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News Article

UK troops around the world honour fallen comrades

11 Nov 06

British military personnel deployed on operations around the world have been remembering fallen comrades by holding Armistice Day ceremonies in their honour today, Saturday 11 November 2006.

Corporal Neil Chappel, right, and Lance Corporal Rhys O'Leary pay their respects after the Remembrance Day Ceremony held by United Kingdom Task Force at Lashkar Gah Camp in Helmand Province, Afghanistan [Picture: PO (PHOT) Sean Clee] . Opens in a new window.

Corporal Neil Chappel, right, and Lance Corporal Rhys O'Leary pay their respects after the Remembrance Day Ceremony held by United Kingdom Task Force at Lashkar Gah Camp in Helmand Province, Afghanistan
[Picture: PO (PHOT) Sean Clee]

Personnel deployed in locations as far afield as Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Falkand Islands and Iraq each paid their own tributes to those who fell in the wars and conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Members of the UK Task Force in Afghanistan marked Remembrance and Armistice Day with a series of ceremonies across the country. Major services were held in Bastion Garrison, the main British base in the southern province of Helmand, and at Kandahar airfield.

Other smaller services were conducted in the Helmand capital of Lashkar Gah and with British forces in Now Zad, Sangin, Gereshk, Garmsir and Kajaki.

See Related Links>>> to view more images of UK military personnel commemorating Armistice Day, 11 November 2006

Chaplain of 3 Commando Brigade, Reverend David Wylie RN, said Remembrance Sunday had always been important for serving personnel:

"This has been reinforced in recent years by the revival of Armistice Day, associated with significant World War anniversaries," he said. "History and tradition is alive to those currently serving in the military.

"The high tempo of operations across the world, and in a small military community, the personal knowledge of somebody killed or seriously injured in conflict re-roots the remembrance of sacrifice in the present for service people and their families."

UK Task Force commander Brigadier Jerry Thomas said Remembrance Day was a time when the troops could remember those who had been lost:

"This is a time when we remember those we have lost and reflect on their sacrifice, particularly Marine Gary Wright who was tragically lost to the Corps last month.

"At this time of reflection we also think of the hardship and anxiety that our family and friends are going through back in the UK. Our thoughts are with them at all times."

Troops at Basrah Air Station pay their respects [Picture: Cpl Russ Nolan RLC] . Opens in a new window.

Troops at Basrah Air Station pay their respects
[Picture: Cpl Russ Nolan RLC]

At Lashkar Gah the whole garrison, less those on patrol and guard duty, turned out on the helicopter landing site to remember those who had fallen in the service of their country. Representatives from Holland, Denmark, Estonia, Australia, Afghanistan and America also attended.

As the Barracks Chaplain was unwell, Commanding Officer Lt Col Peter Cameron led the service which included a reading from Isaiah 25 1-9, the Commando Prayer and the reading of a list of those serving Royal Marines who had died in the last 12 months. Following a two minute silence a wreath was laid by Brigadier Jerry Thomas Royal Marines, the Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan. In addition the Commanding Officer of 29 Commando Royal Artillery read the citation for the Battle of Maywand which took place just to the north of the base. The ceremony ended with the Corps Hymn and a benediction.

Meanwhile in Iraq, Australian Chaplain Bob McKennay led the service of remembrance on the roof of the Round House, Australia Island within Camp Victory, 20 miles West of Baghdad. Around 60 Australians, 20 British Officers and three Canadians attended the moving ceremony where soldiers read the traditional poem 'In Flanders Field' and led prayers to remember the fallen from all conflicts.

"The high tempo of operations across the world, and in a small military community, the personal knowledge of somebody killed or seriously injured in conflict re-roots the remembrance of sacrifice in the present for service people and their families."

Reverend David Wylie

At the start of the two minute silence, a wave of Blackhawk helicopters flew overhead to the nearby landing site at Camp Liberty saluting the occasion with an unofficial flypast.

Laying wreaths on behalf of the three Commonwealth nations were Major General Simon Mayall UK Army, (UK Deputy Commanding General of Multi-National Corps-Iraq) Brigadier Michael Crane Commander of the Australian Joint Task Force 633 (Middle East Area of Operations) and Major General Peter Devlin, Canadian Deputy Commanding General of MNC-I).

