2017 Foreword

This has been a hugely significant year for the Journal with much to note and commemorate in what is our 50th anniversary. This issue has returned to what is more the norm in size-19 articles in 238 pages-after a few years of exceptionally large contributions. The quality, however, remains the same I hope!

To start on a very sad note, I regret to have to report the passing of Sir Cosmo Haskard (aged 100) in February of this year. During his time as Governor of the Falkland Islands (1964-1970) and thereafter he was a great supporter of the Falklands and undoubtedly his interventions and representations to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office paid a large part in securing the future of the Islands at what was a very difficult time. These events are aptly recorded by David Tatham in his obituary to Sir Cosmo. He was, of course, Governor at the time the Journal was founded (1967) and his respect for, friendship and close working relationship with Tommy Thompson, Colonial Secretary, undoubtedly was instrumental in the continued success of the Journal in the early, precarious years.

It is also my sad duty to inform readers of the death of Phillada, Lady Haskard just 5 months after her husband (on 7th July). She was a huge supporter of the Falklands and the Journal and willingly loaned me material to copy and use from her meticulously filed archive of photographs and letters from the time of her sojourn in the Islands. On a very personal note, Geraldine and I had become very friendly with the Haskards over recent years, visiting them as often as we could in their home in County Cork, Ireland. They were charming hosts, delightful company and devoured every item and snippet of news from the Falklands, where they kept in touch with many friends. Phillada’s quote (printed in Voices and Echoes-Tales from Colonial Women by Jean Alexander, Quartet Books, London, 1983) reflects a sentiment she kept for the rest of her life: “I would like to mention the extreme kindness of the Islanders-I would stress the great welcome they gave. We made firm friends among them and that is something that I will always remember”.

We will sorely miss these visits and their friendship, they enriched our lives with their company. During their six year stay in the Falklands both Phillada and Sir Cosmo wrote home to their parents regularly (Phillada particularly so) and their detailed letters give a fascinating insight into the life of a Colonial Governor in an era and in a location with a set of circumstances which will never be repeated.

In May I was honoured to deliver the annual Mike Stammers (1943-2013) Memorial Lecture in Liverpool Library (organised by John Moore’s University, Liverpool). My lecture entitled “The Maritime History of the Falkland Islands – The Liverpool Connection” highlighted how much of the maritime history was being lost with decay and breakup of hulks around the Islands until Mike and Merseyside Maritime Museum started to support John Smith in researching and documenting them. Mike’s involvement was monumental in raising the profile of the maritime legacy of the Falklands and in the lecture I highlighted his outstanding contribution as well as his support to me on the editorial team.

To return to the developments which have occurred with the Journal since the last issue. I visited the Islands in February last and following that visit I can report the following:-

  1. On the Governor’s suggestion that the Falkland Islands Journal and the Museum sector in the Islands might become more closely integrated, I am pleased to report that this has been successfully taken forward. Most Museums have some form of publication outlet to report on their activities and to issue more in-depth reports on particular areas of research they are carrying out or targeted exhibitions they have mounted. Often a lot of work goes into presenting these exhibitions and when they are taken down, the material can be forgotten about. The FIJ would represent an ideal medium to present this material and document the context of the particular exhibit as a historical record. Andrea Barlow (Museum Director, The Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust) and Alison Barton (Museum Manager) are both extremely supportive of the closer collaboration and this year we publish a report by the Museum’s Director on the activities of the Historic Dockyard Museum over the past year. This will become a regular feature in the Journal and it is to be hoped that close integration of the Journal and Museum will gradually develop over time. The FIJ will of course keep its integrity and remain as an independent publication.
  2. On the 5th July, a Falkland Islands Stamp Issue was released to commemorate 50 years of the Falkland Islands Journal. This was great recognition of what the Journal has achieved over the half century and I am particularly grateful to the Governor for promoting this and Andrew Francis (Stamps Approval Committee and Head of Finance, FIG) for their support and guidance. The four stamps in the issue are illustrated on the back cover and the background to each is detailed in a short article.
  3. Most of you will be aware of the CD-ROM which allows users to view each issue of the Journal from 1967 through to 2015 and enables them to search the contents for any word or phrase and a link to every occurrence. This is a hugely valuable tool for researchers and I am extremely grateful to Nikki Buxton for producing what is now the 4th Edition and indeed for all that she does for the Journal. She outlines the history of the CD-ROM project and explains what a valuable tool it is in a short article. I was particular taken with Sharon Jaffray’s review of the 4th Edition in the Penguin News (31st March 2017) “…be warned that you should make sure you have plenty of time before inserting the disc into your computer….you will find so many interesting articles along the way that you can expect to lose at least a couple of hours… While most of these searches could be carried out on the internet, I doubt the information available would be so in-depth….. and one of the special things about the CD is that many of the articles are written by people we know”.

