The Regional Branch of SAMA (82) Wales was founded in September 2003.
The seeds were sown on the Pilgrimage in 2002, and during the SAMA (82) AGM in Twickenham in 2003 it was decided to try to get about 20 people attending the Branch Inaugural meeting in Cardiff in August 2003. Hard work paid off and to everyone’s surprise over 100 people attended its launch. The Branch AGM/Reunion now takes place annually.
One of our first jobs was to assist two members to return to the Falklands. Since then we have sent back many veterans from all units that served down south in 82 - and from all areas of Wales. Each year around the end of February we organise and support a small group of branch members to return to the Falklands on what is now know as the St David’s Day pilgrimage; if you would like to put your name forward please contact us.
We refer needy veterans to Combat Stress, the ex services mental welfare society, where expert help is at hand for PTSD and other mental disorders. A very good working relationship is now enjoyed with Combat Stress and other ex-service charities. We utilise the main SAMA 82 newsletter that is currently produced twice yearly with information on events and what’s on in our branch area, and also have our own website www.samawales.co.uk to help keep members informed and updated.
In 2004 SAMA Wales paraded for the first time at the cenotaph in Cardiff on Remembrance Day. This very important occasion for Veterans heralded a dedicated detachment of Falklands Veterans that now march every year to pay their respects to those who paid the ultimate price in restoring freedom and democracy to the Falkland Islands and its people. During 2004 SAMA Wales also received support from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the First Minister for Wales the Right Honourable Rhodri Morgan AM.
Throughout our history SAMA Wales has also been a source of media advice and we've had excellent coverage on a wide variety of projects.
In May 2005 SAMA Wales was awarded Charitable Status, recognition for all the hard work and professionalism that had taken place within the branch.
June 2007 SAMA Wales built The Falklands National Monument (The Rock) in Alexander Gardens in Cardiff and this is now the focal point for all SAMA events held in the capital.
June 2010 The branch unveiled its own SAMA82 Wales standard at the National Armed Forces Day in Cardiff, where branch members met with our patron His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
2011 Another busy year with our annual Church Service in Swansea (Liberation Day - 14th June), Armed Forces Day (Cardiff - 25th June) and the sponsored walk (Pen y fan in Brecon - 13th August) as well as planning events for the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict in 2012.
Finally - As a Regional Branch we support SAMA (82) and its members; we strive to recruit new members and endeavour to maintain the high degree of professionalism set out by SAMA (82).