Supported by St Helens Borough Council, the St Helens Veterans’ Forum – which brings all local veterans’ associations and clubs together – aims to gather the memories, letters and photographs of local Armed Forces and Merchant Navy veterans who served in the Task Force, producing a permanent historical archive of their experiences.
On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.
A Task Force was formed to liberate the islands, consisting of 25,948 UK Armed Forces personnel, alongside around 3,000 civilian crew from the Merchant Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Chinese civilian crew.
The conflict lasted 74 days, during which 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and three Falkland Islanders died.
Argentine forces surrendered on 14 June 1982, a date that has since been known in the Falkland Islands as ‘Liberation Day’.
Falklands veteran Terry Bates, who served in the Royal Navy and with the Royal Marines, is leading the Falkland 40 project, collaborating with the council’s Library Archive Service and Armed Forces Covenant Support Officer.
Terry said: “We want to produce a special historical archive of local Task Force veterans, recording the history of the campaign through our eyes; how we got there, what we experienced, how we returned and what it meant for our families.
“We aim to generate greater awareness to the service that you and your colleagues provided during the South Atlantic campaign, and we value any contribution you are able to make to allow us to commemorate its 40th anniversary.”
St Helens Borough Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Lynn Clarke added: “The council is honoured to once again have an opportunity to support our veteran community. This project will enable members of the Armed Forces Community to share their personal histories and family experiences to be recorded for future generations.”
If you can support the archive project with physical documents like letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings, then there is a Falklands War section on the St Helens Community Archive, where digital copies of documents can be uploaded.
Access and upload at www.sthelenscommunityarchive.org.uk/category/67/-falklands-war
If you would like to share your memories and stories please contact Simon Cousins, Armed Forces Covenant Officer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01744 676789.
If you or a family member have served in the Armed Forces and would like to talk with someone about any health or wellbeing issues, there are local organisations that can help, including:
Standing Tall Foundation Hub – Living Well Building, Borough Rd, St Helens, WA10 3RN
Colonel Andy Reid MBE’s charity – offering mental health & wellbeing programmes and pathway to work programmes. www.standingtallfoundation.org.uk
No Duff – Wonderland Community Centre, Canal Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 3JQ
Offering veteran mental health assessment, counselling, and support. 24-hour helpline 07944 440356 www.no-duff.com