People out in force in Havant to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War

PEOPLE turned out in force in Havant to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War.

By Steve Deeks
Sunday, 19th June 2022, 8:24 pm

A parade made up of veterans and cadets marched through the town centre on Sunday to the tune of bagpipes as locals lined the streets.

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Leading the parade through West Street to the War Memorial at St Faith’s Church was The Rose and Thistle Pipes and Drums.

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The Falklands 40 parade through Havant. Picture: Mike Cooter (090622)

Wreaths were then laid as part of the service to commemorate the liberation of the island by British forces in 1982.

A service was led by Rev Canon Tim Schofield inside the church in front of representatives from the Armed Forces, past and present along with civic dignitaries.

The event was organised by Havant Borough Council along with the Havant branch of The Royal British Legion (RBL) and MP Alan Mak.

Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands on April 2, 1982, sparking three months of fighting, which cost the lives of 255 British and around 650 Argentinian servicemen.

The Falklands 40 parade through Havant, led by the Rose & Thistle Pipes and Drums. Picture: Mike Cooter (090622)

The Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines, Parachute Regiment, Special Boat Service and the Special Air Service played a key role in recapturing the South Atlantic islands – 7,000 miles south of the UK, with the war coming to an end on June 14, 1982.

Falklands veterans were moved by the event as they reflected on the first major conflict Britain had been involved in since the Second World War.

Portsmouth veteran Dave Smith, 60, was on the flight deck on HMS Hermes. He said: ‘Reality kicked in when we started taking in survivors from HMS Sheffield. Some had severe injuries and burns.

‘We saw one of our Harrier jets suddenly explode for no reason and were nearly hit but for the grace of god when the Atlantic Conveyor was struck.

Falklands veterans attending the memorial service. Picture: Mike Cooter (090622)

‘As an aircraft carrier carrying 39 aircraft we were crucial to winning along with HMS Invincible. Somehow we got through it.’

Graham Jarvis, 66, of Gosport, was on HMS Herald, a ship protected under the Geneva Convention treating casualties from Britain and Argentina. ‘It was horrific some of the burns we saw,’ he said.

‘There was a paratrooper who had lost the bottom half of his leg being the life and soul of the place in the ward.

‘On the way to the Falklands some of the young lads were worried and I was telling them there was nothing to worry about, but I didn’t know, no one knew.

Mrs Bella Birdwood (Deputy Lieutenant for Hampshire) and Councillor Diana Patrick (Worshipful Mayor of Havant) lay a wreath at the memorial service. Picture: Mike Cooter (090622)

‘The anniversary is a chance to remember those who made the sacrifice and to those still suffering today, of which there are many.’

Mayor of Havant, councillor Diana Patrick, said: ‘My thoughts are with all who lost their lives, along with those injured and the families affected.

‘I remember the Falklands conflict vividly. I recall watching as our forces came home having liberated the islands - grateful for those who had made it home safely but sadness for those who had lost their lives as a result of this conflict.’

Mr Mak said: ‘Having visited the Falklands to pay tribute to British servicemen and women involved in the liberation, I welcomed the opportunity to honour their service and sacrifice in Havant through our parade and wreath laying.’