The first volunteer unit in the Islands was formed in 1854 during the Crimean War to guard against possible Russian aggression. Not given an official title, this unit was sometimes known as the Stanley Volunteers. However, the modern unit traces its direct lineage back to 1892. The previous year, a steamer owned by one of the groups involved in the Chilean Civil War docked at Stanley. Although ostensibly there to carry out repairs to its engines, the presence onboard of 200 armed soldiers was considered a security threat. So, the Governor, Sir Roger Goldsworthy, ordered that an armed volunteer force be formed. The first draft of men of the new Falkland Islands Volunteers were sworn in at a ceremony at 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 armed forces. At the end of the war, the Falkland Islands Volunteers was 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.
In 1939, a group called the "Tabaris Highlanders" arrived on the islands for a brief two months. They were from the Anglo-Argentine community, and were supposed to defend the islands from a German attack during World War II, and were enrolled into the FIDF. Many of this group were rugby players, including Cpl Thomas Dawson Sanderson, who was president of a rugby club.
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. 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.
Read more about this topic: Falkland Islands Defence Force
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