Argentine Military Cemetery

Last updated
The Argentine Military Cemetery on East Falkland
Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) [1]
Cementerio Argentino de Puerto Darwin.jpg
The Argentine Military Cemetery, on East Falkland
Spanish: Cementerio de Darwin
For Argentine forces
Established1983 (1983)
Location 51°47′49″S58°56′26″W / 51.79694°S 58.94056°W / -51.79694; -58.94056
East Falkland

Total burials237
Unknown burials31
Total commemorated
Burials by nation
  • Argentina – 237
Burials by war

The Argentine Military Cemetery, Spanish : Cementerio de Darwin [2] (Darwin Cemetery), is a military cemetery on East Falkland that holds the remains of 237 Argentine combatants killed during the 1982 Falklands War (Spanish : Guerra de las Malvinas). It is located west of the Darwin Settlement close to the location of the Battle of Goose Green and there is a replica of the cemetery at Berazategui in Buenos Aires Province Argentina. [3]

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian, is a Western Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

East Falkland Island in Falkland Islands, Atlantic Ocean

East Falkland is the largest island of the Falklands in the South Atlantic having an area of 6,605 km2 or 54% of the total area of the Falklands. The island consists of two main land masses, of which the more southerly is known as Lafonia; it is joined by a narrow isthmus that was the scene of the Battle of Goose Green during the Falklands War.

Falklands War War between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982

The Falklands War, also known as the Falklands Conflict, Falklands Crisis, Malvinas War, South Atlantic Conflict, and the Guerra del Atlántico Sur, was a ten-week war between Argentina and the United Kingdom over two British dependent territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland Islands, and its territorial dependency, the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. It began on Friday, 2 April 1982, when Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands in an attempt to establish the sovereignty it had claimed over them. On 5 April, the British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force before making an amphibious assault on the islands. The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982, returning the islands to British control. In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities.



The Cemetery in 2008 Cementerio de Puerto Darwin, Islas Malvinas.jpg
The Cemetery in 2008

When the war ended on June 14, 1982, most Argentine bodies were left in temporary graves close to where they fell. Britain offered to send them to Buenos Aires, but the ruling military junta said they were already in their homeland. [4] [5]

In December 1982 the British government commissioned a firm of civilian undertakers under the command of British Army Colonel Geoffrey Cardozo, to consolidate all the temporary Argentine graves on the Islands to a single location. Assisted by the armed forces, they identified and documented each Argentine grave site and brought the bodies to Port Darwin. As at the time this was the largest single Argentine grave site, with the bodies of the 47 Argentine soldiers, killed at the Battle of Goose Green and buried there soon after the battle. [6]

Darwin, Falkland Islands Place in Falkland Islands

Darwin is a settlement in Lafonia on East Falkland, Falkland Islands, lying on Choiseul Sound, on the east side of the island's central isthmus, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north of Goose Green. It was known occasionally as Port Darwin.

Many of the bodies collected were without dog-tags, so best efforts were made to identify each soldier from personal effects found on the body. Single items were not considered conclusive, but collections were. All were given a Christian burial with full military honours. Each grave is marked by a white wooden cross with the name of the soldier on it if known or Soldado Argentino Solo Conocido Por Dios ("Argentine Soldier Known Only By God") if not.

Christian burial

A Christian burial is the burial of a deceased person with specifically Christian ecclesiastical rites; typically, in consecrated ground. Until recent times Christians generally objected to cremation because it interfered with the dogma of the resurrection of the body, and practiced inhumation almost exclusively. Today this opposition has all but vanished among Protestants. Catholics are now able to be cremated also, and this is rapidly becoming more common, but the Eastern Orthodox Churches still mostly forbid it.

Military funeral

A military funeral is a memorial or burial rite given by a country's military for a soldier, sailor, marine or airman who died in battle, a veteran, or other prominent military figures or heads of state. A military funeral may feature guards of honor, the firing of volley shots as a salute, drumming and other military elements, with a flag draping over the coffin.

There is also a common grave on Pebble Island containing the 5 crewman of a T-24 Learjet, belonging to Fenix Squadron shot down by a surface-air missile from HMS Exeter, over Pebble Island on June 7. This grave contains the remains of airman: Comodoro Rodolfo de la Colina, Vicecomodoro Juan Jose Ramon Falconier, Major Marcelo Lotufo, Subof Pr Francisco Tomas Luna and Subof Ay Guido Antonio Marizza.

Learjet 24 airplane

The Learjet 24 is an American six-to-eight-seat twin-engine, high-speed business jet, which was manufactured by Learjet as the successor to the Learjet 23.

Sea Dart British naval surface-to-air missile

Sea Dart or GWS30 was a British surface-to-air missile system designed by Hawker Siddeley Dynamics in the 1960s, entering service in 1973. It was fitted to the Type 42 destroyers, Type 82 destroyer and Invincible-class aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy.

HMS <i>Exeter</i> (D89) Type 42 destroyer

HMS Exeter was a Type 42 destroyer, the fifth ship of the Royal Navy to be named Exeter, after the city of Exeter in Devon. The vessel fought in the Falklands War and the first Gulf War, she was scrapped in 2009.

