From 2 April 2022, Imperial War Museums will mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict. New exhibits in the permanent galleries at IWM London and IWM North will include items from IWM’s rich collection that will go on display for the very first time. The story and legacy of the Falklands Conflict will also be explored through a series of five films for IWM's YouTube channel and an episode of the Conflict of Interest podcast. 

A pivotal conflict

A soldier of 3 Battalion, Parachute Regiment silhouetted against the sunset at Windy Gap.
© Graham Colbeck (IWM FKD 2750)

 

On 2 April 1982, Argentinian forces invaded the British overseas territory of the Falkland Islands, followed by South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Despite being 8000 miles away, Britain sent a task force of warships and rapidly refitted merchant ships to the South Atlantic.

Fierce fighting in the air, at sea and on land culminated in the surrender of Argentinian forces in South Georgia on 26 April and the Falkland Islands on 14 June.

649 Argentinians, 255 British service personnel and three Falkland Islanders were killed.

The outcome of the conflict was arguably a turning point for the leadership of Margaret Thatcher and for Argentina’s President Leopoldo Galtieri, who was removed by his own Government following the defeat.

The 40th anniversary is an opportunity to improve public understanding of this conflict, the impact of which still resonates to this day.

What's On

New exhibits and displays at IWM London and IWM North highlight eyewitness accounts of the conflict. 

There is also an opportunity to see objects related to the Falklands Conflict at IWM Duxford and to explore the causes, course and consequences of the conflict through new digital content. 

  • 7 Platoon, G Company, 2nd Battalion Scots Guards on Mount Tumbledown celebrate the news of the Argentine surrender at dawn on 14 June 1982.
    © IWM (FKD 314) Paul Haley for Soldier Magazine

    Paul RG Haley Photographs

    IWM London

    Images taken by professional photographer Paul RG Haley, who covered the conflict for Soldier Magazine, will be on display. His photographs reflect the varied experiences of British and Argentinian forces on the Islands and capture pivotal moments in the campaign, such as the landings at San Carlos and the advance to Port Stanley. Many of Haley’s photographs have never been displayed before.

    Haley remembers: "In 1982, I was privileged to photograph Britain's armed forces throughout their campaign to retake the Falkland Islands. These events changed many lives, including mine, and deserves to be remembered. In particular, I hope my photographs will bear witness to the effort, suffering and sacrifice which I witnessed during those difficult days."

  • Two soldiers lie on their stomachs, probing the ground in front of them with mine detectors. The section of the beach around them is cordoned off by a flimsy wire fence.
    © IWM Art.IWM ART 15530 59

    Linda Kitson collection

    IWM London

    Drawings by Linda Kitson, who was the first female artist commissioned by IWM to accompany troops into conflict, will be displayed alongside clothing, equipment and testimony of her time following British forces

  • Surrendered Argentine weapons at Port Stanley. A picture of the Madonna is taped to the butt of a discarded Argentine rifle.
    © IWM (FKD 298) Paul Haley for Soldier Magazine

    Corporal Neil Maher

    IWM North

    New displays at IWM North will focus on the stories of those who served with British forces during the conflict, including objects relating to Bolton resident Corporal Neil Maher, who served as a signals specialist with No. 656 Squadron, Army Air Corps.

    Maher set up ship-to-shore communications for crewmen of the damaged RFA Sir Tristram after the ship was bombed at Fitzroy on 8 June.

    Visitors to IWM North will also be able to see some of Paul Haley’s photographs projected in the galleries, as part of a series of large-scale, newly digitised photos and film taken during the conflict.

  • IWM Duxford

    Several other significant objects relating to the Falklands Conflict can be seen at IWM Duxford, including an Avro Vulcan Bomber, the most famous of the British V bombers. 

     

  • Online

    IWM will also be releasing a series of five short films on the conflict, explaining the extraordinary Land, Sea and Air operation carried out by British forces to retake the islands. Visit IWM’s YouTube Channel to see each episode as it is released.

    Series two of critically acclaimed podcast Conflict of Interest will feature an episode focused on the Falklands Conflict. Actress Katherine Parkinson and IWM’s John Beales explore why the conflict happened, how it played out and its impact on the UK and Argentina.

Why Britain fought for the Falklands | Episode 1

Margaret Thatcher superimposed onto a map of the Falklands with British and Argentinian flags on either side.

In the first episode of our five-part Falklands series IWM Curator Carl Warner looks at why the Falklands Conflict happened.

Why did Argentina believe they could take the Falklands without a fight? What was the invasion like? And why did Britain choose to fight for these islands 8,000 miles from home?

Watch now >

Falkands Conflict at Sea thumbnail
Cold War

Falklands Conflict at Sea | Episode 2

In this video, IWM Curator Alan Jeffreys tells us about the Falklands Conflict at Sea. We look at an Exocet Missile on display at IWM London and some objects that belonged to commander of a naval bomb disposal team, Nigel 'Bernie' Bruen including a scorched alarm bell from RFA Sir Tristram.

Sea Harriers flying low over the South Atlantic
Cold War

Falklands Conflict in the Air | Episode 3

When the Falklands Conflict began Argentina seemingly had a massive advantage in the skies. They had over 100 aircraft of varying types. Some could operate from the Argentinian mainland and others could operate from airstrips on the Falklands themselves. Meanwhile, the British Task Force initially had only 20 Sea Harriers. It was up to them to protect the Task Force at sea as well as the troops on the ground, but to many that seemed like an impossible task.

British troops landing at San Carlos on East Falkland
© IWM (FKD 2744)
Cold War

Falklands Conflict on Land | Episode 4

In this penultimate episode of our Falklands series, IWM curator Hilary Roberts explores the land campaign. What was each side’s strategy? What mistakes did they make? And why - despite fierce Argentinian resistance - did the British eventually come out on top?

A Short History of the Falklands Conflict

Landing craft from HMS INTREPID approach the beach at San Carlos in the Falkland Islands to land British troops, 21 May 1982
© IWM FKD 2119 Landing craft from HMS INTREPID approach the beach at San Carlos in the Falkland Islands to land British troops, 21 May 1982

The Falklands Conflict was a short undeclared war between Argentina and Britain over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands (known as Islas Malvinas in Argentina), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. 

The conflict lasted 74 days and cost over 900 lives. 

Find out more about the Falklands Conflict >

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