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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
Services mark Falklands anniversary
The destruction of HMS Antelope
Images of the war still endure
Veterans of the Falklands conflict and relatives of those who died have been marking the 20th anniversary of the Argentine invasion.

It was remembered in Buenos Aires and in Port Stanley in the islands - where a 'liberation day' ceremony will take place on 14 June.

In Britain only one private ceremony was held - at the Falkland Island Memorial Chapel at Pangbourne College in Berkshire.

The services marked the events on 2 April 1982, when soldiers from Argentina's elite Buzo Tactico unit backed by a landing party of conventional soldiers captured the remote British colony.


In Pangbourne many people brought stones which will be built into a small stone monument.

All the warriors brought a stone from home and put it in a pile before they went off to their battle

Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward
The commander of the South Atlantic task force in 1982, Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward, explained that the "Stone from Home" project updated an old Celtic custom.

He said: "All the warriors brought a stone from home and put it in a pile before they went off to their battle.

"And then the warriors came back and they would take their stones away, leaving the stones to act as a memorial for those who had fallen."


The Argentine invasion led to Britain's biggest deployment of ships, aircraft and men since World War II, as a task force headed 8,000 miles south to recapture the islands.

The conflict cost the lives of 655 Argentinian and 255 British servicemen.

Images of the war, including the sinking of the cruiser Belgrano, explosion of the HMS Antelope, bombing of the landing ship RFA Sir Galahad and the battles at Goose Green and Wireless Ridge, remain vivid in many Britons' memories.

But 20 years on the mood between those who fought in the conflict is much more one of reconciliation.

I have respect for the heroism at the heart of this conflict

Argentine pilot Gerado Isaac

Argentine pilot Vice Commodore Gerado Isaac told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there were other ways of meeting his country's objectives now than going to war.

But he added: "I have respect for the heroism at the heart of this conflict."

British marine Lance Corporal Chris Pretty, who was in a "fire-fight" on the island on 14 June when Argentina surrendered, returned the salute.

"We watched Argentine pilots flow over us and we were gob-smacked at how brave they were - true professionals."

British since 1833

The anniversary will pass in a relatively muted fashion in Port Stanley.

Many islanders fear - and some Argentinian commentators hope - that Britain's negotiations with Spain over Gibraltar will set a precedent for capitulation over the Falklands.

The islands, originally colonies of France, then Spain, but never officially part of Argentina, have been in British possession since 1833.

British governor Donald Lamont said that even the 'liberation day' event would be more of a solemn remembrance ceremony than a celebration.

"It's called liberation day but it isn't quite like that. For the islanders too many people died for it to be a celebration."

The BBC's George Eykyn
"An act of solemn remembrance"
An islander remembers
"We had a continually traumatic experience"
The BBC's Brian Hanrahan
"He was trying to kill me"
See also:

01 Apr 02 | Americas
The Argentine military's lost cause
15 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Britain hails its 'friend' Argentina
18 Mar 02 | UK Politics
The Falklands: 20 years on
21 Mar 02 | Americas
Timeline: Argentina
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