This year’s Remembrance season in the Falkland Islands was particularly poignant, not simply because it fell in the fortieth anniversary year of Liberation but because a large party of 1982 Veterans were making a bitter-sweet pilgrimage to the battle fields. For many it was their first sight of these distant islands since the Conflict. Outgoing Rector, the Revd Ian Faulds, was invited back to complete the long series of commemorations which began on 21 May with remembering those who lost their lives on Landing Day.

The pilgrimage and Remembrance coincided at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when a short service for Veterans was held at the Liberation Monument in Stanley by the Revd Ian Faulds and the Forces Padre, the Revd Andrew Wakeham-Dawson. A large number of wreaths were laid, some by Veterans in wheelchairs, in the presence of the Falkland Islands’ Governor, Alison Blake CMG, the Commander of British Forces South Atlantic Islands, Commodore Jonathan Lett, and the Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP, Minister of Defence People, Veterans and Service Families. As if on cue, the weather had changed from the summer sun of previous weeks to sombre, brooding skies.
The mood picked up for the Royal British Legion Poppy Ball in the evening, which saw standards paraded, and the Book of Remembrance, Eternal Flame and symbolic poppies processed in. Prayers were said by the Revd Ian Faulds and the Revd Canon Kathy Biles before everyone tucked into a suitably grand meal.
The service for Remembrance Sunday brought everything to a climax, with readings by HE the Governor (John 15: 9-17) and the Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP (Isaiah 2:2-4) and a rousing performance of 'The Poppy Red' by the Military Wives Choir under the direction of Emma Pope. The service featured the Falklands Hymn and included contributions from the Revd Canon Kathy Biles; Forces Padre, the Revd Andrew Wakeham-Dawson; the Parish Priest of St Mary’s Catholic Church, Father Ambrose Bennett; a deacon of the Tabernacle Church, Debbie James; and Port Chaplain, Maurice Lake. The sermon, on the theme of memory, was preached by the Revd Ian Faulds.
As we said 'thank you' on Remembrance Sunday, what was remarkable was the number of returning Veterans who spoke openly about their faith or how the Conflict had set them on their journey towards faith. As one Veteran said quietly after hearing the local children sing, 'That makes it all worthwhile'.

Article by The Revd Ian Faulds