2023 Foreword

Although slightly shorter in length than recent years, we hope that the contents of this year’s Journal will contain material of sufficient novelty and interest to keep all our readers satisfied. I am pleased to record that in this issue we have the 900th article to be published over the 56 years since the Journal was founded.  This is a tremendous achievement and represents a huge record of Falklands’ history. Some of those articles can still be sourced as back issue journals, but you will be pleased to know that you can purchase and access the complete set of articles on a memory stick – see the end of this foreword for details.

I am sad to have to report the death of the eminent Naval historian Ann Savours Shirley on 8th October 2022 (aged 94). Ann was a great supporter of the FIJ, a long-time subscriber who referred to the research published in the Journal in her own publications wherever she could. She was also an extremely kind and generous person and someone whom it was a privilege to have known. On a more cheerful note, we send our warmest congratulations to Clara McKay, Stanley, who was 100 years old on the 20th June this year. Clara is probably our oldest subscriber and has always enjoyed reading the Journal. We were sad to say goodbye to Tansy Bishop for her magnificent support through the National Archives and particularly with the History prizes. We wish her well in the next phase of her life and publish a tribute to Tansy and the contribution she has made to the Archives over the years. We wish Chloe Anderson-Wheatley all the best in her new role as National Archivist (Acting) and let her present herself in the annual National Archives report.

The profile of the Journal remains strong and, along with the National Archives and the Museum, they represent a tremendous resource for collecting, recording and disseminating the history and heritage of the Falklands. It was very gratifying to read the editorial in a recent issue of Penguin News: ‘At this week’s Education meeting however it was officially noted that a curriculum of Falkland Islands History for students has been completed and resources provided to support them in that. To be clear, the Jane and Alastair Cameron History prize has being doing an invaluable job recording Falklands’ history for many years. In fact the islands are indebted to the FICS and IJS, children, parents, grandparents, friends and relatives for this service. So much of our culture and social history has been recorded for posterity. The best of these can of course be found in the Falkland Islands Journal – a quick plug for that excellent publication that you can purchase at the Historic Dockyard Museum.

In a return to some degree of normality, it was great to be able to get to the Falklands in March this year after an almost three year gap. This was the longest break in my visits to the Falklands since 1983 and it was good to try and pick up the various strands of my involvement. Of particular relevance was that we were able to hold a meeting of most of the Editorial team in the Malvina House Hotel on 22nd March, where we welcomed Chloe Anderson-Wheatley to the team. I am pleased to report that our business was very positive and forward looking and that we were pleased to conclude that the FIJ had emerged from the pandemic experience relatively unscathed. Present were Tasmin Tyrell, Nikki Buxton, Alison Barton, Teena Ormond (representing Andrea Barlow who couldn’t make it) Jim and Geraldine McAdam and Chloe.

I am deeply grateful to the Museum staff for their support in the administrative, editorial and distribution processes of the Journal. The Museum continues to play a pivotal role in delivering a marvelous service to visitors and residents alike. It is expanding its activities and has exciting developments ahead of it. Over the years the Museum and National Trust and the National Archives have generated a huge amount of support and interest across a much wider audience than the islands themselves. The inclusion of reports from the FIMA Friends and the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust fully illustrate this. The Falkland Islands Philatelic Study Group (www.fipsg.org.uk) (FIPSG) also make a huge contribution to recording and publishing the Islands’ heritage and history through its philatelic legacy. Their beautifully produced quarterly journal, The Upland Goose contains a wealth of material of great interest to Falkland historians. Readers will note that more frequently the FIJ and the FIPSG print joint articles where we feel there would be an interest to our wider readership. It is a pleasure to work with the Editors, James and Elizabeth Grist, in this respect.

We should all welcome the publication of the third volume (one more to come) of Graham Pascoe’s authoritative Falklands Saga. This is ‘a groundbreaking study, the result of over 20 years of research in archives and libraries in Buenos Aires, La Plata, Montevideo, London, Cambridge, London, Paris, Munich and Washington DC. It is intended as a fundamental resource for all researchers into the history and legal status of the Falkland Islands’. Read David Tatham’s review for a fuller account of this important book.