The cemetery is protected by a walled enclosure with a cenotaph including an image of Argentina's patron saint, the Virgen del Lujan. Surrounding the graves, the names of the 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors and airmen who lost their lives in the conflict, are inscribed on glass plaques, with no indication of military rank or service, as requested by their families.

Our Lady of Luján Our Lady of Luján

Our Lady of Luján is a celebrated 16th-century icon of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. The image, also known as the Virgin of Luján, is on display in the Basilica of Luján in Argentina. The feast day of Our Lady of Luján is May 8.

Since the end of the conflict the bodies of three more Argentine pilots have been interred

On 9 November 2002 Prince Andrew, himself a Falklands War Veteran, visited the Argentine cemetery and laid a wreath. [9] During the visit the Prince said, "I lost friends and colleagues and I know what it must be like for the great many Argentines who have shared the same experience." [9]

Since the UK-Argentine joint statement on 14 July 1999 [10] Argentine families are responsible for the cemetery's upkeep and in 2007, Sebastián Socodo, an Argentine married to a Falkland Islander, was employed to do the job of cemetery maintenance. [11] [12]

State of interments

'Monumento a los Caidos en Malvinas' (Monument for the fallen on the Falkland Islands) in Plaza San Martin, Buenos Aires. Malvimasmemorial.jpg
'Monumento a los Caídos en Malvinas' (Monument for the fallen on the Falkland Islands) in Plaza San Martín, Buenos Aires.

In total 649 Argentines were killed during the 74 days of the conflict. [14]

ARA General Belgrano

The greatest loss of life in the war was in the sinking of the Argentine Navy cruiser ARA General Belgrano, with 321 members of the crew and 2 civilians on board at the time, with most of these going down with her. [15]

Buried in other places

Two Argentines are interred at separate locations
Thirty-one Mainland burials

Remains not recovered

Fifty-two Argentine combatants were lost with aircraft or ships and their remains were not recovered:

Acts of vandalism

2012 vandalism

In July 2012 the glass casing protecting a figure of Argentina's patron saint, the Virgin of Luján, at the head of the cemetery was smashed with what appeared to be an axe. [28] Argentina presented a formal protest to the British government and informed the United Nations and the International Red Cross. Sebastián Socodo, an Argentinian-Falklander [29] responsible for the cemetery's upkeep, said families were notified and that it was not clear when it occurred or who the perpetrators were. Police in the Falklands held an investigation and the glass casing was repaired.

2017 vandalism

A further act of vandalism was found in January 2017, when the glass was broken and the head of the Virgin of Luján statue damaged. The Argentinian Foreign Ministry made a formal complaint to the British Government condemning the vandalism and calling for an enquiry. A Falkland Islands Government statement described the act as "distressing for the families (of the soldiers) and regretted by the people of the Falkland Islands" and an enquiry was begun by the Royal Falkland Islands Police. Former British Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan offered his apologies to the Argentine Government, welcoming the enquiry. [30]

Identification using DNA

As part of a joint project between the UK, Falkland Islands, Argentine Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a forensic team exhumed, analyzed and documented the remains in each of the unidentified graves in the Argentine cemetery with this DNA compared to that of surviving family members. The DNA identification project was co-funded by the UK and Argentine Governments as a humanitarian initiative in line with international law. [31] On 13 September 2016 a UK-Argentina Joint Communication both countries expressed their full support for a DNA identification process in respect of all unknown Argentine soldiers buried in the Falkland Islands. The ICRC's multinational 14-member forensic anthropology team began its efforts in June 2017 with samples analyzed in the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team's laboratory, and scientists in the United Kingdom and Spain confirmed the results of the DNA testing.

As of March 2018 the identity of ninety bodies has been confirmed and more than 200 relatives of these soldiers were able to visit the actual grave for the first time. [32] . On March 26 2018 Argentina’s Secretary for Human Rights, Claudio Avruj accompanied the Argentine families, along with retired British Army Colonel Geoffrey Cardozo, who was originally responsible for burying the Argentine dead immediately after the conflict. The visit included a religious ceremony jointly conducted by Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires, Bishop Eguia Segui, and the Right Reverend Abbott Hugh Allan from the United Kingdom.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Argentine air forces in the Falklands War

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Battle of Goose Green engagement of the Falklands War

The Battle of Goose Green was an engagement between British and Argentine forces during the Falklands War. Goose Green and its neighbouring settlement Darwin on East Falkland lie on Choiseul Sound on the east side of the island's central isthmus. They are about 13 miles (21 km) south of the site where the major British amphibious landings took place in San Carlos Water on the night of the 21st to the 22nd May 1982.

This article describes the composition and actions of the Argentine naval forces in the Falklands War. For a list of naval forces from the United Kingdom, see British naval forces in the Falklands War.

ARA <i>Veinticinco de Mayo</i> (V-2) Colossus-class aircraft carrier

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Sovereignty over the Falkland Islands is disputed by Argentina and the United Kingdom.

