Port Howard

Port Howard (Spanish/Argentine name: Puerto Mitre; sometimes Puerto Howard in Spanish) is the largest settlement on West Falkland (unless Fox Bay is taken as one settlement, instead of two). It is in the east of the island, on an inlet of Falkland Sound. It is on the lower slopes of Mount Maria (part of the Hornby Mountains range).

Port Howard
Port Howard
Port Howard within the Falkland Islands
Port Howard
Port Howard (South America)
Coordinates: 51.616°S 59.523°W / -51.616; -59.523
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
TerritoryFalkland Islands
Time zoneUTC-03:00 (FKST)

Port Howard is the centre of an 800-square-kilometre (200,000-acre) sheep farm, with twenty-two permanent residents and over 40,000 sheep. Sometimes this population is doubled by transitory residents.

The settlement has two airstrips which receive regular flights from Stanley, and it is also the West Terminal of the new East-West Ferry.[1] The Falkland Islands Government built a network of all weather roads around East and West Falkland,[1] Port Howard is at the northern end of the West Falkland network.

Every three years, Port Howard hosts the West Falklands Sports. This week-long celebration of the end of the shearing season combines horse-racing with other festivities. The Warrah River and Chartres River are nearby fishing rivers.


Naval officers at the surrender of the Argentine garrison, Michael Harris stands in the middle, Christopher Clayton on the right. Also POWs can be seen crossing in the background.


Port Howard was founded by James Lovegrove Waldron and his brother, in 1866. The Waldron brothers later left for Patagonia, leaving the farm under local management. In 1956, JL Waldron Ltd built a school at Port Howard — possibly inspired by the "gift" of the FIC, a few years, earlier at Darwin.[2]

Falklands War

During the Falklands War, the settlement was occupied by around 1,000 Argentine troops, most of these from the Fifth Motorized Infantry Regiment. A small museum has been set up, in a shed. It contains a number of items which Argentine troops left behind, including an ejector seat. Pinned to the wall is a poem, Ode to Tumbledown, which was written by an anonymous Scots Guard.[3]

On 21 May 1982, an RAF Harrier (piloted by Flt Lt Jeffrey Glover RAF) was shot down by a Blowpipe missile (fired by members of the Argentine 601 Commando Company[4]) and taken prisoner.[5] On 26 May 1982, at least four Argentine soldiers were killed and several wounded after another Harrier raid found its mark.[6][7]

The British SAS had a secret observation post on Many Branch Point, a ridge above Port Howard, which was discovered on 10 June 1982 by an Argentine assault section of the 601 Commando Company. During the ensuing fire fight, Captain Gavin Hamilton was killed, and his Goan signaler, Sergeant Fonseca captured.[8] That night witnessed inaccurate shelling on Port Howard carried out by British frigates.[9] This led to speculation among Argentinian officers that the mission of Hamilton was to act as a forward observer for naval gunfire support. Hamilton's grave can still be seen up the hill from Port Howard. The Argentines allowed the Union Flag to be placed on his coffin before burial.

On 15 June 1982, one day after the main Argentine surrender, the garrison surrendered to the Royal Marines of B Coy, 40 Commando and HMS Cardiff.[10][11]

Ownership changes

In 1986, the farm was bought by Robin and Rodney Lee, who let the local population buy shares. In 2004, it was taken over by Myles and Christopher (Critta) Lee, Robin's sons, after the retirement of Rodney Lee.[3]

There is one listed building here, the Mount Rosalie Dip.[12]


  1. Falkland Islands Tourist Board, West Falkland
  2. Strange, Ian (1983) The Falkland Islands
  3. Wigglesworth, Angela. (1992) Falkland People. Pub. Peter Owen. ISBN 0-7206-0850-3
  4. Chant, Christopher (2001). Air War in the Falklands 1982. Osprey Publishing, p. 61. ISBN 1-84176-293-8
  5. "British Aircraft lost - Falklands War 1982". www.naval-history.net. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  6. Regimiento de Infantería Mecanizado Nro 5 "Gral. Félix de Olazábal" - Roll of honour (in Spanish)
  7. Pook, Jerry (2007). RAF Harrier Ground Attack-Falklands. Pen & Sword Aviation, p. 102. ISBN 978-1-84415-551-4
  8. Bicheno, Hugh (2006) Razor's Edge: The Unofficial History of the Falklands War. London. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-7538-2186-2
  9. Apenas había concluído esta tarea cuando se escuchó una explosión, que en un primer momento fue atribuída al estallido de una mina. Pero al rato se percibieron claramente tres cañonazos navales y todos buscaron cubiertas: los observadores ubicados en Monte María, atrás y arriba de Howard, indicaron posteriormente que se trataba de tres fragatas desde la distancia habitual de diez a doce kilómetros. El bombardeo duró hasta las tres de la mañana y fue muy impreciso: le faltaba observación. El teniente primero Fernández supuso que el primer disparo, aislado, fue un llamado al observador, al no recibir su comunicación: y los posteriores se limitaron a dirigirlos hacia las posiciones previamente marcadas -la ubicación de la Compañía B, sobre un cerro-, pero sin causar efectos. Ruiz Moreno, pp. 345-346
  10. "Stanley, Wireless Ridge, Tumbledown, Mount William in Falklands War 1982". www.naval-history.net. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  11. "Report of Proceedings". hmscardiff.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 May 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2008.
  12. "Falkland Islands Information Web Portal". Buildings and Structures in the Falkland Islands designated as being of Architectural or Historic Interest. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
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