Argentine Military Cemetery

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The Argentine Military Cemetery on East Falkland
Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas)[1]
Cementerio Argentino de Puerto Darwin.jpg
The Argentine Military Cemetery, on East Falkland
Spanish: Cementerio de Darwin
For Argentine forces
Established 1983 (1983)
Location 51°47′49″S 58°56′26″W / 51.79694°S 58.94056°W / -51.79694; -58.94056
East Falkland
near Darwin Settlement
Total burials 237
Unknown burials 123
Total commemorated
412
Burials by nation
  • Argentina – 237
Burials by war

The Argentine Military Cemetery, Spanish: Cementerio de Darwin [2] (Darwin Cemetery), is a military cemetery on East Falkland that holds the remains of 237 Argentine combatants killed during the 1982 Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas). It is located west of the Darwin Settlement close to the location of the Battle of Goose Green.

History[edit]

The Cemetery in 2008

In December 1982 the British government commissioned a firm of civilian undertakers to consolidate all of the temporary Argentine graves on the Islands to a single location. Assisted by the armed forces, they identified each Argentine grave site and brought the bodies to Port Darwin. At the time this was the largest single Argentine grave site, with the bodies of the 47 Argentine soldiers, killed at the Battle of Goose Green and buried there soon after the battle.[3]

Many of the bodies collected were without dog-tags, so best efforts were made to identify each soldier from personal effects found on the body. Single items were not considered conclusive, but collections were. All were given a Christian burial with full military honours. Each grave is marked by a white wooden cross with the name of the soldier on it if known, but 123 of the crosses simply state Soldado Argentino Solo Conocido Por Dios ("An Argentine Soldier Known Unto God").

After the conflict the United Kingdom offered to send the bodies back to Argentina, but the Argentine government refused on the grounds that it viewed the islands as part of Argentina.[4][5]

Up until 2004 the cemetery was surrounded by a small white picket fence. The plot is now protected by a walled enclosure with a cenotaph including an image of Argentina's patron saint, the Virgen del Lujan. Surrounding the graves, the names of the 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors and airmen who lost their lives in the conflict, are inscribed on glass plaques, with no indication of military rank or service, as requested by their families.

Since the end of the conflict the bodies of three more Argentine pilots have been interred:

  • Capitán Jorge Osvaldo García successfully ejected from his Argentine Skyhawk after being shot down by a Sea Dart surface-to-air missile on 25 May 1982 but was not recovered from the water. His body was washed ashore in a dinghy at Golding Island in 1983.
  • Lt. Giménez, a Pucará pilot, whose body was not found until 1986. His burial was attended by his family, the first Argentine relatives to visit the Falklands since the end of the war.[6]
  • Lt Jorge Casco video, another Skyhawk pilot, who crashed in bad weather on South Jason Island and was buried on 7 March 2009.[7] In the case of Lt. Casco, his family requested that his remains be buried on the Falklands even after they were returned to Argentina in July 2008 for DNA testing in order to confirm his identity.

On 9 November 2002 Prince Andrew, himself a Falklands War Veteran, visited the Argentine cemetery and laid a wreath.[8] During the visit the Prince said, "I lost friends and colleagues and I know what it must be like for the great many Argentines who have shared the same experience."[8]

Since the UK-Argentine joint statement on 14 July 1999[9] Argentine families are responsible for the cemetery's upkeep and in 2007, Sebastián Socodo, an Argentine married to a Falkland Islander, was employed to do the job of cemetery maintenance.[10][11]

There is a replica of the cemetery at Berazategui.[12]

2012 vandalism[edit]

In July 2012 the glass casing protecting a figure of Argentina's patron saint, the Virgin of Luján, at the head of the cemetery was smashed with what appeared to be an axe.[13] Argentina presented a formal protest to the British government and informed the United Nations and the International Red Cross. Sebastián Socodo, responsible for the cemetery's upkeep, said families were notified and that it was not clear when it occurred or who the perpetrators were. Police in the Falklands held an investigation and the case was repaired.

State of interments[edit]

'Monumento a los Caídos en Malvinas' (Monument for the fallen on the Falkland Islands) in Plaza San Martín, Buenos Aires.[14]

In total 649 Argentines were killed during the 74 days of the conflict.[15] The Argentine Military Cemetery holds 237 graves.

