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Former Defence Secretary during the Falklands conflict, Sir John Nott, talks about his experiences on the 25th Anniversary of the liberation of the islands

Sir John Nott, who served as Secretary of State for Defence during the Falklands war, is uniquely placed to comment on the conflict and express his opinions of current defence policy. In his latest book Haven’t We Been Here Before? From Afghanistan to the Falklands: A Personal Connection, Sir John asks why we continue to ignore the painful lessons history has taught us.

Of the Falkland’s conflict -”I hate war; the thought of sending young men and women away to fight is repugnant to me. Yet on the night of Thursday 1st April 1982 I agreed, with my immediate colleagues, that we had no option but to do so.”

“I did not enjoy the celebrations of our victory. Sometimes they felt a little too triumphant. Like Margaret Thatcher’s exclamation on the steps of Dowling Street, with me standing slightly embarrassed next to her, when she ordered the assembled press to ‘Rejoice, Rejoice’.”

Of Margaret Thatcher; “She emerged [from the conflict] as a great war leader; determined, courageous, direct. It was her war and I wonder whether any man would have carried it off with her conviction.”

Speaking of the 25th Anniversary celebrations in June, Sir John comments; “It will be great to get the veteran’s together. Most of them had a very nasty time, War is ugly.”

“I shall have to steel myself against the feeling, quite unjustified I’m sure, that I was in part responsible for so many dead and wounded and disabled.”

On current defence policies; “I do not agree with the strategy which equips our forces to fight this war again.”

“Our first duty is to defend our own countrymen here at home against the terrorist and we are ill-equipped to do so. Major changes in attitude and strategy are needed for the future. Will they happen? I rather doubt it. Institutional prejudices are very strong.”

All quotes are taken from John Nott’s book Haven’t We Been Here Before? a political memoir and history of conflict over the past 150 years. Haven’t We Been Here Before? published by Discovered Authors is available now, priced £14.99.


For further information, interviews or review copies please contact:

Natalie Matthews 020 7529 3747 or e-mail


Thursday 14th June marks the 25th Anniversary of the end of the Falklands War and the liberation of the Falklands Islands. There will be a national commemorative event in London on Sunday 17th June.

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