Life often throws up the occasional quirk or coincidence which is often followed by the utterance of ‘it’s a small world’ – and so it proved during a ceremony last Tuesday when the conclusion of the Falklands War was marked at Castle Park.

There, a stroke of serendipity saw two Falklanders – who have both resettled in Colchester – brought together by pure chance.

The Falklands War only lasted 74 days, but it is still heavily engrained in Britain’s national mythology – partly because of the unexpectedness of the conflict, and partly because the British victory demonstrated the United Kingdom was still very much a global power, despite a tumultuous first three years of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership.

Military heritage and tradition are a hugely important part of Colchester’s identity, and last Tuesday saw political delegates and army veterans gather to mark 40 years since the conclusion of the Falklands War, which saw 255 British soldiers sacrifice themselves.

Born in the Falklands only three months before the conflict was Sarah Halford, now a warrant officer serving in the 16 medical regiment in Colchester.

Raised in the aftermath of the war, the remnants of military conflict were all around her during her early years – military fencing 12 feet high, and ‘DANGER: MINEFIELD’ signs were everyday sightings.

But as Ms Halford, 40, explains, she knew no different.

She said: “From a young age, you were very aware of certain dangers in the Falklands.

“Growing up in Stanley, there were a lot of minefields – they’ve been cleared now, but they were very present growing up.”

“One of our fence lines where I lived was a minefield fence, so we were educated from a very young age of what those dangers were and the areas we could and couldn’t go to.

“It was the same for the beaches as well – it was quite common for live munitions to be swept up.

“For us that was normal, oddly.”

As with Colchester, the military presence in the Falklands is strong – so strong, in fact, that Ms Halford knew from the age of ten she was going to have a military career.

Despite there being no recruitment office in the Falklands, Ms Halford was determined to find a way into the forces, and she moved to Colchester at the age of just 17 so she could join the British Army.

“It was all done off my own back, really,” she explained.

“I arranged my own flights, my own accommodation, and so forth. They still don’t have a recruitment office in the Falklands – there’s only a handful of us [from the Falklands] who have actually joined the armed forces since then.

“We’ve all taken it off our own backs to do that.”

Recently, Ms Halford’s parents have also made the 7,925-mile trip to join their daughter in Colchester, but the connections with the far-flung overseas British territory remain strong.

“I still have family there,” Ms Halford said.

“And even up until this year when my parents moved here, I would travel back on an annual basis to go and visit them.

“I’ve still got strong ties there and always will – it’s home.”

The Falklands were once home for 87-year-old Mary Oakley, too.

Now also living in Colchester, Mrs Oakley was born in the Falklands in the 1930s, some 50 years before Ms Halford.

Mrs Oakley’s sister moved to Albion Street, Rowhedge, in the 1940s, and when the house next door went up for sale, she wrote back to Mrs Oakley to let her know.

By the 1950s the sisters were neighbours here in Colchester.

Plenty of Mrs Oakley’s family, remained in the Falklands, however.

When the war broke out in 1982, Mrs Oakley – who by this point had lived in Colchester for around 30 years – spent the duration of the war paying undivided attention to updates on the conflict.

Her auntie died after the hospital she was staying in was razed to the ground.

She said: “It was very tense.

“We listened to the news intensely to see what was happening, and my aunt was living in hospital at the time.

“She died because the hospital was burned down in 1982 – we listened to the news all the time.”

Mrs Oakley, who was joined by her daughter, Carol Szymar, at the ceremony, added there was very little hostility between Falklanders and Argentinians – the war was instigated far less by Argentinian public sentiment than it was by the president of Argentina, General Galtieri.

“We were all best friends with the Argentinians and the Uruguayans,” Mrs Oakley explained.

“My sister went to school in Argentina – we were always friends with them all and we didn’t want any wars.

“We wanted to be friends with them all – but that’s how they were.

“It wasn’t the young soldiers; it was the top ones that tried to capture the islands.”

At the service to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict, Mrs Oakley and Ms Halford were introduced to one another.

The connection between the two, even if they lived on the islands decades apart, was there nevertheless – perhaps not all that surprising given the population of their home island, sitting at just over 2,000, is a fraction of Colchester’s.

As with Ms Halford, Mrs Oakley explained although her childhood in the Falklands sounds unique to most, to her it seemed perfectly normal – she knew no different to a harsh climate where the temperature in summer averaged about 15c, and fireplaces were fuelled by peat in winter.

“We didn’t know anything else but the Falklands,” she said.

“We had a lovely childhood.

“My dad had to cut the peat – everyone had to burn peat for fires.

“We had to help him out on the peat bogs.”

Mrs Oakley added she has returned four times since the 1950s to show her daughters where she was born, and would still consider herself a Falklander.

Despite being generations apart, Mrs Oakley and Ms Halford – two former inhabitants of the remote, chilly overseas territory – will share a unique tie to two cities, Colchester and Stanley, bound together by military heritage.