The reported deaths caused by suicides of those British Armed Forces post June 1982 [end of hostilities] who were called to WAR in April 1982 to reclaim the Falkland Islands, taken from Britain by force by the Argentinians.

In 2012, at the time of the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War with Argentina the press were quoted as stating the number of Falkland veterans who have committed suicide as currently around 300, more than those who died in battle during the course of the war.

This could not be substantiated by facts, but that didn't stop several publishers of repute repeating the story, as well as the inevitable sensationalists and gutter press getting on the band wagon! It caused great concern to many, no more so than to members of the armed forces themselves.

Was it true, and if so why?  Moreover, were it true, why was the Ministry of Defence not admitting the damage done to the minds of some of those involved in the conflict which led to this dreadful statistic?

 

The MOD has been repeatedly accused of hiding the true cost of the conflict and of not recognising the difficulties faced by the veteran community.

 

In 2010, Defence Statistics were finally in a position to answer the question as to whether there was an excess of suicides amongst the Falkland veterans, compared to the UK civilian population. Defence Statistics approached the policy leads, who agreed to cover the NHS-IC costs for flagging the cohort and any subsequent death notifications.

A large study was started which involved many of our learned bodies in civilian life as well as the full and total cooperation of MOD departments, and no stone was left unturned to collect the necessary data.

The following 'all telling' and thoroughly researched document was the end product and answered the question posed: was it true or false, and where possible, why did the press jump-the-gun after just one or two sad suicides of former members of the Falklands Task Force?

2012 of course is a long time ago in media terms, and the document is now lodged with our famous National Archives at Kew southwest London, a place I know well and delight being there but not the travel to and from!

Click on this link - 31_december_2012 falklands deaths.pdf and goodbye.