Following the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands in April 1982, a British task force, which included several Airborne troop elements, was rapidly assembled to retake the islands.
On 26 May, 2 PARA was ordered to move south and engage the Argentinian Strategic Reserve and airfield on the Darwin / Goose Green Isthmus. The attack began during the early hours of 28th May with limited naval and artillery support.
The battalion was forced to go to ground at daybreak right across the isthmus, from Boca House in the West to the Darwin feature in the East, outgunned by an enemy who could hold us up at a distance with long, unimpeded fields of fire. The Commanding Officer, Lt Col H Jones, was killed during the battle.
The assault continued with some ferocious trench to trench fighting and by last light enemy positions across the isthmus, less the Goose Green Settlement had been taken. Negotiations with the Argentinians led to their surrender the next day.
Around 45-50 Argentinians were killed, and 'The Official History of the Falklands Campaign' conservatively reports 961 Argentinian prisoners taken, although as its author Lawrence Freedman noted "the counting process was possibly less precise than the number suggests", and other accounts of the battle have reported a larger prisoner count.
A number of gallantry awards were made to members of 2 PARA in recognition of their actions including the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross to Lt Col H Jones.
For further information about the first major land battle of the Falklands campaign see Goose Green co-edited by Colonel David Benest and the media files associated with this encyclopaedia entry.
Members of 2 PARA killed in action 28 May 1982
Lt Col H Jones VC OBE
Captain David Wood
Captain Chris Dent
Lt Jim Barry
Cpl David Hardman
Cpl Stephen Prior
Cpl Paul Sullivan
L/Cpl Gary Bingley MM
L/Cpl Tony Cork
L/Cpl Nigel Smith
Pte Stephen Dixon
Pte Mark Fletcher
Pte Mark Holman-Smith
Pte Stephen Illingsworth DCM
Pte Tam Mechan