From Mr Dair Farrar-Hockley.
Sir, I much enjoyed Michael Kuczynski’s informative letter on the question of Argentina’s claim to the Falklands (February 11). However, it was interesting that he chose to describe Commodore “Foul-weather Jack” Byron’s settlement as “tenuous”.
When we visited Port Egmont on Saunders Island earlier this month, David Pole-Evans (the owner) took my wife and me to see the site, which even today clearly delineates the stone buildings that formed the settlement and garrison: a community in excess of 250 people, we understood, including wives and children. The Commodore, on January 23 1765, naming the islands “for the crown of Great Britain ...”, added: “This is one of the finest harbours in the world. The whole navy of England might ride here in perfect security from all winds.”
The withdrawal of this established settlement nine years later is also tactfully recorded, “as part of an economical naval regulation”. So John Nott, as UK defence secretary, was not alone in 1981 in reviewing the costs of HM’s navy as part of his defence review!
On their departure, in 1774, Commodore Samuel Clayton (commanding officer at Falkland Islands) left a lead plaque suitably inscribed: “Be it known to all nations ... that the (said) Islands with this fort, the storehouses, wharfs and harbours, bays and creeks are the sole right of his most sacred majesty, George the Third ...”
Dair Farrar-Hockley, Wantage, Oxon, UK
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