August 29, 2018 – On a fine winter’s day in the Falklands, Lieutenant Commander George Storton and his HMS Clyde shipmates salute as the Union Jack is raised over hallowed ground.
Sailors from the Falkland Islands’ permanent guardship took the opportunity during their latest patrol of the British South Atlantic archipelago to replace the national flag at San Carlos Military Cemetery and Memorial.
It was here in May 1982 that the liberation of the islands began in earnest as the remote site was chosen to put British troops ashore, beginning a three-week ground campaign which ended with the capture of Stanley and capitulation of Argentine forces.
The Navy especially paid a heavy price for the landings in damaged and sunken ships; the graveyard, located close to what was 3 Commando Brigade’s headquarters, overlooks the wrecksite of frigate HMS Antelope, torn in two by a series of horrendous explosions when an unexploded bomb detonated and triggered her magazines.
It’s the task of Clyde to safeguard the Falklands and reassure islanders of Britain’s support for them, which includes paying visits to outlying settlements, such as the hamlet at San Carlos.
That visit afforded the sailors the chance to replace the weather-beaten Union Jack which flies over the nearby cemetery.
The graveyard commemorates all the dead of the 1982 conflict, but only around a dozen personnel are buried here, including six Royal Marines; most of the UK’s dead were either buried at sea or were repatriated.