|Falkland Islands Defence Force|
Badge of the Falkland Islands Defence Force
|Country||Falkland Islands, United Kingdom|
|Type||Military reserve force|
|Role||Light Infantry with additional roles|
2 Permanent Staff Personnel
~100 Primary Reserve Personnel
~100 Secondary Reserve Personnel
|Nickname(s)||Falklands Army|
|Battle honours||Falklands War|
|Commanding Officer||Major Justin McPhee|
The Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF) is the locally maintained volunteer defence unit in the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory. The FIDF works alongside the military units supplied by the United Kingdom to ensure the security of the islands.
In 1847, Lieutenant Richard Clement Moody, Governor of the Falkland Islands, formed the Falklands' militia force, consisting of two infantry platoons, and a combined mounted and artillery unit. A volunteer unit was reformed in 1854, during the Crimean War, to guard against possible aggression by the Russian Empire. Not given an official title, the unit was sometimes known as the Stanley Volunteers.
In 1892, a steamer owned by one of the belligerents involved in the Chilean Civil War docked at Port Stanley. Ostensibly there to carry out repairs to its engines, the presence onboard of 200 armed soldiers was considered a security threat, and Governor Sir Roger Goldsworthy therefore ordered that an armed volunteer force be formed. The first draft of men of the Falkland Islands Volunteers were sworn in at a ceremony at the Falkland Government House, in June 1892.
During the First World War, members of the Volunteers were mobilised to man military outposts around the Islands, while 36 Falklanders enlisted in the British armed forces, 10 of whom subsequently lost their lives during the war. In 1919 the Falkland Island Volunteers were stood down and were subsequently renamed as the Falkland Islands Defence Force.
The FIDF was mobilised again during the Second World War, manning defensive outposts around the Islands. At this time, a mounted rifles unit was raised.
On 27 September 1939, thirty-three men arrived from Argentina in a group called the "Tabaris Highlanders." Gathered from the Anglo-Argentine community, they were supposed to defend the islands from a German attack. Six of these volunteers were rejected on medical and other grounds and returned to Buenos Aires almost immediately. The "commanding officer," a Major Morrough, was one of those rejected. The remainder were enrolled in the Falkland Islands Defence Force, with Ronald Campbell made sergeant as commander and Thomas Dawson Sanderson made corporal. Many were rugby players, including Sanderson, who was president of a rugby club.
The men left the Islands on 8 December 1939, once the immediate danger of attack from German raiders was judged to have receded. During this time the Highlanders dug out gun pits, embankments, and other protection from a possible German naval attack. Twenty-two of them applied from Stanley to join the British Forces.
During the war, around 150 islanders joined the British armed forces, of which 26 were killed in action. In June 1946 a section of the FIDF took part in the Victory Parade in London.
After the end of the war, the presence of Royal Marines as part of the Islands' defence led to the FIDF adopting RM dress and drill styles. On 28 September 1966, 19 members of an Argentine extremist group staged a symbolic invasion of the Islands by landing a DC-4 on Stanley Racecourse, in one of the first significant hijacking incidents; the extremist group called this action Operation Condor. There, they took four islanders hostage. The FIDF, alongside the Royal Marines, contained the situation and the group surrendered without casualties. Following this, the FIDF was on heightened alert until February 1967.
Main article: Falklands War
On 1 April 1982, alongside the Royal Marines party, the FIDF was mobilised to defend the Islands from the Argentine invasion. Many of its members lived in remote settlements so given the limited notice of its approximately 120 men some 32 turned out. The following day, Sir Rex Hunt ordered them to surrender. The Argentines confiscated all of the FIDF's equipment and declared them to be an illegal organisation. For the duration of the war, some members of the FIDF were kept under house arrest at Fox Bay until the Argentine surrender. The FIDF was reformed in 1983.
Terry Peck, a former member of the Defence Force, spied on Argentine forces in Stanley, then escaped to become a scout for the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, with which he fought at the Battle of Mount Longdon.
The Falkland Islands Defence Force meet once a week for training, with various extended training weekends throughout the year. Soldiers of the Falkland Islands Defence Force conduct training patrols with soldiers from the British garrison on the islands as well as acting as "enemy" forces against British soldiers in training exercises.
FIDF soldiers also provide search and rescue and mountain rescue services across the islands. They have been trained by the Royal Navy to operate Oerlikon 20 mm cannons and conduct boarding operations of vessels to fulfill a fisheries protection role for the Falkland Islands Government.
Major Peter Biggs (Retd) served with the FIDF for 35 years and was the Commanding Officer from 2002 to 2016.
In 2019 Major Justin McPhee became the first FIDF Officer to complete the Intermediate Command & Staff Course (Land Reserves) at the UK Defence Academy alongside UK Regular and Reserve Soldiers and International Students.
The Falkland Islands Defence Force today is funded entirely by the Falkland Islands government and has an annual budget of £400,000.
The FIDF is organised as a light infantry company with additional roles. It is manned entirely by the local population, following British Army doctrine, training and operations. New recruits go through a 12-week training program. In an agreement with the British Ministry of Defence, a Royal Marines Warrant Officer Class 2 is seconded to the Force as a Permanent Staff Instructor.
The cap badge is the badge of the FIDF cast in metal. It shows the escutcheon party per bend, with a Sea Lion in the lower half, and the rear end of an old sail ship in the upper half, surrounded by the slogan "Desire the Right". This badge was formerly the Coat of arms of the Falkland Islands from 1925–1948.
The ranks of the FIDF are the same as those used in the British Army/Royal Marines. Rank slides has the badge of Rank and wording on bottom of 'FALKLAND ISLANDS'
|NATO code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D)||Student officer|
| Falkland Islands Defence Force
|Field Uniform rank slides|
| Falkland Islands Defence Force
||No equivalent||No insignia|
|Warrant officer class 2
(Permanent Staff Instructor)
|Colour sergeant||Sergeant||Corporal||Lance corporal||Private|
|Field Uniform rank slides|