The people of the Falklands first heard of the outbreak of war on the BBC World Service News at 7am on the morning of Sunday September 3rd 1939 and a proclamation was immediately issued, calling out the Defence Force. Moves for the defence of the Islands happened rapidly, with gun batteries and signal stations set up at a number of points around Stanley. Sixteen coastwatching stations were established in Camp. Mounted Rifle Sections of the Falkland Islands Defence Force were established on both East and West Falkland
13th December 1939
At the outbreak of the Second World War the British cruisers HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax were sent to the South Atlantic where they were joined by HMNZS Achilles and began to patrol the seas around the River Plate.
Read more: The Battle of the River Plate
Operation Tabarin was a secret British wartime expedition to Antarctica, mounted by the British Admiralty on behalf of the Colonial Office to establish a British presence in the Antarctic territories and to carry out scientific research. At the end of the war Operation Tabarin was replaced by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS), later the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
In 1942 a garrison was posted to protect the Islands in case of attack by the Japanese. The main body of this garrison was the 11th Battalion of the West Yorks, replaced by a smaller garrison of the Royal Scots in 1944. The garrison was housed in Nissen huts that were built on almost every available open space in Stanley, including Arch Green and the foreshore of Ross Road - the HQ was situated just in front of the present Museum. A large camp was also built on the Camber.
Islanders endured many of the same restraints and problems as their compatriots in Britain - blackout times were advertised in the Weekly News, ration books and billeting notices made their appearance, postal censorship and travel restrictions were introduced.
Read more: Civilian Life
From a population of just over 2,300, more than 150 men and women left to join His Majesty’s Forces - 24 did not return. Volunteers served with the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, various units of the Army, and the Merchant Navy. Others worked in factories, became nurses, or joined the Land Army. Many became involved in Civil Defence duties.
In July 1944 volunteers serving in the armed forces were given shoulder flashes bearing the name Falkland Islands.
High Season (November to End of March)Monday to Friday: 9.30am - 4.00pmWeekends: 2.00pm - 4.00pmHours may be extended on days when cruise ships are visiting Stanley
Off Season (April to end of October)Monday to Friday: 9.30am-12.00 noon and 1.30pm - 4.00pmWeekends: 2.00pm - 4.00pm
To promote awareness and appreciation of the history and heritage of the Falkland Islands and to protect and preserve this history for future generations.