Falklands 40: Headlines from The News, Portsmouth, on May 11, 1982

This was the front-page news on May 11, 1982, as the Falklands conflict intensified.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:55 am

Frigate blasts target

A Royal Navy frigate, ‘in company with other ships’, last night shelled a surface vessel inside the Falkland Sound - the stretch of water separating the two main disputed islands, it was understood today.

Whitehall sources said that the 2,815-ton frigate, using her 4.5-inch automatic gun, opened fire on the vessel and, within minutes, a large explosion in the area of the target was seen.

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British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in May 1982 Picture: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The sources could not give any details of the identity of the target vessel although it is known that several Argentine patrol craft were trapped in Port Stanley Harbour when the 200-mile exclusion zone was declared.

This is the closest that any naval engagement has occurred to the Falklands, and is proof that the task force is pressing ever closer to the shores and Argentinian positions.

Officially, the Defence Ministry would go no further than a statement which said: ‘A report has been received from the task force that, during the night, a surface vessel has been engaged with gunfire by one of H.M. ships close to the Falkland Islands.

‘Following the engagement a loud explosion was reported in the vicinity of the target.’

The Argentine occupation forces appear to be trying to maintain contact between their garrisons on East and West Falkland.

On West Falkland there are 1,000 Argentine troops. On East Falkland 1,000 are based near Darwin, and a further 4,000 of the better-trained forces around Port Stanley.

British beware: threat

Argentina today threatened to attack any British ship or plane heading for the Falkland Islands.

The high command said vessels flying the British flag, or British-registered planes bound for the operations zone or presumed to represent a threat to Argentina’s national security, would be considered hostile and treated accordingly.

It said the measure had been adopted ‘in view of Britain’s persistent aggressive attitude’.

A military communique from Buenos Aires today said Argentine forces on the Falklands had repulsed attacks by British warships over the past two days.

The communique said two British ships fired four salvoes at the capital on Sunday evening and there was further shelling early yesterday.

Time running out for UN chief

Mrs Thatcher was today chairing a special meeting of the Cabinet devoted exclusively to the crisis.

It followed on immediately from the now daily session of the War Cabinet at Downing Street.

Ministers were assessing latest reports of diplomatic and military developments. At the United Nations in New York, the talking was still going on to try and find a diplomatic settlement. But they are more and more becoming a race against time.

This was underlined by Britain’s ambassador to the U.N. (Sir Anthony Parsons) after meeting with Secretary-General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, yesterday.

Award for Drayton boy

Canoeing and computers are the special interests of 16-year-old Paul Thornton, of Gofton Avenue, Drayton, who was presented with the Chief Scout’s Award at a ceremony at Drayton Methodist Church hall.

Elder son of Mr and Mrs M Thornton, who run a Cub pack at the church, Paul attends Springfield School, Drayton, and will leave school in July if he can get an electrical or engineering job.

He will also take out a warrant as a Cub Scout Instructor and officially assist his parents with the Cub pack. He is a member of the 73rd Portsmouth (Drayton Methodist) Scouts.