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Forgotten war: Falklands veterans still suffering as the conflict fades from the public's memory

According to a Help for Heroes survey, 25% of young people have never heard of the bitter conflict between Argentina and the UK over the Falklands.

To mark the 40th anniversary, the poll found that only 4 percent of 2,100 adults could correctly answer a series questions.

Half of those between 18 and 34 said they didn’t know when the war began. One in ten believed that the UK invaded the islands, which led to the war. A similar percentage thought the Falklands were in the English Channel.

According to the charity, many veterans who served in war are likely to be suffering from mental or physical injuries and are at risk of losing their sacrifices.

Image 25 Mai 1982: The British frigate HMS Antelope explodes at San Carlos Bay, Falkland Islands

“No mental health care at all”

Nick Martin sustained severe injuries when the Atlantic Conveyor was struck by two Argentine Exocet missiles on May 25, 1982. This left 12 crew members dead.

Although his physical wounds were slowly healing, he was later diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic stress Disorder) after his time in Falklands.

More information from the UK

He stated that there was no support for him when he returned home. I spent a few months at Stonehouse Hospital in Plymouth and received physiotherapy. There was no support for mental health. There was no advice.

“Previously, I had a bad attitude and would not let myself enjoy good things. I thought: “Those lads who didn’t make it back never had the chance to do this. So why should I live a nice lifestyle?”

“I had a lightbulb moment with Help for Heroes that made me realize what I should do. It was living the best life possible because that’s what they would want me to do. But it took almost 35 years to sort that out.”

Continue reading: Falkland Islands declared free of mines almost 40 years after conflict

“Recovery can take many years or last a life time”

Carol Betteridge is the head of medical and clinical services at Help for Heroes. She stated: “Forty-years ago, support for mental or physical injuries was less accessible and more difficult to access. This made it difficult for veterans to receive the support they required.”

“While we have seen significant improvements in government support of veterans since then, it is concerning that veterans are not getting the help they need.

“Just because someone was injured 40 years ago doesn’t mean that they don’t need help. Recovery can take years, or even last a lifetime.

“We are currently supporting Falklands veterans suffering from long-term problems, such as the effects of trench foot or PTSD. Each one of them is worthy of our support and we urge anyone struggling to seek help.

Image Around 300 sailors were killed when the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano, was sunk in a British submarine pic: AP

The liberation of Falkland Islands saw the deaths of 255 British soldiers and three female civilians from the area. Another 775 were wounded. The conflict saw 649 Argentines die, and around 300 were killed when the British submarine torpedoed the cruiser General Belgrano.


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