Falklands Conflict Time line

The Falklands Conflict started April 2 1982, but before the first shots were fired, there were other incidents leading up to the first enemy contact.These are some of the events leading up to and during the conflict of 1982

By errol edwards
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 3:23 pm

March 19: 40 Argentine scrap metal workers landed at Leith Harbour, an abandoned whaling Station on South Georgia island; they immediately raised the Argentine flag claiming the Island for Argentina.

March 21: HMS Endurance sails from Port Stanley to South Georgia a distance of approximately 1000 miles, with a detachment of Royal Marines.

March 25: The Royal Marines land on Georgia and proceed to monitor the situation.

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The Task Force commanders, Major-General Jeremy Moore, commander of the Falkland Islands Land Forces, and Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward (right), overall commander of the Task Force together aboard the flagship, HMS Hermes, during the Falklands campaign.

April 1: In response to the escalating situation, Royal Marine Commandos take up defensive positions around Port Stanley.

April 2: A large Argentinian force invades the Falklands Islands, the Royal Marines puts up a ferocious defence inflicting casualties on Argentine Forces.

However due overwhelming Argentine numbers Sir Rex Hunt the Governor of the Falklands Islands. Instructs the marines to surrender.

The marines are taken captive and flown out to Montevideo the capital of Uruguay then surprisingly back to the UK.

02/06/1982 of the ground where over 1,200 Argentinian soldiers surrendered to British forces and laid down their arms in the Falklands War. The 20th anniversary of the invasion of the Falklands by Argentine forces will be on April 2nd, 2002. PA Photo.

April 3: The Argentine Forces invade South Georgia.

South Georgia is approximately 1000 miles south west of the Falklands Islands.

A British military operation code named Operation Paraquet is launched to recapture the Island using British special forces (SAS and Royal Marines)

April 4: HMS Conqueror, a Churchill class nuclear powered Submarine leaves its naval Base in Faslane, Scotland.

Survivors from HMS Sir Galahad (ablaze in the background) are hauled ashore by colleagues at Bluff Cove, East Falkland, after the ship was hit by an Argentinian air attack on June 29, 1982, during the Falklands conflict.

April 8: HMS Broadsword and Yarmouth who were on exercise, leave Gibraltar and set sail for the Falkland Islands

April 9: SS Canberra a P&O ship is commandeered and used as a troop carrier, leaving Portsmouth carrying 3 Para ( Parachute Regiment ), 40 and 42 Commando Royal Marines.

April 12: Britain imposes a 200 mile Maritime exclusion zone around the Falkland Islands.

April 14: HMS Brilliant , Glamorgan, Alacrity, Broadsword and Yarmouth leave Ascension Island en route to the Falkland Islands

17/06/1982 of a Royal Marine of 40 Commando searching an Argentine prisoner at Port Howard on West Falkland, following the surrender of the Argentinian armed forces in the Falklands war. The 20th anniversary of the invasion of the Falklands by Argentine forces will be on April 2nd, 2002. PA Photo.

The Ascension island is governed as part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

Ascension 4400 miles away from the UK and 4480 miles from the Falkland Islands - almost exactly halfway.

The island was used as major staging post for British forces heading toward the Falklands, this included Bombing raids on Stanley airport code nameed Black Buck.

April 21: Members of British special forces, Special Air Services -SAS,-and Special Boat Services -SBS- Are inserted by helicopter on the island of South Georgia.

The operation is known as Op Paraquet .

The Operation nearly ended in disaster as members of the SAS were landed on Fortuna Glacier in atrocious conditions,

Twenty people died when the HMS Sheffield was hit during the Falklands War (pic: PA)

24 hours later the troop had to be recovered from the glacier due the extreme weather conditions.

This at the cost of two Wessex helicopters which crashed during the rescue operation, a third attempt proved successful.

April 23: M Coy 42 Commando landed on S Georgia by the April 25 Argentine forces surrendered on S Georgia.

May 1: A Vulcan Bomber attacks Argentine occupied Port Stanley runway, at the time the furthest lang range bombing run in history.

Although not as successful as first thought it served to let the Argentine command know that they could be reached by our long range bombers.

Making the Argentine Air Force retreat to the Argentine mainland.

May 2: HMS Conqueror submarine sinks Argentine cruiser General Belgrano with the loss of 323 enemy lives.

May 4: The RAF launch another Black Buck raid over Port Stanley with Royal Navy Harriers and RAF Vulcan Bombers.

The Royal Navy loose sea harrier pilot Lt Nick Taylor.

HMS Sheffield was struck, and heavily damaged by an Exocet missile launched from Argentine Super Etendard aircraft,with the loss of 20 crew and 26 injured.

Six days later she sinks under tow.

May 12: Requisitioned Queen Elizabeth I leaves Southampton with most of 5 infantry Brigade,

HMS Cardiff leaves Gibraltar for the South Atlantic.

May 14: SAS launch a raid on Pebble Island airstrip , destroying 6 Pucaras, 4 TMC Mentors and 1 Skyvan Transport aircraft.

May 19: A Sea king crashes into the sea on take off while transferring soldiers from HMS Hermes to HMS Intrepid.

22 members of the SAS, and Royal Corps of Signals die in the tragedy, with only 9 men surviving

May 20: A UK Sea King lands in Chile, the crew turn themselves into the authorities after destroying the helicopter.

They later returned to the UK.

May 21: HMS Ardent is sunk in San Carlos Water after coming under sustained attack from enemy aircraft with the loss of 22 lives.

