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The Falklands-Malvinas War Revisited.
by Nigel Price.
'The 30th Anniversary of the Falklands War
30 years ago the First Battalion took part in a unique operation that cost over 250 British and over 750 Argentinian lives with many more injured on both sides. It is said that even more lives have been lost since 1982 caused by war related illness. The terrain in the Islands provided a perfect backdrop for all out war, and the two forces went at it without fear of too much 'collateral damage'. The losses could have been considerably more.but it is now clear that, despite the fact that the Battalion did not take a major part in the fighting, the very presence of the Gurkhas on the battlefield did have an adverse affect on the morale of the enemy. The reputation of the Gurkha soldier had gone before them so that when the Battalion's attack did go in the enemy fled. This was, of course, galling for the men who had trained so hard for this moment, but, most importantly, lives were saved.As was said at the time; ' If we can win by reputation, who wants to kill people?'.
As far as tthe Battalion was concerned the conflict lasted for 90 days, and it is right that in this year especially we remember L/Cpl Bhudaparsad Limbu who was killed at Goose Green, and all those who were injured. It is right too that members of that Battalion pause and reflect on a job well done.
What follows is a speech made at the Commanders' Dinner held at Pangbourne College on 4th April 2012 by Professor Lindley-French. It is worth reading..
Falklands 30 Anniversary Command Dinner Speech
The Falklands Thirty Years on – British Élan and the Aura of Power
By Julian Lindley-French
Field Marshal Bramall, Chief of the Defence Staff, Admirals Band, West and Woodward,Commodore Clapp, Lord Sterling, Major-General Thompson, distinguished guests and, above all, honoured veterans of the 1982 Falklands Campaign - there is no greater honour for me than to stand and address you on what you achieved all those years ago – the defence of freedom through the use of legitimate military power under Baroness Thatcher’s resolute leadership that has sustained Britain for these thirty years past. Sadly, it is an aura of power that in spite of the heroic efforts of your colleagues in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and host of other places could fade if real national strategy does not replace London’s ‘only recognise as much threat as we can afford’ view of the world and with it a dangerous loss of national influence. What you did back in 1982 is as relevant to today’s Britain as past Britain.
7TH DUKE OF EDINBURGH'S OWN GURKHA RIFLES
The 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles (more usually known as ‘7GR’) was until 1994 a regular infantry regiment of the British Army. As a result of Army restructuring following the end of the Cold War and foreshadowing the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China the Regiment merged with three other Gurkha infantry regiments to form The Royal Gurkha Rifles on 1st July 1994. The spirit of 7GR, its traditions of loyalty to the British Crown and the courage to confront the nation’s enemies gained from more than 90 years of service live on in the new regiment.
Origins and Early Days
7th Gurkha Rifles dates its formation from 16th May 1902 when a fresh battalion of Gurkhas was raised for the British Indian Army. Originally given the numerical designation ‘8’ it was then renumbered as the Second Battalion of the 10th Gurkhas before emerging from a convoluted process of Indian Army reorganisation in 1907 as the 7th Gurkhas, a rifle regiment of two regular battalions. The Regiment had the distinction of being one of only two out of the ten Gurkha regiments to recruit its soldiers from the towns and villages which lie along the rugged foothills of the Himalayas east of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Gurkha officers and soldiers have come predominantly from the Rai and Limbu clans but the roll records many names from the smaller Sunwar, Tamang and eastern Gurung clans as well as men from the Sherpa families of mountaineering fame.