Stephen Palmer continues his indefatigable stream of in-depth research into fascinating subjects with Falkland connections. His research into Robert Ryder opens up the life of an incredibly brave man and he and Hugh Osborne highlight an important, uncensored letter from Governor Allardyce sent during WWI.  The often overlooked Scotia expedition to the Antarctic led by Scotsman, William Speirs Bruce, is well described by Phil Stone who highlights the achievements – weather recording, natural history collection and some interesting impacts on the geopolitics around the Falklands, and the connection between Bruce and Shackleton. From an archaeological perspective

Rob Philpott’s report on his excavation around an 18th Century cattle ranching site at  Port Sussex will be of great interest to readers.  Clearly so much of the early history of the Falklands still remains to be unearthed.

Edward Walsh has delved into the pages of the FIC letterbooks of 1851-87 and found 60 which are all in some way or other either directly or indirectly connected with Ireland. These letters provide another view of the Company’s trading activities and recruitment of Irishmen who would go and work for them in the Falklands. In an absolutely fascinating case of history repeating itself about 100 years later, Port Howard Farm boosted its labour force by recruiting approximately 30 young men from the Mid-Ulster area of Northern Ireland. Why they should pick that area is still a mystery, but the process and the story of those men has been researched (by myself with enthusiastic help from others) over the past number of years and I thought now that the time was right to print what we had uncovered.  I was unaware of the parallel research Edward was conducting and the relevance it also has to the history and heritage of the Camp. Co-incidentally, and entirely unrelated to these two accounts, Erica Berntsen in the Falklands has produced a diorama of panels covering 100 years of Camp history. These were produced for Farmers Week in July 2023 and mounted in the Town Hall for public display.  Erica put a huge amount of effort into, and consulted widely, to produce this exhibit. On seeing it I felt that this would be an excellent way to concisely present an overview of a hugely significant era of a way of life, lifestyle and heritage which is wholly unique to the Falklands. We are very happy to reproduce the exhibit in its entirety to make it available to a wider audience and to have it permanently on record for future use.

Readers will notice that the list of projects published from the Jane and Alastair Cameron History Prizes is considerably shorter than in recent years. This is because the Infant and Junior School carried out a special project themselves to commemorate the legacy around Falklands 40. They plan to publish a booklet from this which will be of great interest. The competition returned to its usual format this year and next year we will be back to a fuller range of prizewinning and highly commended articles to choose from. That must not detract from the four extremely interesting articles we do publish this year from the Community school. Two are directly related to experiences from 1982 (the FIDF on invasion night and Denzil Clausen’s accounts of events around the battle for Goose Green). Abigayle Alazia’s lovely personal piece on her Grandad Michael also includes a reference to his (underplayed) role in 1982.

We finish on a couple of stories which might be considered a bit spooky or scary: Amber Barlow’s fascinating account of events in the Museum (her Highly Commended entry in the History Prize competition) and Gerald Cheek and my experiences on a TriStar flight to the Falklands in 1993. You can judge for yourselves!

I express my gratitude to the editorial and production team, all of whom give freely of their time to help produce the Falkland Islands Journal.

Commemorative stamp issue
I have some spare copies of the first-day cover commemorating the 50th anniversary of the FIJ stamp issue, released in 2017 and now withdrawn. Please contact me if interested (£15 including postage).

Back issues
Back issues of the FIJ can be obtained from the Museum Shop in Stanley.  The full set of back issues on a memory stick are available in Stanley from the Museum Shop, the Capstan Gift Shop or the Pod Gift Shop. Overseas they are available from the Editor.

Our sponsors
I would like to put on record our gratitude to our sponsors for this issue. South Atlantic Trading (Roy McGill) has shipped the journals to the Islands free of charge, the Falkland Islands Company continues its long history of support by selling copies at no profit in their outlets in the Falklands and Synergy Information Systems Ltd produce the back issue memory sticks and sponsor the colour printing.

Jim McAdam