‘I hope we would do it all again if we had to’: Wife of Falklands hero Lt Col H marks 30th anniversary of invasion with poignant message
Widow Sara Jones said today ‘We stood up for what we believed in. We didn’t like to see a small country overrun’
Her husband Lt Col Herbert Jones died leading a charge against an Argentine machine gun post while commanding 2 Battalion, the Parachute Regiment
‘The people of the Falkland Islands should have the right to determine their own political future,’ said Jeremy Browne, Foreign Office Minister
Secretary of State ‘tried to strike a deal that would have seen the UK hand over power’, papers released on 30th anniversary reveal
The widow of Lt Col Herbert Jones has spoken out on the 30th anniversary of the Argentine Falklands invasion, saying ‘I hope we would do it all again.’
Sara Jones’s husband, known as ‘H’, died leading a charge against an Argentine machine gun post at Goose Green while commanding 2 Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.
Mrs Jones, 70, said: ‘We stood up for what we believed in. We didn’t like to see a small country overrun by somebody who had very little claim to it.’
She said: ‘The islanders have always been fiercely British and want to stay that way. I would like to believe that we would, if we could, do it again.’
On Sky News she spoke of how the islanders are ‘very grateful to to all those who died’ and that Britain should ‘always support the vulnerable.’
Mrs Jones, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for charity work and her husband, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
Her comments come as Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne told Sky News the Government believed in ensuring the Falkland islanders had the freedom to choose their future.
He said: ‘The Argentinians have decided to become much more confrontational in their approach but we are completely unshakeable on our central proposition that the people of the Falkland Islands should have the right to determine their own political future, just as people in Britain, or people in Argentina for that matter, have the right to determine their political future.
‘Our basic political relationship is not as good as it could be but the reason it is not as good as it could be is because the British Government has an absolute unshakeable belief in the right of the Falkland Islands’ people to self determination and the Argentinian government don’t share that belief.
‘You can believe in fair choice or you believe in coercion,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy said in a statement: ‘This month the country and all political parties will be united in remembrance. In committing to defending the Falkland Islanders’ wishes we are standing up for a universal, democratic ideal.
‘Commemorations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict are an important national moment. We must remember all those who fought. Over 900 lives were lost and we pay special tribute to the sacrifice of the 255 Britons who fell fighting for our country.
‘Despite recent Argentinian belligerence relations between our two countries are totally different from early 1982, but we continue to stand for that right. There is no evidence Falkland Islanders want anything other than to remain British. Commemorations this month will be about our pride in that principle as well as honouring the dead and injured.’
The comments came as it emerged that America secretly backed Argentina’s demands for sovereignty over the Falkland Islands in the weeks before the Royal Navy joined the battle in 1982.
Papers released to mark the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s invasion of the territory today show that then U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig privately tried to strike a deal that would have seen the UK hand over power – but it was rejected by the Argentine junta.
In one private briefing for Congressmen, the Secretary of State even makes smutty jokes about sexual relations between the farmers and their sheep.
Mr Haig, who began diplomacy between London and Buenos Aires in the weeks following the invasion, described both sides as behaving like ‘a demented man on a ledge ready to jump… but unable to grab our hand’.
Minutes of a National Security Council meeting in Washington on 30 April 1982 reveal the deal would have seen some form of shared sovereignty or lease-back arrangement promising Argentina future ownership.
He told President Ronald Reagan: ‘Our proposals are a camouflaged transfer of sovereignty.’ Despite Mr Haig’s plans the meeting agreed a ‘tilt’ in diplomatic stance towards Britain.
The revelations come as David Cameron warned Argentina over the future of the Falklands, insisting: ‘Britain remains staunchly committed to upholding the right of the Falkland Islanders…to determine their own future.
‘That was the fundamental principle that was at stake 30 years ago: and that is the principle which we solemnly re-affirm today.’
He paid tribute to the 255 British servicemen who lost their lives. And in an olive branch, he also said people should remember the 649 Argentine military personnel who died.
Argentina has threatened to launch lawsuits against British banks with links to oil exploration in Falklands waters.
In an audacious move, it sent a letter to more than a dozen City of London firms, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, warning against involvement in what it terms ‘unlawful hydrocarbon [oil] exploration activities’.
The attempt to apply pressure on the City will be seen as an effort to starve the explorers of funding and force them out of the region.
The papers were obtained by the Thatcher Foundation and can be viewed in full at its website