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…
2018 marks 100 years since the day the Allies of World War I and Germany signed an armistice for the cessation of all hostilities on the Western Front. This took effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.
For this special centenary year we have worked closely with The Royal British Legion, including five veterans from Bravo 22 Company, as well as numismatic artist Michael Guilfoyle, to design a poignant Armistice Commemorative Medal for the Centenary.
Bravo 22 Company
Bravo 22 Company, which is made possible by The Royal British Legion and The Drive Project, has been successfully running theatre and art projects across the UK since 2011.
The projects are open to all members of the Armed Forces Community, including serving personnel, veterans and their family members and are designed to improve self-esteem, confidence and motivation, as well as help individuals along their paths to recovery.
The design process
The design process began with a creative workshop led by numismatic artist Michael Guilfoyle, at the Legion’s Pop In centre in Bristol. Five alumni from Bravo 22 Company were invited to join the workshop, all of whom have served in the Armed Forces. The participants were encouraged to draw on their experiences in the military to create a fitting tribute for the Armistice 100 year centenary anniversary.
Mike started the session with an introduction to medal design and explained the process from the initial ideas stage through to final production. Coins and medals generally offer a relatively small canvas to the artist, so Mike explained the importance of using a simple composition to create a strong and impactful design.
To generate some key themes, Mike had everyone write down words they associated with the First World War and Armistice. These were then used to inspire the visual design stage, where everyone began to sketch ideas.
The rest of the workshop was spent developing the rough sketches into more refined ideas.
The finished design
Taking inspiration from the original designs of the veterans, Mike was able to create the striking and poignant designs that feature on the medal.
The Royal British Legion 2018 Armistice Medal is available to own today. Due to its significance, the medal has been issued in partnership with The Royal British Legion and Bravo 22 Company. If you choose to own one, we will ensure a donation is made to them on your behalf.