News story

Falklands official statistics released

A comprehensive statistical study of the deaths of personnel deployed to the Falklands since the end of the conflict has been published.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Aerial view of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, about to berth alongside at Portsmouth Harbour on her return from the Falklands on 21 July 1982 [Picture: Crown copyright - IWM (FKD 684)]
HMS Hermes about to berth alongside at Portsmouth Harbour

The study, by Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA), published today, Tuesday 14 May, is the first of its kind and has shown that:

  • 25,948 UK Armed Forces personnel served in the Falklands Campaign
  • 237 personnel died during the campaign
  • 1,335 Falklands veterans have died since 1982
  • 95 of these deaths (veterans and in-service) were attributable to suicide and open verdict deaths

There had been concerns raised that more Falklands veterans had taken their own lives since the conflict than died in action. However, the statistics show that 7% of the deaths of Falklands veterans since the campaign were attributed to suicide, significantly less than the number of deaths during the campaign.

Memorial to the fallen of Mount Tumbledown, Falkland Islands (stock image)
Memorial to the fallen of Mount Tumbledown, Falkland Islands (stock image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

An MOD spokesperson said:

Every suicide is a tragedy and our thoughts remain with the families and relatives of all those lost who bravely served in the Falklands conflict.

Whilst this extensive study suggests that the rate of suicide amongst those who served in the conflict is in fact lower than the UK civilian population we are clear that the mental health of our personnel and veterans remains a top priority. That is why we have committed £7.2 million to ensure we have extensive mental health support in place for everyone who needs it.

This includes tailored NHS mental health services and a 24-hour helpline with Combat Stress so Service personnel and veterans can seek help at any time.

We would encourage any Falklands veterans or serving personnel who need help to come forward to access the wide range of support available.

The MOD has been working with the Department of Health to implement the recommendations in Dr Andrew Murrison’s report, Fighting Fit: A Mental Health Plan for Servicemen and Veterans.

Highlights include the extension of military mental healthcare to qualifying Service leavers for up to 6 months after discharge and the uplift in the numbers of mental healthcare professionals. Others include setting up a 24-hour helpline with Combat Stress so Service personnel and veterans can seek help at any time, and making available access to the Big White Wall well-being website for Service personnel, their families and veterans.

Some ex-Service personnel delay seeking help on service termination because of the view that civilian health professionals do not understand military life and the context of their problems.

A key aim is therefore provision of services for veterans which are multifaceted, including both healthcare interventions and social support, and involve public and charitable organisations working together. The government has also provided advice for NHS GPs in the form of an e-learning package for managing veterans’ health issues.

Full details of the mental health service provision can be found on GOV.UK.

These statistics will continue to be updated and an updated statistical notice will be published in April 2014.

Published 14 May 2013
Last updated 15 May 2013 + show all updates
  1. Removed emotive top image of soldiers being buried during the Falklands campaign.
  2. First published.