Australian personnel, assisted by the British, working for the Multi National Forces Iraq Headquarters, based in the US Embassy, Baghdad also organised a Remembrance Ceremony in the Embassy Gardens. Formerly the Republican Palace of Saddam Hussein, the gardens provided a peaceful venue for the ceremony and the traditional two minute silence.

In Basra personnel held a service outside their military headquarters at Basra Air Station. The troops from the Multinational Division South East (MND (SE)) paused for a two minute silence at 1100 hrs (local time), with the Reveille and Last Post played by a bugler from the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.

Wreath bearers await the start of the Remembrance Ceremony held in the Gardens of the US Embassy, Baghdad. From left, WO Gary Hughes (AUS RAN), Sgt Paul Kitto (UK RAF), Sgt Eric Call (US Army) [Picture: Sgt. Ist Class Ronda Jordan] . Opens in a new window.

Wreath bearers await the start of the Remembrance Ceremony held in the Gardens of the US Embassy, Baghdad. From left, WO Gary Hughes (AUS RAN), Sgt Paul Kitto (UK RAF), Sgt Eric Call (US Army)
[Picture: Sgt. Ist Class Ronda Jordan]

The ceremony took place at the end of 20th Armoured Brigade's seven month tour of southern Iraq and commemorated the lives of British servicemen, as well as their Italian, Danish and Romanian counterparts, who have been killed in southern Iraq during the past 12 months.

In the Falkland Islands personnel from the Joint Communications Unit Falkland Islands (JCUFI) gathered to commemorate the four soldiers who died at Pleasant Peak. A contingent from all three services was present in remembrance of the Royal Corps of Signals and Army Air Corps personnel who lost their lives there during the conflict in June 1982.

Wreaths were also laid at memorials around the Falkland Islands in conjunction with the Royal British Legion and a service for all those stationed in the Islands will be held tomorrow, Sunday 12 November.

In France Britain’s oldest war veteran, and the last surviving founder member of the Royal Air Force, 110 year-old Henry Allingham, stood in silent tribute at The British Air Services Memorial in St Omer, northern France in memory of fallen comrades from two World Wars.

Henry, who had travelled from his home in Brighton, United Kingdom, is the last survivor from the Battle of Jutland and he also fought in the Somme. During World War One he maintained British aircraft, which were operating over the Somme and occasionally, would act as a spotter. During today’s poignant ceremony he said:

Britain’s oldest war veteran and the last founder member of the Royal Air Force, 110 year-old Henry Allingham, lays a wreath at The British Air Services Memorial in St Omer, northern France in memory of fallen comrades from two World Wars [Picture: Cpl Scott Robertson RAF] . Opens in a new window.

Britain’s oldest war veteran and the last founder member of the Royal Air Force, 110 year-old Henry Allingham, lays a wreath at The British Air Services Memorial in St Omer, northern France in memory of fallen comrades from two World Wars
[Picture: Cpl Scott Robertson RAF]

"I am grateful that I am here to pay tribute and respect to the men who gave their all."

In Sarajevo, British and Commonwealth servicemen and women serving with the European Union Force and other organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina remembered their fallen comrades.

At a short traditional service, led by Padre Mark Jones, a bugler from the Welsh Guards sounded the last post before the observance of the two-minute silence. Members of the congregation which included His Excellency the British Ambassador Mr Matthew Rycroft CBE and Commander British Forces (Bosnia), Brigadier General Miles Wade CBE, laid commemorative wreaths.

Major Theresa Bramley, Officer Commanding the UK National Support Element in Sarajevo, said:

"The remembrance service is important for all of us, particularly servicemen and women serving away from their homes and families. It reminds us of the meaning and sacrifice made by our comrades in all conflicts past and present."

Meanwhile in London's Trafalgar Square thousands of people paid tribute by placing poppies in the square's fountains. A two-minute silence was followed by a fly-past by four RAF Typhoon aircraft.

Across the city Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup attended a dedication ceremony which saw the unveiling of the first memorial to the fallen of New Zealand in the UK. The dedication ceremony for the New Zealand memorial at Hyde Park Corner, which is adjacent to Wellington Arch, involved around 250 personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force and featured a flypast by RAF Typhoons and a Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757. Her Majesty the Queen unveiled the memorial.