May 23: HMS Antelope comes under attack,one of two unexploded 1000 pound bombs struck the the ship killing Steward Mark R Stephens, at 17 - one of the youngest men serving in the conflict.

However they did not explode, the ship then moved to more sheltered waters so bomb disposal technicians from the Royal Engineers could attempt to defuse the two unxploded bombs.

Of the two bombs one was inaccessible due debris around it.

After three failed attempts to defuse the bomb remotely, they attempt to disable the bomb by way of a controlled explosion.

The small controlled charge used to disarm the bomb detonates the bomb killing Staff Sergeant James Prescott instantly and severely injuring Warrant Officer John Phillips.

This caused catastrophic damage to the ship,but also triggered numerous fires and explosions throughout the ship.

Commander Nick Tobin gave the order to abandon ship - he was the last person to leave the stricken ship.

Antelope broke into two and sank.

May 25: The Atlantic conveyor is struck by two Exocet missiles, With the loss of 12 men including the ship's captain Ian Harry North is posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)

The Atlantic conveyor was a roll on roll off container ship owned by Cunard.

Along with her sister ship Atlantic Causeway ,Atlantic conveyor was requisitioned by the MOD at the beginning of the conflict.

The ships were used to carry supplies to the Naval Task Force, leaving the UK on April 25 with a cargo of six Wessex and five RAF Chinooks and one lynx helicopter.

At Ascension island she picked up eight Sea Harriers and six RAF Harriers GR3 Jump jets.

Due to the large amounts of fuel and ammunition stored on board a large uncontrollable fire ensued, destroying all but one Chinook, and the Lynx helicopter.

May 28-29: The Battle for Goose Green takes place the first major land battle of the conflict.

Men of 2 Para, the Parachute Regiment led by Colonel H Jones, OBE.

Attacked the Argentine 12th Infantry Regiment located at Goose Green.

During a solo charge Jones 42 was killed with fire from an enemy machine post.

After which Major John Keeble assumed command, later taking the surrender from 1100 Argentine troops.

For his bravery Colonel H Jones was posthumously awarded The Victoria Cross.

May 31: 42 Commando Royal Marines are transported in by air to attack, and defeat the Argentine patrol at Malo House.

3 Para arrives at Douglas settlement.

45 Commando RM arrives at Teal settlement.

The RAF and Navy launch another Black Buck air raid on radar positions, and positions in Stanley.

June 8: While preparing to unload the Welsh Guards in Port Pleasant, St Fitzroy.

Royal Flight Auxiliary Sir Tristram, and Sir Galahad are attacked by three Sky hawks.

Sir Galahad is hit at around 1400 local time. The ship was hit by at least two bombs which exploded causing the deaths of 54 crew and soldiers and 46 injured.

RFA Sir Tristram was struck by a 500 lb bomb which failed to explode immediately giving crew an opportunity to leave the ship,however the deck was strafed killing two members of the crew, then Sir Tristram was abandoned.

Foxtrot Four, a landing craft of HMS Fearless is struck by Argentine A-4B Skyhawks Aircraft in Choiseul Sound.

Killing six of the crew including Robert Griffin from Sheffield, an ex King Edwards VII pupil.

June 11: British forces mount multiple attacks on Argentine positions,

around Stanley, including 42 Commando at Mount Harriet, 3 Para at Mount Longdon,and 45 Commando at Two Sisters.

June 12: By daybreak all attacks prove successful.

HMS Glamorgan is struck by a Exocet missile causing damage and killing 14 of the ship's company.

The last Black Buck bombing raid takes place against enemy targets in Port Stanley.

June 13: 2 Para attack Wireless Ridge, Scots Guards attack Mount Tumbledown, 1/7 Gurkhas occupy Mount William

June 14: All attacks prove successful, white flags fly over Stanley as the Argentine Forces surrender.

General Mario Menendez surrenders to Major General Jeremy Moore,aboard HMS Fearless marking the end of hostilities

An Argentinian bomb explodes February 23, 1982, on board the Royal Navy frigate HMS Antelope killing the bomb disposal engineer who was trying to defuse it. The ship was part of the British Task Force engaged in the recapture of the Falkland Islands. ... HMS Antelope ... 23-05-1982 ... SAN CARLOS BAY ... EAST FALKLAND ... PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Photo Credit should read: CLEAVER MARTIN CLEAVER/PA. Unique Reference No. 1252500 ...
HMS Fearless
Falklands taken by the unit photographer of 4 Commando Royal Marines unit sent to liberate the Falklands Islands in 1982. landing craft with HMS Fearless in the background
20/06/1982 of the wreckage of an Argentine Pucara Aircraft on the airfield at Goose Green. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday March 18, 2012. Thirty years ago the Falkland Islands suddenly went from being a forgotten corner of what remained of the British Empire to a dramatic test of the UK's global power status. The remote group of boggy, windswept islands in the South Atlantic, whose 1,800 human inhabitants were vastly outnumbered by sheep, became a battleground between the ambitions of Argentina's military junta and the steely determination of Margaret Thatcher. Simmering diplomatic tensions over the ownership of the Falklands boiled over in the spring of 1982 and Argentine forces invaded the islands they call the Malvinas. In response, Britain launched its biggest naval operation since the Second World War, sending a task force of 27,000 personnel and more than 100 ships to retake the territory. Lasting just 74 days, the Falklands War claimed the lives of more than 900 people.
Phil Thicket ex Navy and Falklands Veteran
Darren Webb Ex Navy and Falklands Veteran