30 years ago today was my 12th birthday. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street and said, “Just rejoice at that news”. Oddly enough, she wasn’t referring to my birthday, but the recapture of Grytviken on South Georgia. This was something of a milestone in the Falklands Conflict, being the first place to be recaptured from the Argentinians.
The military commanders advised against an attack on South Georgia, as it required splitting four ships off from the rest of the task force ( fifth ship was later dispatched to reinforce the South Georgia group). The commanders wanted to keep the task force together and concentrate on recapturing the Falkland Islands themselves, but the British government wanted an early victory to ensure continued public support for the conflict.
It wasn’t an easy victory. The British didn’t suffer any casualties, but they did lose two helicopters. One helicopter pilot, Lieutenant Commander Stanley, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for skilful and courageous flying, which saved several lives. None the less, the Argentinian garrison surrendered and the government had their victory.