A three day Falklands themed conference held at the University of Kent last week entitled 'The Falkland Conflict – 30 years on' was attended by a number of Islanders including Member of the Legislative Assembly Dick Sawle (left), confirmed Gilbert House today.
A release from the office of the Assembly said the Speakers list comprised a number of people with key involvement in the Falklands at the time of the Conflict, ranging from the politicians and the reporters to the military commanders. Subjects varied from the situation in Britain and Argentina at the time, through to a presentation on the modern day Falklands given by MLA Sawle.
Mr Sawle said: "I found the conference fascinating as it gave a huge firs- hand insight into the events surrounding both the invasion and also the liberation of the Falkland Islands. Many of the speakers were famous household names and their personal recollections were inspirational and often put a new perspective to well-known events"
He said Sir John Nott, Secretary of Defence in 1982, gave an insight into the decisions made at the time, when Britain was focused on the Cold War with Russia. He was very clear as to the enormous risks and difficulties involved in trying to liberate the Falklands.
On the final day attendees enjoyed a presentation jointly given by Major General Julian Thompson and Commodore Mike Clapp. They spoke at length about the command structure on the ground, and their personal experiences of the war. They spoke of the lack of equipment, the incredibly tight logistical lines, the lack of helicopters due to the sinking of the Atlantic Conveyor and the conditions on the ground. However, they also praised the high morale of the men, their dedication and the high standard of training.
Professor Jim McAdam then gave a presentation on the effects of the two Shackleton reports on the development of the Islands. The conference finished with MLA Sawle giving a presentation on the modern Falklands, the economic and social development since 1982 and also the political developments that had taken place since 1982.
Many people attended the conference. The delegates were made up of students, academics, members of the Falkland Islands Association, three former Governors and a veteran from 2 para. Including the speakers, some one hundred people attended over the three days.
A further report on the conference by Harold Briley will be in included in Friday's Penguin News.