Portsmouth bar takes down Argentinian flag for Rugby World Cup after Falklands War veteran complains

A BAR in Portsmouth has had to remove a flag to promote the Rugby World Cup and apologise to a Falklands war veteran after he complained it was disrespectful to 'lost comrades'.

Saturday, 21st September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 27th September 2019, 6:23 pm

The Dockyard, in Guildhall Walk, displayed the national flag of Argentina as part of its promotion of the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, which started yesterday.

But a veteran of the war between the South American country and the UK said the flying of the flag was 'ridiculous.’

Mark Harris, who served as a Royal Marine Commando in the 45 Commando Group during the conflict, said: ‘My main battle was Two Sisters, and we lost a few good men along the way, which is why the Argentinian flag flying caught me unawares.

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The Dockyard pub, in Guildhall Walk, which was the subject of Falkland veteran Mark Harris' anger after displaying the Argentinian flag from its first-floor balcony in preparation of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Picture: Mark Harris

‘I knew it was for the rugby – I asked the venue to put it inside otherwise it may upset other veterans.

The flag was removed and replaced with the national flag of the Republic of Ireland last Saturday.

A spokesperson for The Dockyard in Portsmouth said: ‘Like many pubs in Portsmouth and across the country, we are promoting the fact that we will be showing the Rugby World Cup by displaying flags from the participating countries.

The Dockyard pub, in Guildhall Walk, after it removed the Argentinian flag from its balcony and replaced it with an Irish flag

‘Last Friday night we were contacted by a local resident who said that he had fought in the Falklands War and was unhappy that the Argentinian flag was included in the display.

‘We took immediate steps to replace the flag with an alternative one, in order to respect his wishes and ensure that no offence was caused.'

Mr Harris said the display brought back memories of fellow members of the armed services who lost their lives during the conflict, which saw the deaths of 255 British military personnel.

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Mark said: 'I know the rugby is on, I also love the game, but the flag flying opposite Guildhall square goes against my Falklands veteran grain.’

‘In life if you don’t stand up for certain things people walk all over you.

‘Others honestly don’t realise it may cause offence, so polite education often resolves most matters.’

In May the Falklands Islands government presented the city of Portsmouth with a flag to be flown by the Falklands War memorial, near the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth.