Monday 13 November 2006 09:28
Ministry Of Defence (National)
25th Anniversary of the Falklands conflict
The 25th anniversary of the Falklands Campaign will be commemorated across 8,000 miles and four time zones, in London, Pangbourne and the Falkland Islands from 14 to 17 June 2007, Veterans' Minister Derek Twigg announced today.
Speaking at the launch of the commemorations on HMS Illustrious, Mr Twigg said:
"The Falklands campaign was one of the most memorable events in post-war British history. The liberation of the Islands was a huge achievement by our Forces, operating in harsh conditions 8,000 miles away from home.
"The commemorations nexy year will provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the events of 25 years ago. We will take time to remember those who gave their lives to defend the freedom of the Falkland Islands.
"As well as the principal events in London, Pangbourne and Stanley, we anticipate that local communities and veterans groups around the country will organize smaller scale events."
The Falklands story is not just an historic one. Over the past 25 years a great many of our current generation of Service men and women have seen Service in the Falklands and have been moved by the memorials to the fallen they maintain around the Islands; the Armed Forces connection with the Falklands is therefore personal and current.
Commemorations will look too at what the Islanders themselves have achieved in the 25 years since the conflict, building a robust and thriving community worthy of the sacrifices made.
Official events begin on Liberation Day Thursday 14 June at the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel in the grounds of Pangbourne 'nautical' College, Berkshire. This service of Commemoration and Remembrance is held annually on behalf of the Falklands Families Association, but will have special significance in 2007 when it will be attended by senior members of the Royal family, and carried live on BBC.
Later that day (UK time) attention will turn to the Falkland Islands and the first of a series of ambitious live link ups with the Islands. A service at Christchurch Cathedral, Stanley will be followed by an Act of Commemoration at the Falklands War Memorial, and British Forces currently based on the Islands will parade through Stanley exercising the Freedom of the City that was bestowed on them by the Falkland Islands Government in 2002.
The showpiece event of these commemorations will be on Sunday 17 June. This will consist of a high impact visual event on Horse Guards Parade followed by a march past of veterans and their modern day service counterparts up The Mall to Buckingham Palace to witness a fly past of aircraft from the Falklands era as well as some of those flown by the same squadrons today. Central to the event will be the personal recollections of veterans and Islanders as they tell their stories in their own words.
Notes to Editors
1. Space in the audience on Horse Guards Parade will be limited, so tickets will initially be restricted to veterans (military and civilian), their guests and families. Anyone wishing to attend should apply using the application form found on the Veterans Agency website: http://www.veteransagency.mod.uk or by writing to: The Veterans Agency, Room 6108, Norcross, Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancs, FY5 3WP. The application form can be either e-mailed or posted to the Veterans Agency. Applications should be made before the end of February 2007. Only those successful in their applications will receive notification from the VA, and tickets will be sent out along with an information leaflet about the event in late May 2007. The Veterans Agency Helpline on 0800 169 2277 will be able to help with any problems encountered.
2. It is hoped that as many as possible of the campaign's veterans will be able to attend the event in Horseguards, and up to 15,000 tickets will be available. If demand for tickets is high they will be allocated in priority order:
* Holders of the South Atlantic Medal (1982) and war widows;
* Other widows and families; and
* Others, both civilian and military, associated with the conflict.
3. The annual Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication for veterans and their families at the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel, Pangbourne 'nautical' College, Berkshire, will be broadcast live by the BBC on Thursday 14 June 2007, the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Port Stanley.
4. The events in the Falkland Islands will include a band of the Royal Marines, and HM Ships deployed in the area will provide a backdrop.
5. The main event in the UK will be a commemoration on Horse Guards Parade, London, starting at 1430 on Sunday 17 June 2007, and will focus on the veterans of the campaign. Serving members of the Armed Forces, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Merchant Navy and Falkland Islands Defence Force and civilians who helped make the Task Force possible will be present, supported by a tri-service band. A traditional "Drumhead" ceremony will be followed by a march past by veterans and a fly past.
6. Senior members of the Royal Family will attend each of the commemorative events, which will all be covered live by the BBC.
7. The organisers will endeavour to ensure that as many South Atlantic Medal (1982) holders attend as possible. If necessary they will issue tickets to allow medal holders to march even if tickets are not available for their guests in the stands.
8. Further details of the events will be available from the official Falklands 25 Website: http://www.falklands25.com.
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