the Task Force were already steaming the last 3,000 miles towards the invaded territory having left the British base at Ascension Island in the days before.
Meanwhile, the requisitioned ocean liner SS Canberra arrived at Ascension Island transporting 3,000 troops from the army’s Parachute Regiment and the Royal Marines.
United States officials appeared resigned that their efforts at a peaceful resolution had failed. A US cable from White House official Jim Rentschler on April 20 said: ‘The Argentines have not yet seen reason, and frankly I don’t think they ever will.’