Falklands 40 Exhibition

Falklands 40 Exhibition


Posted 2022-03-13 by Tony Collinsfollow
Preparations are being made to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War which saw Britain reclaim the Falkland Islands from Argentina in June 1982. And, in the build-up to the anniversary, the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is staging an exhibition of drawings by the official war artist who accompanied the British taskforce at the time. The exhibition, entitled Falklands 40: Sketches from the Frontline, will continue at the Arboretum, in Alrewas, near Lichfield, until the 40th-anniversary date in June. It comprises a number of emotive drawings by Linda Kitson, who became the first official female war artist when she was awarded the Falklands War commission by the Imperial War Museum.

Accompanying information within the exhibition reveals that Linda, then aged 37, set sail from England on 12 May 1982 onboard the Queen Elizabeth ll, one of only a handful of women among 3,000 men. Following the invasion of the Falklands by Argentinian troops on April 2, the QE2, and fellow cruise liner the SS Canberra, were requisitioned to transport British troops on their 8,000 mile, two week, journey. In fact, one of Linda's earliest drawings on display in the exhibition is of Welsh guardsmen on the flight deck of the QE2, one of two such decks which were converted from the liner's swimming pools.

All told, Linda produced hundreds of drawings during her Falklands posting, using either pencil, ink or crayon, So skilled was she at working at speed that she was able to produce around six sketches a day, Around a hundred of her drawings returned to England on the QE2 while Linda continued to create more sketches on the Falklands Islands themselves. The scenes she captured throughout the war commission ranged from the flight deck to the frontline, often sketched in harsh conditions and freezing conditions. One of her later drawings, again on show at the exhibition, is of Port Stanley from Sapper Hill. As Linda notes, it took several days of hard fighting before the Argentinians were defeated at Stanley.

The conflict lasted 74 days and cost more than 900 lives. This included 255 British personnel and three Falkland islanders. Visitors to the Falklands 40 exhibition at the Arboretum can also hear an audio recording of Linda's experiences. Now aged 77, she said, "my life is the works you see". She goes on to talk about the pain she felt as sleet cut her face, the risk of being attacked by Argentinian planes, and seeing British ship Sir Galahad alight after being bombed by enemy aircraft. Linda concluded: "The need for war artists is absolutely essential....because you have to bring it home to people what conflict is like."

For more information about the National Memorial Arboretum, visit www.thenma.org.uk or call 01283 245100. Entry to the Arboretum is free but there is a car parking charge of £4.

70633 - 2023-01-26 01:48:18


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