Falklands : Falklands: Liberation 24 Report
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 14.06.2006 (Article Archived on 28.06.2006)
The 24th anniversary of the Falklands liberation from Argentina has been commemorated in Stanley.
Photo (c) J. Brock (FINN) Commodore Moncrieff, Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands, lays a wreath at the Liberation Monument.
FALKLANDS: LIBERATION 24
By J. Brock (FINN)
A day of ceremony and celebration, Wednesday, 14 June 2006, commemorated the 24th anniversary of the Falklands’ liberation from occupation in 1982.
A Thanksgiving Service took place in Christ Church Cathedral beginning at 0945hrs. H. E. the Governor together with Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands attended the service along with members of Legislative Council and representatives of the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, the Falkland Islands Defence Force and members of the Merchant Navy and youth groups were in attendance. Veterans from 1982, including local residents and a small contingent from the United Kingdom will also be present. During the service the standard for the Royal Marines Association (Falklands Branch) was dedicated. All of the founding members of the Stanley Branch of the Royal Marines Association were present. The service was conducted by Rev. Paul Sweeting of Christ Church Cathedral, Rev. Peter Norris of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Rev. Ken Newton of the Seamen’s Mission.
A remembrance for Captain Jim Philippson: (By Rev. Paul Sweeting)
“Captain Jim Philippson served here for six months here recently. He was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday evening in a fire fight with what was thought to be Taliban forces. He was serving with 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. His Commanding Officer, Lt Col David Hammond said that Jim was a top-quality officer in the best traditions of the regiment and the British Army and that he was a rising star in every sense who had a huge amount to offer. He is a tremendous loss and our thoughts are with his family and many friends at this very difficult time. It is to such as these that we owe our liberty. Today is a celebration and a remembrance.”
The Text of Rev. Paul Sweeting’s Address:
“You meet some interesting people in this job. Three years ago, I met someone called Steve. When I met him he was a fire fighter at Mount Pleasant. In 1982, he served here on HMS Spartan – a submarine. I briefly mentioned his account before but I want to go into it more fully today. At the time of the invasion here, HMS Spartan is on exercise off of Gibraltar. She’s tasked to come here as quickly as she can, so she puts into Gibraltar and the practice torpedoes are exchanged for the real thing. As you can imagine, there is a great rush.
HMS Spartan didn’t attract the headlines like HMS Conqueror for obvious reasons. But HMS Spartan was in theatre well before HMS Conqueror. In fact, she was the first here. It also perhaps means that she didn’t take on some of the stores that they would have liked to have done. Steve informs me that they ran out of two things during their service here. One was beer and the other was loo roll. He drew a vale over how they coped without loo roll.
But what was interesting was hearing about how they came right up to the narrows and peering with a periscope on this town. Right there, just a few hundred yards from where you and I are now – that’s where they were. A silent service looking in on the town, at that time occupied, and watching over the town to see what was happening. HMS Spartan helped to prepare the way for what was to follow – for the task force – hidden but present.
We will take another example. Like some of you I am sure, I recently got a copy of the recent SAMA ’82 newsletter. In there is a write up for the Vulcan Missions of the RAF supported by the Victor air-to-air refuelling aircraft - the longest bombing mission in aerial warfare until the Gulf War.
The missions themselves may not have don a lot in terms of actual damage but they signalled intent to both Islanders and to the occupying forces. They served to reduce the number of Argentine aircraft fighting all over the Falklands because it was realised that they could deliver an attack to the Argentine mainland. There was a re-direction of those aircraft that made them unavailable to attack the Task force.
No one had thought that such things are possible a few months before. The RAF didn’t. The submarine running out of loo roll and an elderly Vulcan – what did these mean in 1982? They signalled intent - a purpose – a down payment – they were a presence. They said that these Islands were considered by Britain to be British and they paved the way for the task force and signalled a presence in spirit that meant something that paved the way and paid for what we celebrate today – the Liberation of these Islands.
The Bible readings we have heard throughout our service. All contain a similar idea that picks up on the idea of God as Job would see it – as a watcher of men. As we give thanks for what was done in 1982 by the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, and as we remember people like Captain Jim Philippson, the British Army. As we give thanks and remember such as these we are reminded that sometimes what is possible at first is not everything but it is not nothing. Sometimes that first statement of intent is important because it paves the way and encourages those that need encouraging.
The Bible says that God wants to dwell with humanity and often talks of God as I have spoken about HMS Spartan, planes and soldiers. They are a presence in the darkness and hope in a time of fear and uncertainty – a light in a dark place. We are familiar with the idea of a presence that’s often hidden but still there. The Bible says we are familiar with such things. That is how God is with us by His Spirit.
Someone once asked a wise man how one seeks union with God and he replies that the harder one seeks the greater the distance there is between God and you. And, what do you do about the distance? The wise man answered that one must understand that it isn’t there.
Our psalm said that the Lord watches over you. The Lord is your shade at your right hand and that the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night.”
At 1100hrs a ceremony was held at the Liberation Monument. Over 200 people attended the ceremony where the guard of honour was provided by the Falkland Islands Defence Force. After prayers, said by the Rev. Paul Sweeting of Christ Church Cathedral, Fr. Peter Norris of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Rev. Ken Newton to the Seamen’s Mission, H. E. the Governor laid a wreath and wreaths will also be laid by Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands, by representatives of the Armed Services, veterans associations and by relatives and others wishing to do so.
A civic reception hosted by H. E. the Governor was held in the Falkland Islands Defence Force clubrooms from 1130hrs to 1230hrs. During the reception H. E. the Governor Mr. Pearce handed out certificates to all members of the South Atlantic Medal Association who are resident in the Falklands. The certificates commemorate the Freedom of Gosport that has been bestowed on the Falklands Families Association as well as holders of the South Atlantic Medal.
A free shuttle bus service will commence at 1120hrs from behind the town Hall to the FIDF HQ and back again at the end of the reception. There will be no door-to-door drop-off service.
It is appropriate for medals and decorations to be worn on this occasion.