Falklands War commemorated at IWM


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09 March 2022
HMS Antelope in San Carlos Water, 1982 HMS Antelope in San Carlos Water, 1982
Imperial War Museums is to exhibit Falklands collections items for the first time to mark 40th anniversary of the conflict.


From 2 April 2022, Imperial War Museums (IWM) will mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict. New exhibits at IWM London and IWM North will include items from IWM’s collection that will go on display for the very first time. The story and legacy of the Falklands Conflict will also be explored through a digital programme, including a new episode of IWM’s Conflict of Interest podcast featuring actor Katherine Parkinson.

On 2 April 1982, Argentinian forces invaded the British overseas territory of the Falkland Islands, followed by South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Despite being 8,000 miles away, Britain sent a task force of warships and rapidly refitted merchant ships to the South Atlantic. Fierce fighting in the air, at sea and on land culminated in the surrender of Argentinian forces in South Georgia on 26 April and the Falkland Islands on 14 June. 649 Argentinians, 255 British service personnel and three Falkland Islanders were killed. The outcome of the conflict was a turning point for the leadership of Margaret Thatcher and for Argentina’s President Leopoldo Galtieri, who resigned under pressure following the defeat. The 40th anniversary is an opportunity to improve public understanding of this conflict, the impact of which still resonates to this day.

New exhibits at IWM London will highlight eyewitness accounts of the conflict. Drawings by Linda Kitson, who was the first female artist commissioned by IWM to accompany troops into conflict, will be displayed alongside clothing, equipment and testimony of her time following British forces. Images by photographer Paul RG Haley, who covered the conflict for Soldier magazine, will also be on display. His photographs reflect the varied experiences of British and Argentinian forces on the Islands and capture pivotal moments in the campaign, such as the landings at San Carlos and the advance to Port Stanley. Many of Haley’s photographs have never been displayed before.

Haley’s photographs will also be projected in the galleries at IWM North, as part of a series of large-scale, newly digitised photos and film taken during the conflict. Other new displays at IWM North will focus on the stories of those who served with British forces during the conflict, including objects relating to Bolton resident Corporal Neil Maher, who served as a signals specialist with No. 656 Squadron, Army Air Corps. Maher set up ship-to-shore communications for crewmen of the damaged RFA Sir Tristram after the ship was bombed at Fitzroy on 8 June. Displayed for the first time at IWM North will be a two-part artwork by Michael Peel, which relate to a famous remark made by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher following the announcement that British forces had recaptured South Georgia from Argentina.

Through brand-new digital content, the museum will tell an in-depth story of the Falklands Conflict and examine its geopolitical context. Series two of critically acclaimed podcast Conflict of Interest will feature an episode on the Falklands Conflict. Actor Katherine Parkinson and IWM’s John Beales explore why the conflict happened, how it played out and its impact on the UK and Argentina. IWM will also be releasing a series of five short films on the conflict, explaining the extraordinary land, sea and air operation carried out by British forces to retake the islands. The first video in the series will be released on IWM’s YouTube Channel on 23 March. 

Photographer Paul Haley said, "I'm very flattered to have this body of work added to the IWM archives and I hope it will prove useful to many over the years to come. I'm also delighted that some of the works will be displayed at IWM London and IWM North. In 1982, I was privileged to photograph Britain's armed forces throughout their campaign to retake the Falkland Islands. These events changed many lives, including mine, and deserves to be remembered. In particular, I hope my photographs will bear witness to the effort, suffering and sacrifice which I witnessed during those difficult days."

IWM is delighted to be collaborating with Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby, to display one of the Roses for Peace, created by Argentine artist Juan Carlos Pallarols from bullets and ammunition shells used in the Falklands Conflict, in a collective effort with veterans and their families. Through a display and events April-July, IWM will explore local stories of the Falklands Conflict and Whitby’s connection to its twin town, Port Stanley. IWM’s War and Conflict Subject Specialist Network will collaborate with members to mark the anniversary, through a digital resource pack and online events beginning with a talk on 5 April about the role of the British Navy.


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