David Tatham is to be warmly congratulated on this enterprise.
The Dictionary of Falklands Biography fills a gap of which we were perhaps not aware until recently. The Falkland Islands have for years been famous for their dramatic history, the political controversy which surrounds that history, their beauty and the amazing wild life which abounds on and around their shores. But the essential character of the Islands is formed by the people who live there.
I first realised this when as a schoolboy I received letters from my parents visiting the Islands when my father was a director of the Falkland Islands Company. My father’s letters were brisk and brief, my mother’s so vivid and wide ranging that I have put a selection of them in the Museum at Stanley. The letters convey a series of portraits of Falkland Islanders they met and who gave them hospitality. I was lucky enough to add to this list during my own visits as a Minister and most recently as a plain tourist. It was the character and resolution of the Falkland Islanders which determined the decision of the British Government to retake the Islands after the Argentine invasion of 1982. Empty islands or wavering islanders would have produced no such response from Britain. Since then, as David Tatham points out in his introduction, the Island community has become more confident and/or enterprising. It is still composed of individuals, whose stories will no doubt be told in a successor volume to this Dictionary one day. Meanwhile the individuals of the past deserve record and remembrance; everyone interested in the Islands will be delighted that this is now forthcoming in this welcome Dictionary.