Bumper weekend of Falklands events to mark anniversary

BUSY A scene from the Navy Days event in 2010.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (102438-1117)
BUSY A scene from the Navy Days event in 2010. Picture: Malcolm Wells (102438-1117)

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THOUSANDS of people will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War at a bumper weekend of free events across Portsmouth this weekend.

The Royal Navy is opening two warships to the public during two days of remembrance across the city.

Sunday will see hundreds of Falklands veterans march in Old Portsmouth following a 11.15am service at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral.

And Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will be packed with free activities for visitors from 10am to 5.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.

They include live history displays of key moments from the 1982 conflict with Argentina and music from HMS Collingwood’s Royal Marines Band.

HMS Dragon, the navy’s latest £1bn Type 45 destroyer, will be open to visitors from 10am to 3.30pm on both days.

So too will the 30-year-old warship HMS York – the sister ship of HMS Sheffield, HMS Coventry and HMS Glasgow, which suffered tragic losses during the fighting.

York’s captain Commander Rex Cox said: ‘This will be an ideal opportunity for members of the public to visit the ship, which is a Type 42 destroyer and the sister of several ships that served with distinction 30 years ago.

‘My ship’s company are very much looking forward to showing off their ship and to demonstrating how the Royal Navy protects the nation’s interests across the globe.’

Dragon’s captain Commander Darren Houston said: ‘I am delighted that HMS Dragon is in Portsmouth during this poignant weekend of Falklands 30 and able to showcase to the general public the new Type 45 destroyer.

‘Dragon represents the cutting edge of air defence and reflects the excellence of British manufacturing expertise. Having just recently been commissioned, she is the latest addition to the fleet and will be a key element of the 21st century Royal Navy.’

Access to the warships will be gained through Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

On Sunday morning tributes will be paid to the 258 British men who died in the war. Veterans will gather for a service at Portsmouth Cathedral at 11.15am before laying wreaths at the memorial on Broad Street and marching up High Street.

Veteran Derek Cole, 56, of Gosport, said: ‘It will be a poignant day.

‘We will always remember our friends who never came home.’

WHAT’S ON

AT PORTSMOUTH Historic Dockyard there will be music, field gun displays, living history acts and talks from guest speakers and veterans.

The Royal Marines Band will play at Starboard Arena in front of HMS Victory at 11am and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Royal Marine Volunteer Cadet Corps will show off their field gun skills there at 12.30pm and 2pm on Saturday.

The Rose and Thistle Pipes and Drums will play at Starboard Arena at 12.30pm and 2pm on Sunday only.

There will be talks by Falklands navy nurse Nicci Pugh the Princess Royal Gallery at the National Museum of the Royal Navy at 1pm and 3pm Saturday, and 3.30pm on Sunday.

Author Peggy Legg will speak in the Princess Royal Gallery at 11.30am on Saturday and 11.30am and 1pm on Sunday.