Malvinas Day public holiday in Argentina

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The cultural impact of the Falklands War spanned several media in both Britain and Argentina. A number of films and television productions emerged from the conflict. The first Argentine film about the war was Los chicos de la guerra in 1984. The BBC drama Tumbledown (1988) told the story of a British officer who got paralysed due to a bullet wound. The computer game Harrier Attack (1983) and the naval strategy game Strike Fleet (1987) are two examples of Falklands-related games. A number of fictional works were set during the Falklands War, including in Stephen King's novella The Langoliers (1990), in which the character Nick Hopewell is a Falklands veteran. The war provided a wealth of material for non-fiction writers; in the United Kingdom (UK) an important account became Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins' The Battle for the Falklands.

Battle of Seal Cove minor naval action west of Lively Island during the 1982 Falklands war

The Battle of Seal Cove was a minor naval action west of Lively Island, during the 1982 Falklands War. On 22 May 1982, while supporting Operation Sutton off San Carlos Bay, the British frigates HMS Brilliant and HMS Yarmouth received orders to stop and seize the Argentine Navy armed coastal supply boat ARA Monsunen.

South Jason Island Island in Jason Islands, Falkland Islands

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Timeline of the history of the Falkland Islands

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Gavin John Hamilton, MC was a British Army infantry soldier. He was the Officer Commanding 19 (Mountain) Troop, D Squadron, 22 Special Air Service during the Falklands War when he was killed in action behind enemy lines on West Falkland.

Papal mediation in the Beagle conflict

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Grand Bourg City in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Pablo Carballo Argentine air force officer

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Antonio “El Gaucho" Rivero was a gaucho who murdered the five leading members of the settlement of Port Louis on the Falkland Islands on 26 August 1833.

Blue Beach Military Cemetery at San Carlos

Blue Beach Military Cemetery at San Carlos is a British war cemetery in the Falkland Islands holding the remains of 13 of the 255 British casualties killed during the Falklands War in 1982, and one other killed in early 1984. It is situated close to where 3 Commando Brigade had its initial headquarters after landing on 21 May 1982.


  1. "WordReference, English-Spanish Dictionary. Falklands: the Falklands, las (islas) Malvinas". Retrieved 2010-03-15.
  2. cementerio de darwin
  3. La réplica del cementerio de Darwin, ubicado en el cementerio de Berazategui, un muro en el que están plasmados los nombres de los siete soldados berazateguenses que fallecieron [ permanent dead link ]
  4. Peter Snow, Dan Snow (16 July 2008). "1982 Falklands". 20th Century Battlefields. BBC. Retrieved 20 October 2011. After the war the British government offered to return the bodies of the Argentinian dead to Argentina for burial, but their government refused. They said that these islands were part of Argentina, and the bodies would remain here. For the Falkland islanders, these graves are a reminder that Argentina refuses to drop its claim their homeland.
  5. Gregory Fremont-Barnes. The Falklands 1982: Ground Operations in the South Atlantic. p. 93.
  6. Suplemento de Historia Argentina (in Spanish)
  7. "One of their aircraft is missing". Archived from the original on 7 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  8. "UK military honours for Argentine Pilot" . Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  9. 1 2 Savill, Richard (2002-11-09). "Prince's Falklands tribute to Argentine dead". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  10. "UK-Argentina exchange of letters" . Retrieved 2009-11-09.[ dead link ]
  11. "Simple service pays respect to the Argentine dead" . Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  12. "Love bridges Falklands divide". BBC News. 4 April 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  13. Buenos Aires War Memorial is at coordinates 34°35′37″S58°22′29″W / 34.59373°S 58.374782°W
  14. Full list of Argentine Casualties, accessed November 2009
  15. "List of the missing crew". Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
  16. Evans, Michael (2007-10-05). "Marine killed Argentinian in Falklands war blunder". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
  17. Felix Artuso, the death of a prisoner of war - images & grave
  18. Omar Alberto Rupp Burial at sea
  19. at Cerrillos, Salta Archived 2009-11-16 at the Wayback Machine .
  20. Argentine Army Aviation decorations Archived 2007-07-31 at the Wayback Machine . 1
  21. Slideshow of images showing combat damage & photographs of some of the crew
  22. "3ra. Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Caza y Ataque". Archived from the original on 2015-05-31. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  23. "Carlos Zubizarreta". Archived from the original on 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  24. Monument tribute to Rolando Pacholczuk in the Park Cemetery of Mar del Plata
  25. Argentina honors last airman downed in Falklands war
  26. B-110 May 1: 1st Lt Mario Hipolito Gonzalez and Lt Eduardo de Ibañez. Third ejected Capt. Fernando Casado (B-108 June13) was returned to Argentina in 2008
  27. Rol de honor Archived 2012-03-20 at the Wayback Machine .
  28. Argentina will formally protest vandalism at the Darwin cemetery in Falklands
  29. "Love bridges Falklands divide". BBC News . 4 April 2007. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  30. Ross, Alice (25 January 2017). "Falkland Islands police investigate vandalism at war cemetery". The Guardian.
  31. The 2 countries agree to try to identify the soldiers and divide the $1.5 million in related costs
  32. Relatives of Argentine soldiers killed during the Falklands War visit the Argentine cemetery at Darwin