The Falklands War
The Falklands War
When Argentinian troops invaded the Falkland Islands on 2nd April 1982 the British Government, after the initial shock, were quick to react and assembled a Naval Task Force which set sail on 5th April with elements of 3 Commando Brigade.
At this time 1st Battalion 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles was the UK Gurkha Battalion and part of 5 Infantry Brigade. They were tasked for Operation Corporate, the retaking of the Falklands. By the 12th May most pre deployment training had been carried out and 1/7th Gurkhas embarked with four members of 541 Troop, Queens Gurkha Signals in the liner Queen Elizabeth 2 at Southampton. On the way south the training continued on new and technically advanced equipment to be used in the coming conflict.
By 21st May, as the QE2 neared the Ascension Islands, British forces of 3rd Commando Brigade had already begun landing at San Carlos Bay. Here followed 1/7th Gurkhas who landed on 1st June having previously transferred to the P&O Ferry Norland.
Once ashore they occupied Goose Green. This occupation also included the area of Lafonia to the south in East Falkland. Goose Green had been the scene of a previous battle to capture it from the Argentinians. It was during that action the 2PARA CO, Lt Col “H” Jones, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. With 5 Infantry Brigade’s movement east, 1/7th Gurkhas moved forward towards Port Stanley.
During the final battles on the mountains surrounding Port Stanley, 1/7th Gurkhas were to take Mount William. During a 24 hour delay in the attack, heavy Argentine artillery fire caused several injuries amongst the Gurkhas. When the attack commenced on 14th June, it was in broad daylight and, to the disappointment of 1/7th Gurkhas, the Argentines almost immediately began to head for the Scots Guards nearby and surrender in large numbers. The Gurkhas fearsome reputation had caused panic in the enemy when they realised who were advancing towards them. All Argentine forces on the Falklands surrendered later that day
Sadly for the battalion, L/Cpl Budhaprasad Limbu was to be killed on 24th June in an ordnance explosion whilst filling in enemy trenches near Goose Green, ten days after the Argentine surrender.
Returning to the UK on the SS Uganda, 1/7th Gurkhas marched through Fleet in Hampshire on 9th August, ninety days after they had left Southampton on the QE2.
After deploying to the Falklands in 1982 as part of the rehabilitation force, 69 Squadron The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers were again serving there this year, 33 years on.