Project to Dig up Falklands Battle sites

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#1
A TV archaeologist has revealed controversial plans to excavate the battlefields of the Falklands War even though the conflict only took place 30 years ago.

Veteran groups have warned that such an exploration would be inappropriate after such a short time, with many combatants and friends and relatives of the dead still alive.

Glasgow University academic Dr Tony Pollard is preparing the major project to unearth secrets of the 1982 campaign by British forces to seize back the South Atlantic island chain from Argentinian invaders.

The presenter of the BBC series, Two Men In A Trench, believes the war is in danger of being forgotten and insists his expedition would be a fitting way to mark the 30th anniversary of the islands’ liberation.

In a move which is certain to prove contentious Pollard plans to invite a team of Argentinian archaeologists to take part in the venture, which, if approved, will be televised. Famous battle sites to be targeted include Mount Tumbledown, Mount Harriet and Goose Green and both British and Argentinian positions will be explored.

The proposals have divided veterans, with some branding the project inappropriate while others have welcomed it as an opportunity to raise awareness of the conflict and its legacy.

Simon Weston, the war hero and charity campaigner, warned that the Argentinian academics would not receive a warm welcome and urged Pollard to proceed with utmost caution.

But the director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, who recently discovered the tunnel used by British prisoners of war in a Nazi prison-camp breakout immortalised in the Second World War film The Great Escape, is convinced the full story of the Falklands has not yet been told. The war began on 2 April, 1982, when Argentinian troops invaded the British territory. After 74 days of conflict, in which 255 British and 649 Argentine servicemen died, UK control over the archipelago was re-established.

Pollard said: “I believe the Falklands have the potential to be an important laboratory for the practice of battlefield archaeology.

“It was fought in the late 20th century, but with mid 20th century technology and will possibly be the last conventional war that the British army will ever fight.

“If done properly, a project there could tell us a whole lot about how the archaeological record compares with the many accounts we have.

“Because of its isolated location the remains on the Falkland Islands are incredibly well preserved. That, in conjunction with the fact that the combatants, in many cases, are still with us gives an ideal opportunity to complete a project looking at the archaeology, the history and the anthropology.”

Pollard will travel to Buenos Aires in the spring with the intention of securing the cooperation of his Argentinian counterparts.

He said: “Obviously, there are potential difficulties, in terms of perception, in taking Argentinian archaeologists on to the islands. But, I think it is important that we get both sides of the story.”

The broadcaster acknowledged that his proposals would generate strong feelings, stating: “One of the worries will be that we will be over there to look for controversy, but it is certainly not on my agenda.

Weston, the former Welsh Guard who suffered 46 per cent burns to his body when the Royal Fleet Auxiliary troop carrier Sir Galahad was bombed during the conflict, said: “I don’t have a problem with it, but it’s not the sort of programme I would stop a runaway horse to watch. What I would say to Dr Pollard is, ‘Go, but be very careful’.”

He added: “The Argentinians might get a different welcome. The islanders are still very sensitive.”

Veterans’ organisation the South Atlantic Medal Association 1982, is opposed to the project. Chairman Mike Bowles said: “I do not believe that it would be appropriate to excavate Falklands Conflict battlefields so comparatively soon after the event and particularly not in 2012, the 30th anniversary year, when many veterans and some next of kin of those who died will be going back to the islands to remember and to pay respects to fallen colleagues and family members.”
TV project to dig up Falklands battle sites - TV reviews - Scotsman.com

Looks like someone it after some cheap publicity!!!
 
#3
What are they going to find apart from some old ration packs,empty cases and the odd uxo?
Pretty sure anything interesting has either rotted away or been picked up.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#4
True, every unit going down since 82 has walked every battlefield.
 
#5
It sounds "too soon", but in reality, I don't think people would have had issues with battlefield investigation of WWII sites in 1975, which would be the equivalent.
I actually think the conflict has been well covered over the years, and would expect little surprising to come to light, but as a matter of principle I don't see a major issue.
 
#6
As long as they do not find/tamper with any human remains, I don't see there being much outcry about the actual archaeology, the problem will lie with the politics.
 
#8
It sounds "too soon", but in reality, I don't think people would have had issues with battlefield investigation of WWII sites in 1975, which would be the equivalent.
I actually think the conflict has been well covered over the years, and would expect little surprising to come to light, but as a matter of principle I don't see a major issue.
well if there taking along the argy's i would expect nothing less than a mass grave full of people with bullet holes in there leg bones ot be discovered, and of course covered by tv cameras only after the uncovering of such a heanous thing took place, its not like people havent been trying to proove since the war ended that such underhanded tactics took place even though no less than 5 independant judicial reviews took place in the first 10 years after the war and countless other "fact finding missions" have happened in the interveaning years untill presnt day.

much as i believe the efforts of the team behind the idea could in all reality cast a nice positive boost in awareness of what happened i am extreamly sceptical about the idea of including any argy's in the matter and do wonder about the motivation of any that would actually agree to do the job, never mind the fact that it would be the perfect excuse to sail a nice big cargo ship cramed to the rafter with troops and gear over to the islands and start a rematch especially since they have been openly agitating towards such a thing for years and have recently started harassing vessels in the area.
 