ARA General Belgrano[edit]

The greatest loss of life in the war was in the sinking of the Argentine Navy cruiser ARA General Belgrano, with 321 members of crew and 2 civilians on board at the time, with most of these going down with her.[16]

Buried other places[edit]

  • Seven Argentines are interred at separate locations:
  • Mainland burials (16 total):
    • Army helicopter UH-1H–BF (AE-419) crash near Caleta Olivia in Patagonia on April 30 during a surveillance mission, killing the crew (Lt Marcos Fassio, Sgt Pedro Campos and Corporal Daniel Barros ) and the 7 man patrol on board.[25]
    • Army Adjutant Sergeant Alberto Antonio Sanagua (RI 24) cardiac arrest at Punta Loyola, Santa Cruz on May 18
    • Air Force Ensign Mario Luis Valko crashed on May 24 with his Pucará while undertaking a reconnaissance sortie of the Patagonian Coast from Comodoro Rivadavia
    • Army Sublieutenant Juan Omar Abraham (Esc Exp Cbl 1) accident near Puerto Deseado, Santa Cruz May 24
    • Army Conscript Aldo Ruben Canteros (B Comm 181) hypothermia near Puerto Madryn, Chubut on June 15
    • Army Lieutenant Julio Cesar Auvieux (B Ing 601) clearing a mine field near Rio Grande airbase, June 1982
    • Army Conscript Sergio Oscar Gomez (HQ 1 Brig) accident at Comodoro Rivadavia, date unknown

Remains not recovered[edit]

Sixty-six Argentine combatants were lost with aircraft or ships and their remains were not recovered:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WordReference, English-Spanish Dictionary. Falklands: the Falklands, las (islas) Malvinas". Wordreference.com. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  2. ^ gov.ar cementerio de darwin
  3. ^ Suplemento de Historia Argentina (Spanish)
  4. ^ Peter Snow, Dan Snow (16 July 2008). "1982 Falklands" (in English "After the war the British government offered to return the bodies of the Argentinian dead to Argentina for burial, but their government refused. They said that these islands were part of Argentina, and the bodies would remain here. For the Falkland islanders, these graves are daily reminder that Argentina refuses to drop its claim their homeland."). [Century Battlefields]. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007t0w9. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  5. ^ Gregory Fremont-Barnes. The Falklands 1982: Ground Operations in the South Atlantic. p. 93. 
  6. ^ "One of their aircraft is missing". Archived from the original on 7 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  7. ^ "UK military honours for Argentine Pilot". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  8. ^ a b Savill, Richard (2002-11-09). "Prince's Falklands tribute to Argentine dead". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  9. ^ "UK-Argentina exchange of letters". Retrieved 2009-11-09. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Simple service pays respect to the Argentine dead". Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  11. ^ "Love bridges Falklands divide". BBC News. 4 April 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  12. ^ La réplica del cementerio de Darwin, ubicado en el cementerio de Berazategui, un muro en el que están plasmados los nombres de los siete soldados berazateguenses que fallecieron
  13. ^ Argentina will formally protest vandalism at the Darwin cemetery in Falklands
  14. ^ Buenos Aires War Memorial is at coordinates 34°35′37″S 58°22′29″W / 34.59373°S 58.374782°W / -34.59373; -58.374782 (Buenos Aires War Memorial)
  15. ^ Full list of Argentine Casualties, accessed November 2009
  16. ^ List of the missing crew
  17. ^ Villarino, Horacio: Exocet ISBN 950-10-0116-4 (Spanish)
  18. ^ [The Falklands War, Then and Now by Gordon Ramsey]
  19. ^ at Cerrillos, Salta
  20. ^ Evans, Michael (2007-10-05). "Marine killed Argentinian in Falklands war blunder". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  21. ^ http://www.wildisland.gs/sgcems/gd09a.htm
  22. ^ 3ra. Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Caza y Ataque
  23. ^ "Carlos Zubizarreta". Archived from the original on 17 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  24. ^ Argentina honors last airman downed in Falklands war
  25. ^ Argentine Army Aviation condecorations 1
  26. ^ B-110 May 1: 1st Lt Mario Hipolito Gonzalez & Lt Eduardo de Ibañez. Third ejected Capt. Fernando Casado (B-108 June13) was returned to Argentina in 2008
  27. ^ Rol de honor

External links[edit]