ABF Falklands 40th Anniversary Dinner
For the brave men and women who sailed down to the bottom of the world 40 years ago to deliver a small island community out of the tyrannical grip of an occupying force, the Falklands Conflict will forever be etched in their memories.
But with every year that passes from their resounding victory, the risk of their feats fading into history, increases. That is why anniversaries are so highly respected and regularly commemorated by the military community. That is why ABF The Soldiers’ Charity’s dinner this year has such special resonance.
Tuesday 14th June 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands Conflict, which lasted from 2nd April 1982 to 14th June 1982.
In response to Argentina's invasion of the British territories of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982, the UK dispatched an amphibious task force to the South Atlantic, to regain possession of these islands and restore British sovereignty.
Despite a victory for the UK’s armed forces, which now represents a colossal milestone in our national story, the conflict resulted in the tragic loss of lives of 255 British servicemen and saw 755 wounded in the field of combat.
To commemorate the end of the conflict, the loss of life of British servicemen, and the support given to the families of the bereaved, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity will be hosting a black-tie dinner at Pangbourne College, where the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel is located. The event will bring together prominent ABF The Soldiers’ Charity supporters and veterans from the Falklands Conflict, to raise funds for the crucial work that the charity does. Guests at the dinner will hear short vignettes from veterans who served during the conflict.
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the Army’s national charity, supporting soldiers and their families through life’s challenges - whether that involves bereavement, injury, getting back to work, elderly care, and much more besides. Last year the charity supported 60,000 people in 63 countries around the world.
As one of the largest funders in the sector, the Charity awards grants to individuals, and grants to other charities that support soldiers, former soldiers, and their families. When the charity hears of a person or family in need, it aims to respond within 48 hours. Since 2020, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has spent almost £240,000 supporting veterans who served in the conflict, and their immediate families, both via grants to individuals and grants to 18 other charities including the Army Widows’ Association, Combat Stress, The Poppy Factory, Walking With The Wounded, Royal British Legion Industries, Defence Medical Welfare Service, Falklands Veterans Foundation, SSAFA, and SAMA (82).
I am delighted that the Betting and Gaming Council is sponsoring ABF The Soldiers’ Charity’s anniversary dinner. The organisation has a strong record of supporting the UK’s armed forces. In 2021, the Betting and Gaming Council’s members gave a share of the winnings from the Britannia Stakes race at Royal Ascot to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, and the RAF Benevolent Fund, totalling £450,000.
Commemorating the lives of fallen servicemen and women connects people who enjoy today’s freedoms with the sacrifices of earlier generations. That is why Remembrance plays such a vital role in our national consciousness. It is a gift we pass on, from generation to generation. And we must never forget the sacrifices, suffering and hardship of those who protected our democracy and way of life.
The Falklands Conflict liberated a small island community from an aggressive foreign power, in which British servicemen and women lost their lives in the protection of their countrymen. This was a just conflict and rightly deserves to be remembered across the United Kingdom every year.
Following the end of the Falklands Conflict, the UK Government designated the 14th of June as ‘Liberation Day, which celebrates the liberation of the Falkland Islanders from Argentinian occupation. Commemorations will include a thanksgiving service at Christ Church Cathedral in Stanley, followed by a wreath-laying at the Liberation Memorial and a military parade.
Charities such as ABF The Soldiers’ Charity are supporting Falklands commemorations and will continue to support veterans and their families who have been impacted by the conflict.
For more information about the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity’s important work, you can visit its website here.
Brigadier (Retired) Peter Walker OBE, FRICS is the Chairman of the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity in Berkshire