Falklands veterans mark trees rededication

British military dog Mali who has received the PDSA Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross with his current handler Corporal Daniel Hatley

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IT WAS a day to mark the lives of those who lost their lives in the Falklands conflict.

War veterans and their families joined dignitaries as they gathered on Portsdown Hill this morning for a rededication ceremony at the city’s Falklands Memorial plantation 30 years after it was planted.

REMEMBERED Dignitaries at the Falklands War Memorial plantation on Portsdown Hill. Picture: Tree Council

REMEMBERED Dignitaries at the Falklands War Memorial plantation on Portsdown Hill. Picture: Tree Council

The plantation consists of 258 beech trees – one for each member of the taskforce and Falkland islanders killed during the conflict.

The event was led by Rev Canon Roger Devonshire, of the Royal Navy, and featured readings from the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Frank Jonas and Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire Mary Fagan.

At the service, Rev Devonshire said: ‘In the last days of March 1982 few could have imagined that Britain would soon be at war.

‘Few would have dared to contemplate that the Falklands conflict might claim the lives of 255 members of the British Task Force and three Falkland Island civilians.

‘Here on Portsdown Hill we have a memorial to each one of those sacrifices and the suffering caused to families friends and colleagues.

‘It is right that we should come to this plantation in this 30th anniversary year. It is right that we should come to rededicate this plantation, and renew our commitment to those who died and those who live daily with the consequences of those events in the spring of 1982.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt attended the event and said: ‘It’s lovely to see some of the Falkland Islanders I met when I was over there in the summer. It’s important to the whole ethos of the city that we remember what happened those years ago.’

John Galway, who served on HMS Sheffield during the conflict, said: ‘It’s important especially with this year being the 30th anniversary – you don’t ever forget.’