The Falklands War through the eyes of a twelve year old.


On June, 16, 2012 the 30th anniversary of the end of Falklands War will be marked. Here I take pause to reflect on boyhood memories of the campaign.

Like most boys of the 70s I was brought up with action man, air fix aeroplanes and commando comics. The Second world war: "The War," was intangible to me, it was a look of nostalgia in my Grandmother's face; a vague childhood memory in my parents minds. To me there was no blood; there were smart soldiers, machine guns, parades, poppies and remembrance, but no blood.

During 1982 recession was rife in Tyneside. The area had a gloom of closures and dereliction that could almost be bottled. I did not understand politics but I understood the emotion of sabre rattling on the news. Sitting on the brown and orange carpet we were still struggling out of the seventies colour schemes. The TV, made in the UK, had a red button that you pulled out with a pop and waited for the tubes to warm. Of the two channels covering the conflict ITN and BBC, only one remains in my memory. Old auntie.

The Falklands war gripped the national experience. The heroes in the comics had come to life on the screen. The Harrier jets and Air craft carriers were no longer cut out diagrams, but were manifest in physical form crashing through the waves and streaking through the sky, bound for southern seas. On pier heads and settees the Task Force was waved off, with the BBC at the helm. And there stood the embed Brian Hanrhan heroically windblown, counting harriers on the flight deck. "I counted them all out and counted them all back,"words never to be forgotten.

The names of the ships: Sir Galahad, Coventry, Sheffield, Ardent, Hermes, Ark Royal and Invincible remain scorched in my brain today through hours of viewing. I was allowed to stay up late to watch the nine o' clock news. And watch it we did. Hour after hour of unfolding drama. Would "our boys" do it?. We watched the burnt being rescued from landing boats, we heard the last post and witnessed the services of the dead being dead buried. We witnessed the pounding of field guns. The nation sat together as one on the settee. We followed the Parachute regiment from Bluff Cove, over Goose Green to Port Stanley. We saw the surrender and the the raising of the flag. The victory was swift (25 days) and our casualties few, but it had truly been a battle. We were riding high again, the recession had been cast aside and replaced with "Rule Britannia." This is a video of the last push. Look out for the "Bloody Marvelous!" comment.
The war had been a triumph. For a nation, a boy, and the Broadcasters... Ethnocentrism? Jingoism? You better believe it. Any historical inaccuracies are unintended as they are they are boyhood recollections.
Argentine Prisoners of war

Links: Brian Hanrahan's memories and Obituary Falklands Timeline

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