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1982 Oct 12 Tu
Margaret Thatcher

Speech at the Salute to the Task Force lunch

Document type: speeches
Document kind: Speech
Venue: Guildhall, City of London
Source: Thatcher Archive
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: 1210 MT arrived at the Mansion House for the victory parade. The text is marked "as delivered".
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 439
Themes: -

My Lord Mayor, ladies and gentlemen

May I thank you for that wonderful applause, but we are here to thank you for what you have done for our country.

And I am proud and honoured to join today with the city of London in its salute to the task force.

Military parades and pageants are part of the distinguished history of the city of London.

And it is right—and the whole nation will feel that it is right—that we gather in the heart of the city of London to honour all those who took part in the Falklands campaign.

And what a wonderful parade it has been. Surpassing all our expectations as the crowd, deeply moved and sensing the spirit of the occasion, accompanied the band by singing “Rule Britannia” .

The Falklands campaign was one of the most brilliant achievements of modern times—a triumph of endeavour and skill of planning and imagination. [end p1]

We owe that triumph to the best, the bravest and the most professional armed services in the world.

We thank you all:- — those who are here — the many more who, for reasons of space, could not be here — the 777 valiant young men who were wounded. — the 255 who gave their lives and whose memory will be honoured forever. we grieve for them and we think especially of their families in their sorrow.

We also thank:- — those who served in the royal fleet auxiliary — the merchant seamen — the workers in the dockyards and supply depots — the nurses and other volunteers — and those in British industry who made such splendid efforts to ensure that the force was properly equipped and supplied.

My Lord Mayor, this magnificent feat of arms has our unstinted praise. But our thanks go beyond even this. In those anxious months the spectacle of bold young Britons, fighting for great principles and a just cause, lifted the nation. Throughout the land our people were inspired. Doubts and hesitation were replaced by confidence and pride that our [end p2] younger generation too could write a glorious chapter in the history of liberty.

As the Reverend Sidney Smith said of our countrymen many years ago: and I re-affirm his words today, “I have boundless confidence in the British character …   . I believe more heroes will spring up in the hour of danger than all the military nations of ancient and modern Europe have ever produced.” today we know that is true.

But my Lord Mayor It is not only the people of the Falklands who feel gratitude to the task force. And they will be rejoicing with us today and their hearts will be full. We, the British people, are proud of what has been done, proud of these heroic pages in our island story, proud to be here today to salute the task force. Proud to be British.