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zulakitten | profile | all galleries >> South America: All Around the Edges - Jan. to March 2007 >> Falklands Battlefields: South America - Part 25 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Falklands Battlefields: South America - Part 25

Our second visit to the Falklands (within 10 days of the previous visit) was made in much gloomier weather. But perhaps that was more suitable, for on this occasion, we choose to join the Battlefields Tour. Our excellent guide, a man who had spent 37 years in the British miliary, but had been a full time resident of the Falkland Islands for the past 17 years, knew his subject well, and knew the terrain over which we were taken to visit these dreadfully poignant places.
The total lack of ground cover was apparent to everyone - where could the British soldiers possibly hide themselves, once they'd come ashore - under cover of darkness - in this bleak and totally open countryside? The Argentinean forces had invaded, remember, and so had time to find protection, albeit very limited. Moving over this very rough territory, carrying full packs of equipment as well as their weapons and ammunition, must have been gruelling - but within 74 days, they had prevailed, and the Falklands was once again free.
The cost was high, though - with some 258 British troops losing their lives in the struggle, and over 600 Argentineans dying, too. Mine fields still cover much of the open countryside - or camp, as they call it in this part of the world - but these will be cleared in due course. The Falkland Islanders say they know where the mine fields are - they are all clearly marked - and so no one goes there, but they also say that there are other places in the world where mine fields need to be cleared much more quickly, and so they are prepared to wait.
Mind you, it has been 25 years since the Falklands War, but memories are long here.
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Tenders preparing to leave Minerva II at the Falkland Islands
Tenders preparing to leave Minerva II at the Falkland Islands
Strange rock runs cover much of the open Falkland Island countryside
Strange "rock runs" cover much of the open Falkland Island countryside
The people who live here live close to the land
The people who live here live close to the land
Property values are simpler here, but they are fiercely patriotic
Property values are simpler here, but they are fiercely patriotic
Small farm holdings provide much of their needs
Small farm holdings provide much of their needs
A typical Falkland Island homestead in camp
A typical Falkland Island homestead in "camp"
An independent lifestyle  suits these Islanders
An independent lifestyle suits these Islanders
In a community hall like this one 200 Islanders were imprisoned...
In a community hall like this one 200 Islanders were imprisoned...
Part of the simple equipment needed for life in the islands
Part of the simple equipment needed for life in the islands
Point Pleasant, where many British troops died when their ships were bombed
Point Pleasant, where many British troops died when their ships were bombed
The monuments stand sentinel over the calm waters of the bay
The monuments stand sentinel over the calm waters of the bay
We are reminded by this monument of the sadness of war
We are reminded by this monument of the sadness of war
Wreaths laid in respect of the Falkland Islands War dead
Wreaths laid in respect of the Falkland Islands War dead
In 1982, this was a very different scene . .
In 1982, this was a very different scene . .
We all felt the very real sadness of this place
We all felt the very real sadness of this place
Regimental monuments stand above the waters of Point Pleasant
Regimental monuments stand above the waters of Point Pleasant
No place to hide
No place to hide
On the hill above the beach are several private memorials
On the hill above the beach are several private memorials
We pay our respects to each and every one of them
We pay our respects to each and every one of them
A lot of care has gone into these private memorials
A lot of care has gone into these private memorials
Memorials to the ships and men that were lost nearby
Memorials to the ships and men that were lost nearby
This tells the dreadful story so very well
This tells the dreadful story so very well
We visited each monument in thoughtful silence
We visited each monument in thoughtful silence
So few words to recall a life lived so short a time
So few words to recall a life lived so short a time
Falkland Island scenery - so open and exposed
Falkland Island scenery - so open and exposed
The small community of Fitzroy
The small community of Fitzroy
Homesteads are not large on these windswept islands
Homesteads are not large on these windswept islands
They have returned to the quiet life they treasure
They have returned to the quiet life they treasure
In this featureless terrain, the views are wide
In this featureless terrain, the views are wide
Curious rock runs are unique to the Falklands
Curious "rock runs" are unique to the Falklands
These offered little shelter to the soldiers from either country
These offered little shelter to the soldiers from either country
Battles for the few hills were hard fought
Battles for the few hills were hard fought
A souvenir of the reality of life in the Falklands
A souvenir of the reality of life in the Falklands
Small hills like this were all important during the conflict
Small hills like this were all important during the conflict
The peaceful town of Stanley welcomes tourists again
The peaceful town of Stanley welcomes tourists again
Our ship, Minerva II, at anchor in the Falkland Islands
Our ship, Minerva II, at anchor in the Falkland Islands