The hymn of the Royal Navy, “Eternal Father Strong to Save,” was played during the service on 14th June, 38 years to the day the guns fell silent on the Falklands War. Our Churches’ links to Rosyth Royal Dockyard and the Royal Navy has always been strong. Many of our congregation moved to the area when based there with the Navy. Others have sailed in the Merchant Navy or have been employed in the Yard on one of the various projects. Even now with the Building of the Queen Elizabeth class Aircraft Carriers, Type 31 Frigate build or Submarine Dismantling Project.
The Royal Navy on Twitter said “On this day in 1982 the guns fell silent in the Falklands after a brief but bitter conflict to liberate the islands. At 9.30pm, Royal Marines raised the Falklands flag outside Government House. Victory in the Falklands cost Britain the lives of 252 men #LestWeForget“
During our twice weekly Blether chat after our services one of our congregation shared memories of when he served on HMS Plymouth the Type 12 Royal Navy Frigate. We are lucky to have many veterans from that campaign and many others who can share their personal experiences of conflict with us.
The British sent 127 ships in all as part of the task force (43 Royal Navy, 22 Royal Fleet Auxiliary, 62 Merchant Navy).
‘In 1982, HMS Plymouth was one of the first Royal Navy ships to arrive in the South Atlantic following the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Having to fire 999 rounds during the campaign itself.’
On June 8, 1982, HMS Plymouth was attacked by Argentine Air Force fighter-bombers – and hit with four 1000lb bombs and several cannon shells. While all of the bombs failed to explode, one detonated a depth charge and started a fire, one went straight through her funnel and two more destroyed her anti-submarine mortar. Five men were injured in the attack.
Then, at 2100 hours on June 14, 1982, the commander of the Argentine garrison in Stanley, General Mario Menéndez, officially surrendered to the British Major General Jeremy Moore, in her wardroom.”HMS Plymouth was the first ship to sail into Stanley Harbour to mark the end of the conflict.”
You can see 30 more photos from the war here.
The War lasted two and a half months and there was of course losses on both sides, the British suffered 252 killed, 775 wounded and 115 captured. The Argentinians lost 649 with 1675 wounded and 11313 captured. We remember and pray for those on both sides who paid the ultimate sacrifice but also those who came home wounded physically or psychologically.
We at Holy Trinity Dunfermline send our love and hold all who served or still serve to in our prayers. We hope we do not have to put anymore of our men and women through conflict.