Falklands 40: Headlines from The News on May 20, 1982

Back home, worries grew as an invasion to retake the Falklands was growing ever more likely.

Friday, 20th May 2022, 4:55 am

BacInvasion tension grows, anxious task force families wait

Fears grew among wives, parents, and girlfriends in the Portsmouth area today as the Falklands task force stood poised on the brink of an all-out invasion.

Reality struck harder as hopes for peace faded and their menfolk prepared to go into battle.

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The Falklands naval task force in the Atlantic

It was a time for task force families’ groups to draw together to seek comfort from each other.

The community officer on the giant married quarters’ estate at Rowner, Gosport (Mr Peter Crossley) summed up the feelings of wives and families: ‘They are starting to realise that the people they said goodbye to may not be coming home again.’

One task force wide spoke of the feelings of many at the weekly Southsea link-up of women and their toddlers: ‘It’s like waiting for a bomb to go up. You reach a stage where you pray that whatever has to happen does happen, because the tension of waiting is so terrible.’

Said one mother of four children: ‘It’s awful, but I would never try to call my husband home, even if I were ill. He is proud to be in the Royal Navy, proud to be representing Britain.

The News from May 20, 1982

‘I even wrote to the Prime Minister about it, something I could never have imagined myself doing a few weeks ago, because at the time she was getting a lot of criticism.’

Her friend agreed: ‘My husband is a serviceman. Both he and I believe he is doing the right thing. Of course I want him home, but not until the job is done.”

Last ditch peace drama

The War Cabinet, and later the full Cabinet, today considered a dramatic, last-minute intervention by United Nations Secretary General Señor Javier Perez de Cuellar in a bid to avert full-scale war over the Falklands.

Within hours of the UN negotiations collapsing, the Secretary General telephoned Mrs Thatcher and, in a ten-minute call late last night, appealed to her to make one last effort for peace. He made a similar phone call to President Galtieri of Argentina.

After the calls he said he was gloomy about the prospects and there were wide gaps between the two sides on points of substance.

New Zealand offers frigate

New Zealand has offered to make its frigate, Canterbury, available to Britain, to release a British vessel for service in the South Atlantic if the Falklands are to be retaken by force, New Zealand Premier Mr Robert Muldoon said today.

He told a London Press conference that he made the offer to Mrs Thatcher at a dinner in Downing Street last night. She welcomed it.

The Chief of the Defence Staff (Sir Terence Lewin), who was at the dinner, believed there would be a role for the Canterbury, which is now in Hong Kong.

‘Welcome O Regina’, Queen is greeted in Latin

The Queen spoke in Latin in Winchester yesterday at the celebration of one of Britain’s oldest public schools’ 600th anniversary.

She was greeted at the gates of Winchester College by a Latin speech from the Prefect of Hall, and later told the 570 assembled pupils: ‘Macte nova virtute, puer, sic itur ad astra.’She added, that in case any of the boys had difficulty in following her Latin, it meant: ‘Go to it with fresh courage, young man; this is the way to the stars.’

In the bright morning sun, the Queen, wearing a sage green suit, was welcomed at the 14th Century gate where she met headmaster John Thorn.