David Tatham’s Dictionary of Falklands Biography continues to be widely used by researchers. There is no individual publication which has proved such a valuable resource and is so frequently cited in the Journal. With this and the CD-ROM, Falkland historians are truly well served! An update on the DFB is provided as an insert.

The Jane Cameron National Archives continue to be the main source of material for historians, evidenced by the numerous references throughout this issue. The National Archivist, Tansy Bishop, performs a hugely valuable and supportive role in making the National Archives available to researchers. For example she now has a number of key government reports and most issues of the monthly farming/rural magazine “Wool Press” available on-line. Some of these have been used in the article by Aidan Kerr on the windchill factor (see below). Work on the website is ongoing and she intends to continue with uploading those records most often accessed by researchers.

Tansy is also responsible for putting together the schoolchildren’s “winning” and “highly commended” articles in the previous years’ Alastair and Jane Cameron Memorial History Prize. This year we print twelve articles covering a wide range of extremely interesting topics. Last year we had very thorough coverage of the 1966 DC4 “hijacking incident”, yet Craig Lewis has come up with more interesting material based on personal experiences and interviews. Both Stanley and the camp are well covered – the former with articles on soldiers housed during the Second World War (by Nicola Wilks) and the Infant and Junior School (Gabriella Hartley). “Bus” Aldridge was the first private owner of a Land Rover in the Falklands (in 1951) and his great grandson, Nick Rowlands has documented this plus a lot more about an extremely interesting man who put this Land Rover to very good use!

Camp is well covered by Nathan Luxton’s interesting piece on jetties that his Granddad (Ernie Luxton) had built and two farm histories – Lakelands Farm (Thomas Ford) and Roy Cove (Zoe Miller). Despite the importance of the Falkland Islands fishery it has been very poorly covered in the previous issues. This year I am very pleased to see two articles- one on the history of the fishery (by Tessa Clausen) and one on Beauchene Fishing Company (by Molly Roberts). Family histories are among the most popular topics with history projects and they are of huge interest to most readers inside and outside the Islands. This year is no exception with the Jaffray family (Benjamin Jaffray and Liam Jaffray) and the Llamosa family (Lachlan Crowie) being well researched and written up. Interestingly two of the History Prize articles (those by Zoe Miller and Nicola Wilks) directly link up with, and add more depth and insight to, other articles submitted completely independently.

In his excellent article last year on 50 years of the FIJ, David Walton commented that it was surprising that book reviews did not feature more in the Journal, given the prodigious amount of published material in the Falklands. I am very happy to make positive steps to redress this with reviews of two books – one on the Royal Naval Submarine Service since 1945 (reviewed by Stephen Palmer) which is very relevant to the Falklands and the other on Robin Wood’s Annotated Checklist of the Birds of the Falkland Islands (reviewed by the editor). I would like to continue to expand this section and encourage more submissions for review.

There is plenty of other material to interest readers. I highly commend Phil Stone’s unearthing of detail of the scientific work carried out in the Falklands by the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition 1903 and 1904. This is one of the lesser-known of the Antarctic Expeditions and I am particularly pleased that Phil has pulled together the Falklands material for the FIJ.

