By J. Brock (FINN)
Sir Rex Hunt 29 June 1926 to 11 November 2012
It is with great sadness that the people of the Falkland Islands heard of the passing of one remarkable Governor Sir Rex Hunt. He was much loved by Falkland Islanders who saw him as a beacon of light during the dark days of 1982.
Sir Rex, as he was fondly known, attended Coatham School, Redcar and St Peter's College, Oxford, Rex Hunt joined the Royal Air Force as a cadet in 1941 and was enlisted as an airman in 1944 and commissioned as a pilot in 1945. He transferred to No 5 Squadron in India in August 1946 where he flew Spitfires, before transferring to Germany with No 26 Squadron in August 1947. He left active service in 1948, but remained in the reserves until 1951 where he reached the rank of Flight Lieutenant. In 1952 he joined the Colonial and Diplomatic Services and went on to serve on postings in Uganda, Sarawak, Brunei, Turkey, Indonesia, South Vietnam, Malaysia and the Falkland Islands. Hunt was appointed the Consul-General at the British Embassy in Saigon in 1974 and was there at the time of the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. From 1980 to 1985 he was Governor of the Falkland Islands.
He will forever be remembered in the Islands for his years of service as Governor, and particularly for his courage and dignity in facing the Argentine invasion in 1982. But his service to the Falklands did not end with his departure in spring of 1985. But he will be remembered for what he did for Islanders during his exile in London during April to June 1982.
Sir Rex became a household name during the Falklands War after the Argentine invasion of the islands. He was captured by the Argentine invasion force and expelled from the Islands to the UK via Uruguay. During the invasion he had made his official residence, Government House in Stanley the operational headquarters for the Royal Marines. He sent his family and domestic staff away to safer houses with only their most valuable possessions. His housekeeper took a picture of the Queen and a bottle of gin. That home, Government House, quickly became the site of an engagement between the Royal Marines garrison and the Argentine navy's commandos. Hunt gave the order to lay down arms, before going to Stanley town hall, wearing his governor's plumed hat, to meet the Argentine commander, Vice-Admiral Carlos Büsser. "You have landed unlawfully on British territory and I order you to remove yourself and your troops forthwith," said Hunt. Four hours later Hunt was on a plane to Montevideo, Uruguay. He remained away during the occupation. In his book My Falkland Days, Sir Rex Hunt wrote about his time in the Falklands. He was chairman of the Falkland Islands Association for many years. He retired as chairman in 2004 and moved to Yorkshire.
Numerous contributions to the Falklands were recognised in Sir Rex being granted the Freedom Of Stanley in 1985.
A loyal friend of the Falkland Islands, he served for many years as Chairman of the Falkland Islands Association and as President of the UK Falkland Islands Trust.
Ian Richardson Portrayed Sir Rex Hunt in the 1992 BBC television drama An Ungentlemanly Act, depicting the 1982 invasion of the Falklands.
Sir Rex passion and commitment to the Falkland Islands will be sorely missed. Falkland Islanders thoughts and deepest sympathies of all Falkland Islanders are with his family and friends at this sad time.