March 2016

After Estancia and Mount Kent the final stop of our short tour exploring some of the battlefields during the Falklands War was at the base of Mount Harriet, location of a battle that took place on the night of the 11th June 1982.

Just prior to arriving we had a momentary stop beside a minefield because there was a sign and our guide understood we’d want to take a photo of it. Some of us even got off the coach to do that because we realised that holding iPads up to windows bathed in highly reflecting sunlight would produce terrible pictures. Some of us.

A memorial to the Battle of Mount Harriet was present allowing us all to read a concise version of the events of the conflict. In each of the battlefields locations we had visited it was incredible to see just how exposed everything was. While there were hills and mountains around it never felt that you couldn’t be seen from some direction. The Falklands felt like a far easier place to defend than attack.

This concluded our battlefields tour of the Falkland Islands. As we drove back towards Stanley we heard more details about the British army’s march to retake the capital, including the assault on Tumbledown that we passed in sight of. We also heard a fabulous piece of information: during the final days of the war an embedded reporter famously reported that he could see white flags flying over Stanley. This wasn’t true because the Argentinians didn’t have white flags (they’re not standard issue) and there were no Argentinians in Stanley at the time. They had been there and they had enforced a strict curfew during the war between 22:00 and 07:00 each day. However, as the British approached the Argentinians retreated; this emboldened the locals to ignore the curfew and because there had been a spate of births they got to doing some washing and hanging the washing out on lines. Far from white flags what was most likely seen were sheets and nappies.

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