Blue Beach Military Cemetery at San Carlos

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Blue Beach Military Cemetery at San Carlos
San-Carlos-Cemetery.JPG
The Cemetery in 2003
For British forces
Unveiled 10 April 1983
Location 51°34′22″S 59°02′07″W / 51.57278°S 59.03528°W / -51.57278; -59.03528
Designed by Professor Sir Peter Shepheard

Blue Beach Military Cemetery at San Carlos is a British war cemetery in the Falkland Islands holding the remains of 14 of the 255 British casualties killed during the Falklands War in 1982. It is situated close to where 3 Commando Brigade had its initial headquarters after landing on 21 May 1982.

Up until 1982 all British serviceman killed in action were buried and commemorated as close to the place of death as possible and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission managed these graves.[1]

After the Falklands War, one family requested the repatriation of their fallen son's body and, following this, other families requested the same;[2] as a result, this offer was extended to all relatives. On 16 November 1982 64 of the dead, (52 soldiers, 11 Royal Marines, and one laundryman from Hong Kong) were returned to Britain aboard the landing ship Sir Bedivere.

The families of 16 of the dead kept with tradition and preferred their sons' remains should stay in the islands. Fourteen are buried at Port San Carlos [3] with two more at isolated single grave sites at Goose Green and Port Howard.

Design[edit]

In 1982, at the request of the Ministry of Defence, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission undertook the design and construction of a cemetery and memorial. The plans were approved by the MOD on 12 November 1982 at a total cost of £50,000. The work was completed with the assistance of 8 Field Squadron Royal Engineers and the Brigade of Gurkhas and dedicated on 10 April 1983. The headstones are of Orton Scar limestone and the memorial panels are of light sea green slate from Cumbria.

The cemetery is surrounded by a 1 metre high wall with a small entrance open to the beach in the style of a stone sheep corral. Opposite the entrance, the wall is tapered higher with seven slate panels, six with the Regiment, Name, Rank and Service of the fallen and one with the three Forces' Emblems and the following inscription;

1982
APRIL–JUNE
IN HONOUR OF
THE SOUTH ATLANTIC TASK FORCE
AND TO THE ABIDING MEMORY OF
THE SAILORS, SOLDIERS AND AIRMEN
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES AND WHO
HAVE NO GRAVE BUT THE SEA
HERE BESIDE THE
GRAVES OF THEIR COMRADES THIS
MEMORIAL RECORDS THEIR NAMES

GIVE GLORY TO THE LORD AND
DECLARE HIS PRAISE IN THE ISLANDS

Cemetery Inscription

The site is divided into two sections each with seven graves. The section on the right is known as the Airborne Cemetery as it contains the remains of four Paratroopers including that of Lieutenant-Colonel "H" Jones two Royal Signallers from 16 Air Assault Brigade and Sergeant Griffin from 656 Squadron Army Air Corps. Directly opposite are another seven headstones laid out in the same pattern with the remains of six Royal Marines and Captain Bell from the Army Air Corps. Nearby is the San Carlos museum, with photographs and relics from the conflict.

On 21 May 2002, the 20th anniversary of the landings, a service of remembrance was held at the cemetery. Over 300 islanders and personnel from the garrison joined the Falklands Governor, in remembering those who lost their lives in the campaign.

National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire

On 20 May 2012, a duplicate of the San Carlos Memorial was dedicated at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire England. The official dedication, which was attended by The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines also marked the 30th anniversary of the landings.

Speaking at the ceremony, the widow of Lieutenant-Colonel H Jones', Sara, described the memorial as a "Fitting tribute to the members of the Task Force who gave their lives".[4]

Breakdown of the casualties[edit]

A total of 255 British servicemen and 3 female Falkland Island civilians were killed during the Falklands War.[5]

174 were buried at sea, or lost with their aircraft/ships and their remains not recovered. These are controlled sites under the Protection of Military Remains Act.

Incident Casualties
HMS Invincible (R05) 1
HMS Sheffield (D80) 20
Sea King 1+22
HMS Ardent (F184) 22
Sea Harrier 3
HMS Argonaut (F56) 2
HMS Coventry (D118) 18
MV Atlantic Conveyor 12
LC Foxtrot 4 of HMS Fearless (L10) 6
Bluff Cove 54
HMS Glamorgan (D19) 13

Buried other places[edit]

Wreckage from Lt Nick Taylor Sea Harrier

Two more deaths may be attributed to Operation Corporate, bringing the total to 260

  • Captain Brian Biddick from HMHS Uganda underwent an emergency operation on the voyage to the Falklands, was repatriated by an RAF medical flight to the hospital at Wroughton where he died on 12 May.[14]
  • Paul Mills from HMS Coventry suffered from complications from a skull fracture sustained in the sinking of his ship and died on 29 March 1983, he is buried in his home town of Swavesey.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Corners of a foreign field – The Telegraph. Retrieved April 2010.
  2. ^ Associated Press (2 June 1982). "British families protest Falklands burial for troops". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Find A Grave: Blue Beach Military Cemetery
  4. ^ The Press Association Falklands War memorial unveiled
  5. ^ According to
  6. ^ "list". Raf.mod.uk. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  7. ^ "list". Raf.mod.uk. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Falkland Islands – A history of the 1982 conflict". Raf.mod.uk. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  9. ^ "Para". Raf.mod.uk. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  10. ^ "SAS". Raf.mod.uk. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  11. ^ "rest of army". Raf.mod.uk. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 2010-10-23. 
  12. ^ Wheeler, Tony: The Falklands and South Georgia Island. Lonely Planet, 2004., page 115. ISBN 1-74059-643-9
  13. ^ p. 297 in Mike Seear: "With the Gurkhas in the Falklands", 2003, Leo Cooper, ISBN 0-85052-916-6
  14. ^ HMHS Uganda History
  15. ^ Swavesey St Andrew Roll of Honor

External links[edit]