As a History teacher, I need to learn a lot of things. I’ve recently been teaching local history for a half term so that’s provided me with even more impetus to gain some wider knowledge of the history of these islands aside from my more specific 1982 conflict studies. The result of all of this is that I can answer a fair amount of questions that people might have about this place, so when a friend asked us to accompany him out to Camp to check out some old conflict sites, I figured I’d try to be of use. History teachers; never off duty!
First stop was San Carlos, the site of the British landing on 21st May 1982. It’s hard to imagine how different the scenes here must have been 34 years ago as it earned its moniker of Bomb Alley – the videos of the low flying Argentine jets attacking the armada stationed here are haunting.
The British cemetery there is a sombre reminder of the number of ships hit, the reality of the battles taking place and the care taken by those here to remember the fallen. Contrasting, then, was my first visit to the Argentine cemetery. The British government offered to return the numerous Argentine war dead but the military junta at the time claimed that, as they saw the islands as Argentine land and they had fallen there they should remain there. Sadly, this creates a difficult situation on a number of levels: for those on the islands, for the families of those that fell and for the government here to manage. There are, as you can see, certain rules that govern what can and can’t be placed at the cemetery but these sometimes get ignored and create a flashpoint with the local residents:
This is one of a number of ongoing issues about the conflict that I have yet to reconcile in my head and I will try to address soon. It is Liberation Day on Tuesday; a National Holiday here in the islands and sure to be a big celebration so expect some more historical updates soon (sorry).
Last on our round today was the Bodie Creek Bridge, just always a pleasure at sunset and still oddly bizarre to figure out its presence here for the sake of sheep:
Remember, if there is anything you want to know about the Falklands, life here or anything you’d like us to blog about please just let us know. I won’t ALWAYS make it historical.