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1982: First Briton dies in Falklands campaign

Britain has suffered its first casualty in the Falklands campaign before a single shot has been fired.

Petty Officer Kevin Stuart Casey is missing presumed drowned after the Sea King helicopter he was travelling in ditched into the sea.

Petty Officer Casey was in the Sea King's main cabin when the crash occurred.

The pilot was picked up by another helicopter from HMS Hermes but despite an intensive search there was no trace of his crewman.

The Defence Ministry will hold an official inquiry into the cause of the crash but bad weather probably had a lot to do with it.

Landing party

The Task Force is heading south to the island of South Georgia where a group of Argentines raised their flag last month and laid claim to the Falkland Islands, sparking off intense diplomatic efforts to avert a war.

The weather at sea is getting worse as the Task Force head south and it is making helicopter operations more hazardous.

Today the forecast for South Georgia was wind gusting to 70 knots with 30-foot (9.1m) waves.

The Defence Ministry is refusing to comment on Argentine reports that British warships are now lying off South Georgia with a Royal Marine landing party. But if they are there, the commandos would have to be ferried ashore by helicopter.

Apart from rescuing the 15 British civilians still on the island the main task will be to formally expel 100 Argentine Marines from the island and re-establish British rule.

South Georgia may be inhospitable but it will provide the Task Force with safe, deep anchorage and an operating base, and it is also beyond range of Argentine Air Force bombers.

Meanwhile in Portsmouth, work has been competed in converting HMS Herald and HMS Hydra into casualty ferries.

They have now sailed to join the second wave of the Task Force.

Their job will be to ferry wounded troops from the Falklands' beachhead to the hospital ship Uganda.

In Context
The following day the Royal Marines landed in South Georgia.

South Georgia was the island where the Argentine invasion of the Falklands began in March 1982, when a group of scrap metal workmen landed and raised the Argentine flag.

On 3 April, an invasion force followed and the 22 Royal Marines on the island were forced to surrender.

The air, sea and land battle for the Falklands lasted three weeks. More than 900 people died - 655 Argentines, 255 British troops and three Falkland islanders.

Argentine forces surrendered and peace was declared on 20 June.

Argentina still lays claim to South Georgia, and to the rest of the "Malvinas", although the two nations are now at peace.


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