IWM North marks 30th anniversary of Falklands War with new photographic display

By Ruth Hazard | 02 April 2012

A photograph of a line of army serviceman carrying backpack walking across a field with one carrying the union jack flag
The Royal Marines marching across the Falklands towards Port Stanley© Imperial War Museum
Exhibition: The Falklands 1982, Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, until July 2014

Marking the 30th anniversary of the Falklands invasion, this series of images from the IWM North archives shows the heroes, casualties, dangers and conflicts that characterised the 10-week war.

Diisspelling the myth that very few photos were taken during this period the display reveals that, despite access restrictions and logistical difficulties, photographers were able to capture some truly striking images of the conflict.

A picture of medical crew carrying a soldier on a stretcher
A casualty from HMS Sheffield is rushed to the sick bay on board HMS Hermes© Imperial War Museum
The six images in the outdoor display have been blown up to fit huge, five-metre high frames, displayed against the backdrop of the building in a design by Daniel Libeskind which represents a globe shattered by conflict.

The images include Fleet Air Arm pilot Lieutenant Commander Nigel "Sharkey" Ward, pictured moments after shooting down an Argentinean aircraft.  

Ward, who commanded 801 Squadron, personally shot down three enemy aircraft in combat. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions.

“The photographers who went to the Falklands had little experience of frontline combat and very little time to prepare,” says Hilary Roberts, Head Curator of IWM’s Photograph Archive.

“Nevertheless, they took many remarkable pictures, which have received very little acknowledgement until now. 

A photograph of a soldier holding a metal can over a small portable cooker
An Argentine soldier cooks a meal in the sheep shearing shed used as temporary holding area for PoWs© Imperial War Museum
“This spectacular display commemorates the conflict and pays tribute to the photographers’ achievements 30 years ago.”

Unique artefacts from the conflict, in which 252 British servicemen, 655 Argentinian servicemen and three islanders died, will be shown inside IWM North's Main Exhibition Space.

These include a Kawasaki motorbike taken from a Falkland Islander by Argentinean troops and captured by British forces, as well as Argentinean matchboxes bearing the image of the cruiser General Belgrano, which was sunk by Royal Navy submarine HMS Conqueror on May 2 1982.

Front pages from The Sun newspaper reporting the sinking of General Belgrano are shown alongside contrasting Argentinean magazines from the same period.

The exhibition will also feature copies of drawings by Linda Kitson, IWM’s official war artist from the conflict. Kitson produced more than 400 drawings, often completed at speed and in hostile conditions, as well as during the night.

  • Open 10am-5pm (closed December 24-26). Admission free.
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