Thirtieth anniversary of the start of the Falklands War

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The Falklands - Healing the Wounds is one of two documentaries on BBC Cymru Wales to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War on 2 April 1982.

They capture the personal and emotional impact of the conflict on the lives of Welsh soldiers who fought in the war.

Thirty years ago Argentine troops invaded the Falkland Islands, a remote UK colony in the South Atlantic. It was an action that led to a brief but bitter war.

Argentina had claimed sovereignty over the islands for many years, and the ruling military junta did not think that Britain would attempt to regain the islands that lay 8,000 miles away.

Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister at the time, considered the 1,800 Falklanders living on the faraway islands to be "of British tradition and stock", and ordered the sending of warships and hastily refitted merchant ships to the Falkland Islands.

A task force of of 28,000 British troops were deployed. It reached the Falklands in early May.

The war lasted 74 days, during which time 255 British servicemen lost their lives. 649 Argentinians also died, as well as three Falkland Islanders.

The Welsh Guards sustained heavy losses in the conflict, and it was one single incident heavily involved the Regiment that accounted for nearly one fifth of all British Army fatalities during the war.

On 8 June at Fitzroy, to the southwest of Port Stanley, an Argentinian jet bombed the Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram. The troop ships were moored and carrying equipment and the Welsh Guards, who were ready to go ashore and join the land war.

The attack left 48 men dead, 32 of whom were Welsh Guards. Eleven other Army personnel and five crewmen from Sir Galahad herself also died.

The bombing of the two ships happened just six days before the Argentine surrender.

In Britain, people who had seen men from the Welsh Guards departing on the luxury cruise liner the QE2, which had been requisitioned for service to carry troops to the South Atlantic, now saw pictures of two stricken ships, and desperate attempts to rescue troops from the burning vessels by helicopter and by boat.

From the shore Brian Hanrahan, the BBC Falklands War correspondent, described the "constant crackle of ammunition and bigger explosions throughout Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram".

The bombing also left dozens of men horrifically burnt and maimed, included in the casualties was Welsh Guard, Simon Weston who suffered 46% burns. He was the subject of several documentaries and his struggle to overcome his injuries, including over 70 major operations or surgical procedures, is well documented.

He is now a well-known personality and commentator on the radio and television, as well as the patron of patron of a number of charities that support people living with disfigurement.

Simon Weston recalled the experiences that changed his life, including the attack on the Sir Galahad which left him fighting for life on BBC Radio Wales documentary broadcast yesterday. If you missed the programme you can listen again here on the BBC iPlayer.

The war has left a lasting impact on the lives of the soldiers who fought in the Falklands.

In this clip from Timewatch: Remember The Galahad (2007), Andy Jones, secretary of the South Atlantic Medal Association in Wales, was just a 19-year-old Welsh Guardsman when he fought in the Falklands. He explains his sense of indebtedness that he and others felt for their fallen comrades.

Falklands: Healing The Wounds can be seen on Tuesday 3 April at 10.35pm on BBC One Wales.

BBC News has a timeline of the key dates of the Falklands War. Click here to view the video timeline.

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