After the war

Diana Gould

  • Another Story: Women and the Falklands War by Jean Carr, introduced by Jane Ewart-Biggs
    Hamish Hamilton, 162 pp, £7.50, October 1984, ISBN 0 241 11391 1

Jean Carr’s book, Another Story, is about the plight of the wives and mothers of the men who did not return from the Falklands War, or who returned wounded in body or mind. In the telling of the story another woman, also a wife and mother, looms large, the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. The introduction is written by Jane Ewart-Biggs. Lady Ewart-Biggs speaks for those throughout the country who listened with growing dismay to the debate in Parliament on 3 April 1982 which culminated in the despatch of the Task Force with all-party support. Those people thought in terms of men and families, not ships and aircraft. They remembered Mrs Thatcher’s confident reply to yet another woman, Madge Nichols of the Beaconsfield Conservative Association. She had questioned the Prime Minister on the imminent withdrawal of HMS Endurance. Mrs Thatcher’s reply had given the clear impression that we were not willing to afford some three million pounds a year to keep this ship on station. They had also understood that the Government was not willing to grant British nationality to the Islanders: now they discovered that the islands and their inhabitants were worth defending no matter what the cost was to be in lives and money. Lady Ewart-Biggs says that she realised dissenters would be regarded as traitors. I also thought that anyone found guilty of expressing doubts about the wisdom of sending a Task Force would be branded as unpatriotic. I discovered, however, that if you expressed your feelings honestly, many would agree with you who had feared to speak up before.

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