Falklands Forty - 100th Cyclists' Memorial Service and Updates

Our latest Falklands Forty update! The team, sponsored by Igne (then SafeLane) SafeLane, attended the 100th Cyclists' Memorial Service in Meriden - read more and meet a new team member, Gary Carr.

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In June, we first wrote about the Falklands Forty initiative, and introduced you to some of the team of dedicated cyclists and veterans, headed by Gus Hales, who will be peddling across Britain next year to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War.

In this update, we bring you the latest training news, introduce you to another member of the team, and detail how you can get involved.

The Falklands War 40th anniversary remembrance cycle ride

Gus has brought together a team of like-minded Falklands War veterans who all share a love for cycling.  They will be riding to raise awareness of the attributes it took to win the war - endeavour, endurance and comradeship - and to pay homage to those who fought in it.

In solidarity with the team, we are proudly sponsoring them - and not only will some of The Igne Family be joining the ride, but you can too!

The ride will begin on the 5th of June 2022, averaging 12.5 -14mph so that anyone may participate.  It will be comprised of two core groups, covering 40 – 60 miles per day.

Falklands Forty itinerary so far...

Day 1 will commemorate the sea born operations – setting off a day before the D-Day anniversary.  Gus and the Falklands Forty team will remember the naval and amphibious operations.  They will also remember the brave soldiers who died when a MM-38 Exocet missile struck the HMS Cardiff, as well as those who died on the Sir Galahad

Day 2 will commemorate the Falklands War land battles.  Many say the war was won in the Brecon Beacons, a training area in Wales resembling the terrain of the Falklands Islands.  As such, the Falklands 40 will cycle over the Beacons and into Brecon to pay their tributes.

Day 3 will commemorate those who lost their lives in the Sea King helicopter that crashed into the ocean, killing twenty members of the SAS.

Day 4 will be to remember the air campaign.  The Falklands 40 will visit the RAF museum in Cosford which houses the Harriers and Vulcan Aircrafts that were integral to winning the war.  They will also be encouraging local cycle groups, schools, vintage cycle clubs, and more to join their ride.

Day 5 will see the Falklands Forty visiting the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to remember the British Forces who took part in the ‘Op Corporate’ campaign.

Day 6 will be for remembering the cyclists who died during World War I and World War II.  The first British death during the First World War was a reconnaissance cyclist in the 4th battalion of the Middlesex regiment named Private John Parr.  They will then move onto the 'Falklands Arms' Public House for a celebratory beer, commemorating the Argentinian surrender. 

At the 255-mile point, the cyclists will stop and remember the 255 British military members and civilians killed during the Falklands campaign.

On Day 7, the cyclists will ride in silence and quiet reflection out of respect for the fallen.

Day 8 will see the conclusion of the Falkland Forty’s journey, where they will visit some of the graves of the brave soldiers who fought during the Falklands War.  Some were as young as 17 when their lives were cut short.

Meriden - 100th anniversary cyclists’ memorial service 2021

Ahead of next year's ride, some of the Falklands Forty team went on a joint training ride recently, cycling to Meriden to visit the Cyclists' War Memorial.  The national memorial was erected in 1920, commemorating cyclists killed during the First World War.  A bronze plaque was added in 1963 to commemorate cyclists killed in World War 2.

Since 1921, it has been tradition for cyclists across the country to pay their respects at the memorial every year.  This made the 2021 event the 100th Memorial Cyclists' Service.  In 2020, the event was only hosted online due to the global pandemic, making the 2021 event even more special.

Joining the ride was Gary Carr.  He joined the RAF in 1980 and his first posting was RAF Odiham on 240 OCU (Chinook) and then 18 Squadron Chinooks.  He sailed to the Falklands on MV Astronomer after Atlantic Conveyor was hit by an Exocet.
Talking about why he has joined the Falklands Forty initiative Gary commented: "I completed 23 years' of service, finally settling in Shropshire near RAF Cosford where I currently teach Aeronautical Engineering.  Following my discharge, I became Coaching Officer for Archery GB before being selected as Archery Programme Coordinator for the Olympic, Paralympic and Youth Development Squad.  I took up serious cycling in 2017 after buying a decent bike to commute the 5 miles to work!
"Feeling the need to do more I started entering 75 miles + sportives, cycling whenever possible and as much as I can get away with!
"In 2020 I cycled 6000 miles in total, and this year I should be close to the same distance.  I recently completed the 2020 Tour of Anglesey, the Hardest Day Challenge and the Shifnal Scout Charity 100K Challenge.  Looking forward to other challenges in the future I was excited when I heard about the Falklands Forty and am now a proud member of the team."

If you want to support Gus and the Falklands Forty as they ride to remind us of the Falklands War, the sacrifices, the victory and the core values of endeavour, endurance, and comradeship, you can contact us or join the Facebook group.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Falklands Forty?

Falklands Forty is a team of cyclists comprising of veterans from the Falklands War.  They aim to raise awareness about the conflict that is sometimes forgotten, despite its lasting impact on Britain.

What are the Falklands Forty team's three core values?

Endeavour – those who fought in the Falklands Islands did not know where they were going and what they would be faced with when they got there – they were pushing into the unknown.

Endurance – soldiers had to walk very long distances, carrying heavy packs, not knowing how far they would have to go or how long they would be fighting for.

Comradeship – the only way to get through the hardships of the Falklands War was to forge friendships and embrace camerarderie.

Why are Igne and the Falklands Forty teaming up?

In 2020, Igne completed clearance of the Falklands Islands - having removed thousands of landmines that were laid during the war.  This task took 11 years to complete.  Igne employs many ex-services personnel and feels a strong connection to the Falklands Islands and its people, in addition it's home to plenty of keen cyclists!  When the Falklands 40 sought support, Igne eagerly agreed to sponsor them and get involved.

When will the Falklands Forty ride be taking place?

The ride will begin on June 5th 2022, marking the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War conflict.  They will be departing from Cardiff Castle, and they will conclude their journey 8 days later at Aldershot.  They will be travelling 40 – 60 miles per day.

Can I join the Falklands Forty cycle route?

Yes!  You can join the Falklands Forty Facebook group or contact us for more information.