Royal Naval Museum

Sea Wolf and Sea Cat missiles on display

Task Force South: The Navy and the Falklands War

A special exhibition at the Royal Naval Museum

31st March 2007 – Friday 29 February 2008

Museums across Britain will explore the Falklands conflict this year but the Royal Naval Museum presents an exhibition focussing on the vital role played by the Royal Navy during the war and continuing operations in the South Atlantic. 

What happened in 1982?

25 years ago Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, an invasion that started an intensely fought, 11-week war in which 130 British naval personnel were killed, 257 were wounded and six ships were lost.  Many more British and Argentinian servicemen also lost their lives.

Map of Hawkins Maidenland and Falkland Sound

 'Task Force South' explores, for the first time, the essential contribution of the Royal Navy to a successful operation to reclaim the Falklands.

The exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about the conflict told in the words of the men and women of the Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Queen Alexandra Royal Navy Nursing Service and the Merchant Navy. Although they all played a key role, they remember the war in very different ways.

The Task Force route - from Britain to The Falklands across 8 000 miles

Visitors also have the chance to reflect on a conflict widely regarded as ‘the people’s war’, brought into our living rooms by the news media. Through video footage, sound extracts, artefacts, images and interactives, visitors come face to face with the realities of the conflict, the good times and the bad.

HMS Avenger Gunnery Team with 'Bertha', homeward bound

What you can see on display...

Jolly Roger flag flown by HMS Conqueror the submarine that sunk the Argentinian cruiser, General Belgrano – the first ship sunk by a nuclear powered submarine during wartime (on loan from Royal Navy Submarine Museum).

An Exocet missile - The weapon most feared by the Royal Navy in 1982.  It was this missile that hit and sank HMS Sheffield and Atlantic Conveyor and badly damaged HMS Glamorgan.

A Sea Wolf missile - In 1982 HMS Brilliant, Broadsword and Andromeda carried modern Sea Wolf missiles for short-range defence against air and missile attack.  Sea Wolf shot down an enemy aircraft each time the missile was fired but the systems software prevented some firings leading to damage to both Brilliant and Broadsword (on loan from Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower).

The Task Force South exhibition

A Cross of Nails - One of a number made from the medieval nails of Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by German bombing in the Second World War. It was presented to HMS Coventry when she was commissioned in 1978 and recovered from the wreck by divers after the war (on loan from Dean and Chapter of Coventry Cathedral)

Voices of War: 16 sound bites from interviews conducted between 1990 and 2007 with people who fought for the Falklands, were involved with the Task Force or had family members sailing for the South Atlantic. 

Listen to extracts of interviews with people who fought for the Falklands in 'Voices of War'

Blueys’ – single sheet, airmail letters sent by John Lippiett of HMS Ambuscade to his family in the U.K. Visitor can also write their own bluey, telling us what they experienced in 1982 or what they think of the exhibition.

The new book ‘War and Peas; Intimate letters from the Falklands War’, based on John Lippiett's fascinating letters, is due for publication this month. Read more at: www.falklandswarletters.com or listen to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 from Saturday 28th April.

The Royal Naval Museum presents

‘Task Force South’ in partnership with:

The Royal Marines Museum,

The Fleet Air Arm Museum

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum.  

The exhibition also contains material loaned by individuals, corporate groups and museums from all over the country, including P&O and the National Maritime Museum. 

Royal Marines 'yomping' the Falklands

Visitor Information

Task Force South opens to the public on 31st March 2007 and runs until Friday 29th February 2008.

Tickets to the Royal Naval Museum are required to visit the exhibition.  All-inclusive tickets give entry to each of the attractions on site, including HMS Victory, Mary Rose, HMS Warrior 1860 and Action Stations.  Tickets are also available just for the Royal Naval Museum. 

For further information visit www.historicdockyard.co.uk or ring 24 hour recorded information line 023 9286 1512.

Learn more about the Falklands conflict .

Back to top