MOD to commemorate UK Forces who served in Bosnia and Herzegovina
An official Commemorative Service to mark the withdrawal of UK Forces from Bosnia and Herzegovina will take place at the Armed Forces Memorial, Staffordshire, on Thursday 22 May 2008, and 1000 tickets are available to attend the event.
The Service will give thanks to those who served in Bosnia and Herzegovina, marking the outstanding contribution made by UK Forces in bringing stability, security and peace to the country.
MOD Minister for Veterans Derek Twigg said:
“I am proud of the contribution that our Armed Forces made in bringing peace and stability to Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are a force for good, wherever they serve in the world, and it is fitting that we are remembering their contribution through this commemorative service, especially those who lost their lives.
“The success in Bosnia and Herzegovina demonstrates what can be achieved through a unified international presence. It shows how the sustained support given to the country over fifteen years has enabled economic progress, development and a move towards the European mainstream.”
Major Nick Ilic was sent to Bosnia in 1992 to act as an interpreter. A native Serbo-Croat speaker, he played a vital role in establishing line crossings to enable aid to reach Bosnian Muslim controlled areas. He was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his actions under fire in 1993,when his UN group was sent to Konjevic Polje, near Srebrenica, to evacuate wounded civilians from artillery and tank attacks. He said:
“For those of us who deployed to Bosnia, in the Autumn of 1992, we were confronted with a situation that few of us knew how to deal with. Our mission was to assist in the delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was carried out in the most difficult of conditions, when war was in full swing. The result was that we all witnessed what was good and also evil about humanity. The fighting exposed us to sights that we never thought we would witness in Europe, and thought had been resigned to history.
“The suffering we witnessed made our resolve to succeed that much stronger - and we did succeed. There is no doubt that, by placing ourselves in the line of fire, we saved lives.
“However, it came at a cost in terms of lives. For this reason it is only right that the sacrifice made by the UK Armed Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina is recognised by this commemorative event. For many, including myself, it will bring back difficult memories and emotions.”
Tickets are available for the Commemorative Service for veterans of the conflict, and the families and friends of those who lost their lives. An application form can be downloaded from www.veterans-info.uk/bosnia_app.doc or by calling the free ticket line on 0800 169 2277, and each application will receive two tickets.