For many it’s hard to believe that it’s been 40 years since the Falklands conflict took place.
It’s a conflict our nation remembers only too well. It was one of the first military endeavours that had been televised, with daily reports being broadcast to our screens, reports of heroic fighting and of course, sadly, casualties.
Indeed, it’s to all those that served our country in the Falklands that we’re proud to dedicate a superb set of new commemoratives – issued for the 40th anniversary.
I’d like to talk you through each of the designs, and in doing so tell the story of the Falklands conflict…
Our battleships crossing the Atlantic
In a move condemned by the United Nations, in 1976 Argentinian forces occupied the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. In the weeks that followed, islanders were forcibly deported.
In response, for the first time since the Second World War, all branches of the British armed forces were deployed and within days a British task force set sail across the Atlantic.
Troops landing on the Falkland Islands
The Task Force landed 4,000 troops in the East Falklands. Goose Green was the first settlement to be taken by British forces. British troops then face a difficult journey through tough terrain, enemy minefields, and hostile weather conditions.
British troops ‘yomping’ across difficult terrain on the Islands
The design of this commemorative pays homage to one of the most famous images from the conflict, taken by Royal Marines photographer Peter Holdgate, showing a Corporal with a Union flag fixed to his pack.
British aircraft patrolling the skies
British aircraft played a key role in the conflict, most famously with the Harrier jets and the Vulcan bomber – two planes that are still strong in British consciousness because of their important role in defending the Falklands.
Although at the start of the conflict Argentina seemed to have an advantage in the air with over 100 aircraft of varying types, it was the strategy of the British Air Force that meant the British pilots were able to beat the odds and take control of the skies.
Returning to a Hero’s welcome
British troops were eventually able to make their way home, with huge crowds gathering in Portsmouth and Southampton to welcome them back – a well deserved hero’s welcome on their return.
This BRAND NEW set of commemoratives tells the story of the conflict and comes complete in a presentation pack to display and store them for years to come. I hope that you agree that it’s a perfect tribute to this important moment in British military history.
Did you serve in the Falklands or have memories of family or friends that were involved? As part of our remembering of the conflict 40 years since the invasion, we’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
If you’re interested…
The birth of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1918 was the first time there had been a separate and independent air force established in any country.
It soon became among the most dominant air forces globally.
The 1930’s saw public interest in aircraft increase dramatically and following World War Two (WWII), the demand for the number of aircraft to be built grew quickly in a very short space of time.
Throughout its life, the RAF has monitored the advances in aircraft for military use, and today displays some of the greatest developments in aircraft technology.
For nearly a decade we’ve worked in partnership with the RAF. In that time, we’ve preserved and celebrated over 100 years of history on official commemorative releases.
Let me tell you about 4 aircraft monumental during their existence.
The Sopwith F1 Camel
This Biplane fighter had only one seat and was given the nickname Camel after one squadron commented on its hump like appearance. A comment that would influence its official name.
Carelessness would get you killed in this aircraft.
Pilots had to be skilled to fly it, attentive and observant.
The Camel thrived in daylight but also succeeded at night.
The aircrafts actual nickname?
The King of the Air Fighters.
The Avro Lancaster
The Lancaster proved vital towards the end of WWII for Bomber Command. The aircraft helped Britain successfully undermine Nazi Germany from the air.
Lancaster crews risked their lives every time they took to the air in these bombers.
They showed tremendous bravery.
On average they carried out 21 missions before they were lost.
The Eurofighter Typhoon
A vision of the future.
This is how the RAF describe this 21st century Eurofighter Typhoon.
Did you know this aircraft can travel two times faster than the speed of sound? It uses cutting edge technology and has many advanced features.
The UK, Germany, and Italy all worked collaboratively on this aircraft, as they have done also with the tornado project for over several decades.
The Spitfire is by far the most famous British fighter aircraft in history. It was designed by Reginald J Mitchell for the Second World War and there are many reasons why pilots fell in love with it.
It was a symbol of freedom.
The early Mark II could reach speeds of up to 360 mph.
The Spitfires sleek lines and elliptical shaped wings make it perhaps the most graceful fighter ever created.
Did you know that Mitchell’s first attempt to answer the British Air Ministry’s call for an all-metal land-based fighter aircraft was rejected?
It had a cooling system issue.
So, his team tried again.
And boy, did they triumph.
The new design had retractable landing gear, an enclosed cockpit and of course, the thin wing shape.
After the first flight of the prototype in 1936 only a few changes were made and by early June, the Air Ministry had ordered 310 Spitfires. By the outbreak of the Second World War, 306 Spitfires were in service with the RAF, along with 71 waiting and 2,000 in the pipeline.
If you’re interested…
The aircraft I have spoken about are intricately illustrated on our collection of commemoratives celebrating the History of the RAF.
The first one in the collection I hear you ask.
Well of course it must be the Spitfire.
Bill Dady, the renowned aviation artist, has designed this one.
Joining the Red Arrows is a lifelong dream for many, and for Squadron Leader, Nick Critchell (aka Red 3), that dream became a reality following an impressive career with the RAF.
And in this exclusive interview, Red 3 tells us all about how he landed his dream job with the Red Arrows, the technicalities behind the incredibly impressive maneuvers and how COVID -19 affected the team.
Watch our latest video to find out more.