Belfast to host event marking 40th anniversary of end of Falklands War

A series of lectures, memorials and other events will be held from this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War.

A Royal Marine guards Argentine prisoners during the war in 1982
A Royal Marine guards Argentine prisoners during the war in 1982

Belfast is among the locations to host an event later his year.

The aim is to commemorate the sacrifices made in 1982 and to celebrate the progress made in the islands in the South Atlantic over the past 40 years.

The war lasted for 74 days after Argentine forces invaded the Falklands on April 2 1982.

Three days later, a task force set sail from the UK, eventually involving almost 26,000 armed forces and 3,000 civilian crew, of whom 255 died during the campaign, as well as three civilian Falkland Islanders.

A total of 649 Argentine military personnel died.

Following several weeks of intense fighting, Argentine forces surrendered on June 14 1982, a date that has since been known in the Falkland Islands as Liberation Day and is a national holiday.

A Falkland Islands government spokesman said: “Falkland Islanders continue to be profoundly grateful for the strong support that the UK government continues to provide, in acknowledging our right to self-determination and our choice to remain a UK Overseas Territory.

“Today, the Falkland Islands is a forward-looking community, with a strong sense of culture and heritage.”

Margaret Thatcher Day is celebrated every January 10 in the Falklands, the anniversary of the first visit by the former prime minister in 1983.

Around 3,200 people live on the Falklands, with locally elected politicians responsible for all matters other than defence and foreign affairs.

On June 14, a special commemoration will take place at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for up to 10,000 people, mainly focused on veterans and their families.

Veterans will be formally presented with the Freedom of the Falkland Islands by a link to Stanley during the ceremony.

Events ranging from services and ceremonies to talks, exhibitions, conferences, receptions and competitions are being planned across the UK this year, including in Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chorley, Coventry, Derby, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Fareham, Gosport, Hereford, Hull, London, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Southampton and Whitby.

Other events include a photographic exhibition at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, west London, an essay competition for UK students to win a visit to the Falklands, and a series of Falklands-themed talks around the UK.