Falklands 40: Key figures

Key figures of the Falklands conflict

The Falklands conflict touched the lives of many. While it’s unclear exactly how many people took part, at least 40,000 British and Argentinian personnel were involved.

Due to the complicated nature and geographical challenges of the Falklands, both sides utilised their equivalent navy, army, air force, marines and special forces.

Here we take a look at some of the key figures who represented Argentina and the UK.

UK Key Figures

Margaret Thatcher

Conservative Prime Minister 4 May 1979 – 28 November 1990, and the first female Prime Minister. In the midst of a recession, her initial policies had failed to reduce inflation and unemployment, and the popularity of the Conservative party was waning. The Falklands crisis would either make or break her government.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fieldhouse RN

Commander-in-Chief of the task force. He was based at Northwood Headquarters some 8,000 miles away from the Falkland Islands, but was ultimately responsible for the operation to recover them - Operation Corporate.

Admiral Sir Henry Leach RN

First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff at the time. Strongly advocated that a large task force be sent in response, and that it could, and should, be sent quickly. It is considered that his stance on the matter persuaded Margaret Thatcher to send the task force.

Rear Admiral John Foster ‘Sandy’ Woodward RN

Woodward was at sea exercising the ships under his command when he received orders to assemble a task force and sail for the South Atlantic. He commanded the Aircraft Carrier Battle Group during the Falklands War. This was the portion of the task force responsible for engaging Argentine forces while providing naval and air support for the Amphibious Assault Group who would undertake the landings.

Commodore Michael Clapp RN

Commanded the Amphibious Assault Group during the Falklands War. This was the naval portion of the task force responsible for launching the counter-invasion of the Falkland Islands. Liaising closely with Brigadier Julian Thompson RM (commander of the land forces), they would choose the location and plan the landing operation known as Operation Sutton. 

Major General Jeremy Moore RM

Commander of the British land forces during the war, he initially joined Admiral Fieldhouse and others at Northwood Headquarters before flying to join the task force in the South Atlantic late in May, taking over from Brigadier Julian Thompson as senior officer of the land forces upon his arrival.

Brigadier Julian Thompson RM

Commander of 3 Commando Brigade RM, and commander of land forces for the task force. Liaising closely with Commodore Clapp (commander of the Amphibious Assault Group forces), they would choose the location and plan the landing operation known as Operation Sutton. Brigadier Thompson then commanded the subsequent campaign to reclaim the Falkland Islands until the arrival of Major General Jeremy Moore RM.

Major Ewen Southby-Tailyour RM

A few years before the campaign, Major Southby-Tailyour had been stationed at the Falklands and charted the waters around the islands. With this wealth of recent knowledge, he acted as the adviser and planner for amphibious landings to the task force during the Falklands War.

Major Guy Sheridan RM

Second in command of 42 Commando Royal Marines. He was designated Landing Force commander for the combined Royal Marine, Special Air Service and Special Boat Service forces during Operation Paraquet, the operation to recapture the island of South Georgia, which had been occupied by Argentinian Troops.

Captain Brian Young RN

Commanded the vessels involved in Operation Paraquet, the operation to recapture South Georgia. His vessels would transport the landing force to the island and provide naval and air support.

Argentinian Key Figures

General Leopoldo Galtieri

General Galtieri served as President of Argentina at the time of the Falklands War. He retained direct control of the army whilst in office, ruling as a military dictator. It was on his orders that Argentinian forces invaded the Falkland Islands in April 1982.

Admiral Jorge Anaya

Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Navy and part of the military regime running the country. He is often considered the chief advocate for the invasion of the Falkland Islands. In 1981 he ordered Juan Lombardo to create a plan to seize the Falkland Islands.

Vice-Admiral Juan Lombardo

Commander-in-chief of the South Atlantic Theatre of Operations during the Falklands War. He was also responsible for drawing up the Argentine plans for the invasion of the Falkland Islands. 

Brigadier General Basilio Lami Dozo

Head of the Argentine Air Force in 1982, and member of the military regime running the country. Reportedly the least convinced about the prospects of the invasion of the Falkland Islands, it was his arm of the Argentine armed forces that acquitted themselves the most effectively.

Brigadier Ernesto Horacio Crespo

Commander of the Argentine South Air Force which had been created specifically for Operation Rosario, the occupation of the Falkland Islands. It included all the air units that would be involved in the Falklands War from the Air Force and the Navy.

Brigadier General Mario Menéndez

Appointed as military governor of the Falkland Islands after the Argentine occupation in 1982. He was the commander of the Argentine land forces during Falklands War and signed the surrender document at Port Stanley on 14 June 1982.

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