Remembering


It will have been (rightly) hard to escape the fact that yesterday marked 100 years since the guns fell silent on the Western Front and elsewhere. It is also hard to escape the fact that the Falklands has seen blood spilled on its soil in conflict in living memory. I often say to visitors that you need to understand 1982 to understand the Falklands today. It sounds obvious, as history ultimately explains everything about our World today, but this is more pronounced and specific to one key event here. The effects of 1982 are wide-ranging and long-standing, but on a day like Remembrance Sunday, the conflict once again casts its light over the Falklands. The commemorations in Europe and elsewhere have received a lot of press coverage so for those wondering how this occasion passed in the Falklands Islands, the annual traditions were complimented by a local campaign.

Each year on Remembrance Sunday, a military parade makes its way to the Cross of Sacrifice overlooking Stanley Harbour, where the forces and civilians gather in as much of a crowd as a small population can muster. The Governor then begins the wreath-laying ceremony and the names of all those from the Falklands who have died fighting in major conflicts of the 20th century are read out before the Victory guns (two small calibre guns on Victory Green) and a bugler signal the start and end of the two minute silence. Wreaths are also laid at the many other memorials dotted around the Islands.

This year, I was privileged to be part of the There But Not There campaign, helping my students at the secondary school to research and write up whatever we could find about the 22 men from the Falklands who died on active service during WWI. As a result of this project, it was discovered that Robert Greenshields Douglas had been missed out and, for the first time, his name was read out alongside the others on the Roll of Honour at the service. The rest of the information is on display in the excellent Museum in Stanley and it was astonishing to see that such a small population lost such a high percentage of its men for those four years and after (many of them paying their own way to Britain). The There But Not There campaign also brought down some striking figures of WWI Tommies to represent these lost souls and their presence added a powerful backdrop to the commemoration. The photos below are from the British Forces South Atlantic Islands collection, as I tend not to take photos at solemn occasions like this; the presence of a ‘selfie stick’ at the memorial going quite a long way to proving pretty much everything wrong with the 21st century.

Image may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Credit: BFSAI Falklands

The only hindrance to the day was the fact that a multi-faith or secular approach was not adopted in this diverse society. Sadly, there was little escaping the Christian insistence on dominating occasions that should not be motivated by religion and I can only hope that the Falklands and other nations take a more progressive approach to this in future years.

4 thoughts on “Remembering

  1. Hi Bailey,

    Excellent update as usual. Do you know what upsetsomeone about the service? (Letter in Penguin News). And well done to discovering about the “new” Islander killed in Action. We saw “Wipers Times” last night. Excellent protrayal of life in the WW1 trenches (or just behind them. Worth getting the DVD about it.

    Cheers

    Peter

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    • Thanks Peter. I’ve not seen the PN yet this week so I’ll have a look later and get back to you on that one.
      I can’t claim to have been behind the discovery of Robert Douglas but the project did dig up some fascinating information and it was a very proud moment to see the students presenting it in the Museum.
      There was a great TV-movie done by the BBC on the Wipers Times, I’ve seen that a few times, it’s an excellent story. I heard it was doing a short stint on stage, but distance dictates missing it as usual.
      Milo had a haircut the other day, made us think of you guys. Missing you both.
      I’ll be in touch about the PN.

      Bailey, Han and Milo

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  2. Bailey, I have a friend coming into Stanley on November 22nd. His ship is docked between 0730 and 1600 hours. Would you be prepared to have a coffee with him? He wants to get a view of the Falklands other than going from tourist shop to tourist shop!! His name is Richard Oates, ex-Kenya guy, living in Perth, Australia. Let me know? Kind Regards, Sean (Jackson)

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    ________________________________

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    • Hi Sean,
      I think Hannah mentioned that she was needing to get back to you. I should be able to meet him, not a problem. He’ll be on Silver Explorer then. I’ll be able to do a little better than a coffee I should think. I’ll get Hannah to get some contact details from you or we’ll set up a meeting point. Let him know I’ll be happy to show him about (though Hannah has a busy week at work that week).

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