The Battlefield that leads to a Referendum

This is the second in a series of blogs posted by Keene Communications’ MD, Simon Quarendon, who is visiting the Falkland Islands.

The Falkland Islands Battlefield Tour takes about a day. It’s a long one. Not because of the distances travelled or the state of the roads but because of the emotions it generates.

The British cemetery overlooking San Carlos Bay is quiet and immaculate (just like all the other British cemeteries around the world).The tiny museum there is no bigger than a large garden shed and yet it contains a jumble of weapons, uniforms, equipment and faded photos. All of the men in the photos wear moustaches and all of them look utterly exhausted.

But the most poignant part of the tour is driving to Lieutenant Nicholas Taylor’s grave (pictured above). A naval pilot, he was shot down over Goose Green and the Argentinians buried him a short distance from where he crashed. His parents agreed that he should stay there and he lies alone. His gravestone is surrounded by a small white picket fence, a few bushes and the open countryside.

My tour guide, Gus, later points out the shed at Goose Green is where his wife (only then a young girl) was locked up with over 100 other Islanders for several days. He tells the story casually but later points out the hill overlooking Stanley is where he, at the time that the Government held its referendum, together with several other Islanders, drove their cars up and marked out a large “yes”.

You sense that it was his way of making a statement about a democratic process that Lieutenant Taylor helped maintain.

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