#9
What would be the point? What are they going to actually find out? The battle was extremely well documented. Those who took part are mostly still alive. If he really wants to find out about Goose Green then all he needs to do is gather together the surviving oc's, platoon commanders and get them to walk him through the battle field.
 
#10
I know where they could dig up a top secret radar that absolutely no-one knows about - well apart fro the REs Crabs and locals - they could make up a whole show of 'shock discoveries' especially when they find out half the stencilling on the kit is in Afrikaans - how the South Africans secretly aided the British etc....*

*the real story is a lot duller but that shouldn't get in the way
 
#11
I know where they could dig up a top secret radar that absolutely no-one knows about - well apart fro the REs Crabs and locals - they could make up a whole show of 'shock discoveries' especially when they find out half the stencilling on the kit is in Afrikaans - how the South Africans secretly aided the British etc....*

*the real story is a lot duller but that shouldn't get in the way
dont tell me it was being shipped from one arms dealer to another via the falklands and the raf plane was a little heavy on aproach so they kicked it out the back before attempting landing ?
 
#12
Even duller than that.....er I mean much more exciting and covert showing something.....er......scandal.....top secret....discovery that will change history...and our understanding of the war...or not


...and sleep
 
#13
What would be the point? What are they going to actually find out? The battle was extremely well documented. Those who took part are mostly still alive. If he really wants to find out about Goose Green then all he needs to do is gather together the surviving oc's, platoon commanders and get them to walk him through the battle field.
<<Spotter mode on:

The "Official" Battlefield Tours were run 4 times a week, sometimes the Boss would run one on a Saturday (which was always a blessing for us because it meant we could sit on the internet and buy completely useless stuff from Amazon with our hangovers, in peace). Anyone could go into the Education Centre and get copies of the script and run their own though. I don't know if Puttees has still got the stuff I gave him, but it was a long time ago now, and he's probably forgotten.

Also, sometimes, we'd arrange for a "Guest Speaker" to come out and give a presentation. The time that the chap who was a Plt Sgt in the Paras in 1982 literally filled one of the classrooms, it was standing room only - and for once - it was actually a warm day!!!

So, considering in the 6 months I was there, about 80 to a 100 people trampled over the place in a week - if not more, I don't think there'd be many shiny things to salvage.

Spotter Mode off>>
 
#14
There are some very positive reasons for looking at the Op Corporate battlefields from an archaeological point of view. There is a lot we do not know about military history. Richartd Holmes used to talk about how difficult it was to get a picture of what happened - and quoted examples from his research for Dusty Warriors.

The battles of the Falklands are recent enough to be well documented with access to veterans. They take place on ground which hasnlt been previously fought over. Unlike, say the battles of the western front, finds of bullets and cases wiull be from a unique action. It is one of the places to establish a baseline of the difference between the battle reconstructed by hisatorical methids and the "forensic evidence" of archaeology.

I am sure that TV publicity is part of the deal, and TV has its own agenda. However, Tony Pollard is one of the best battlefield archaeologists and there is some merit in looking a\t what the archaeology can add to the story.
 

Pararegtom

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
Result, if they find me pet rock (Eric) attached to a clasp knife & lanyard and me Regt Zippo number rank and name on it, in a Trench on Sussex mountain please return it. i.ll even cover the Postage.
 
#16
I'm all for it! Once they've dug a **** off big hole, found three compo tin openers and one rotting boot DMS with teeth marks in it, they'll need to fill the hole back in. It'd be a waste not to fill it with Bennies!
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#17
It sounds "too soon", but in reality, I don't think people would have had issues with battlefield investigation of WWII sites in 1975, which would be the equivalent.
I actually think the conflict has been well covered over the years, and would expect little surprising to come to light, but as a matter of principle I don't see a major issue.
I see the main problem being he wants the Argies involved. In 1975 the UK & Germany (at least West Germany) were on good relations, no bitterness from them about losing & all jolly good mates. Argentina still, however, can't come to terms with losing and there is still a hell of a lot of bitterness directed towards them by the Falkland Islanders because of this.
My abiding memory when I was there in 86 wasn't the actual battlefields but the Argentinian graveyard and the high percentage of unknowns in the graves because the Argentinian government refused to assist in identification. This may have now changed but at the time I felt sorry for all those families.
 
#18
I'd sooner them invest their time in interviewing veterans, a far more intresting source of Falklands War information than digging up old tins of bacon grill and chewed boots cnut.
 
#19
Result, if they find me pet rock (Eric) attached to a clasp knife & lanyard and me Regt Zippo number rank and name on it, in a Trench on Sussex mountain please return it. i.ll even cover the Postage.
Would that be the zippo engraved with "Captain Admin" ?.
 
#20
I agree with Old Baldy, the Argentine contingent could be said to be offering some insight, perspective or knowledge, but as it's a TV production I'd say they'd be included for some handy pre-publicity, their probable contentious comments and the chance of recording their confrontation with veterans and/or islanders.
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top