David Luxton is turning out a huge range of fascinating material from his own interesting life and those of his relatives and descendants. His personal account of the end of the whaling industry on South Georgia is a fascinating and well-illustrated story. His pictures are undoubtedly some of the last taken on the island before the demise of the whaling industry and the changes in administration on the island. Hence I felt they were worth reproducing as a memoir of an era never to be repeated. The 19th Century Garrison Companies of Stanley is based around the arrival of two of his ancestors to the Falklands – Benjamin Wilson (arrived 1864) and Henry Luxton (arrived 1858). Finally, more insight into the interaction of the “coast” i.e. Patagonia with the Falklands is given. It will encourage readers to know that even with these three submissions I am holding over several more of David’s until next year! As a follow on to David’s last article, I have added an interesting report on a fact finding visit to Patagonian ports undertaken in 1970 by Les Gleadell, Alastair Sloggie and Nigel Miller. This visit, coinciding with the decision to withdraw the RMS Darwin, is reflective of a crucial time in the history of the Islands where the future of communication with the Colony reflected a general political uncertainty.

The climate has a huge bearing on life in the Falklands and particularly on the sheep population. The wind-chill factor for newly shorn sheep and lambs is regularly reported on Falklands Radio – but do you know when it was first started and how it is calculated? Read the article by the person responsible for setting it up – Aidan Kerr.

Invasive species are a particular threat to Islands and no more so than mice on bird populations. The topic is thoroughly reviewed and results presented from research on mice control and possible side effect on Striated Caracaras by David Galloway, Robin Woods and Jonathan Meiburg. This is a controversial topic and these three highly experienced field ornithologists present evidence from other scenarios alongside that of their own meticulous research findings using dummy baits on Steeple Jason. The authors highlight the need to quantify bait consumption by Striated caracaras more systematically as this species would be at risk from both primary and secondary poisoning in any attempt to eradicate mice. They conclude that further research is needed before initiating an eradication program.

Last year (2016) was the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s visit to the Falklands on an attempt to rescue the crew of the Endurance marooned on Elephant Island, and it was the 40th anniversary of Lord Shackleton’s (his son) visit to the Islands. Despite the fleeting nature of their visits, as both Shackletons have played such a major role in the history of the Falklands, I thought it would be useful to list all the occasions they are mentioned in the FIJ and for what purpose. If you had the CD-ROM you could do this yourself!

In the article on The Shackletons and the Falklands in the 2016 issue of the FIJ I stated (p218) “The Admiralty was organising a search expedition but progress was slow as the designated vessel, Scott’s Discovery would take 5 months to come from Hudson Bay.” This was a gross simplification of the situation. The full role of the Discovery in the rescue is as published by Ann Savours, a highly respected maritime historian, in “The Voyages of the Discovery: the illustrated history of Scott’s ship”. It is felt that this account would be of sufficient interest to readers that it is worth reproducing.

Tony Carr has some charming reminisces of a Falklands childhood – this is exactly the sort of material the FIJ exists for – it gives such an insight into the past and stirs up many happy memories. His recollection of playing in the lifeboat of the Criccieth Castle is particularly interesting. The loss of the ship and voyage of the eleven surviving crew in an open lifeboat to the Falklands is one of the great stories of maritime survival of all time. It has been featured before in the Journal but having this personal, historic link brings home the huge significance of the maritime history of the Islands. To further emphasise this, I am using Robert Cadwalader’s excellent painting of the ship on the front cover.

Edward Walsh continues to research the church and ecclesiastical history of the Islands. This year he provides some deeper insight into the departure for the Falklands of Father Foran, the first resident priest.

I am indebted to all regular and new contributors to the Journal and encourage any budding writers or indeed anyone who has unearthed some topic of historic relevance to the Falklands and would be interested in seeing it in print to contact myself or any of the editorial team.

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