Emotional parade as veterans remember the Falklands conflict

EMOTIONAL tributes were paid to members of the task force that gave their lives in the Falklands conflict.

Monday, 19th June 2017, 6:55 am
Updated Monday, 19th June 2017, 12:57 pm
Veterans marching through Old Portsmouth to mark the 35th anniversary of the conflict Picture: Habibur Rahman (170801-78)

A parade and service held today at the Square Tower, in Old Portsmouth, saw dozens come to watch veterans march.

It came amidst the 35th anniversary of the Falklands conflict, which took place between April 2 to June 14 in 1982.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Ken Ellcome, came along to oversee the proceedings, which included a selection of hymns.

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A poignant minute’s silence was held, and wreathes were laid at the memorial.

The veterans involved in the procession say they have never forgotten the events that unfolded during their time in the Falklands – and that it had a massive impact on how they approached civilian life afterwards.

Peter Imrie, 60, was a Leading Aircrewman during the conflict.

He said: ‘I served on HMS Hermes for most of the war.

‘I ended up in a helicopter that went into Chile during the conflict, so I came back before the war was over.

‘It had a very profound impact on me.

‘Nobody expects to go to war, but it is an experience I will never forget.

‘You learn about yourself, you learn about your friends and you learn about what matters in life – you certainly come away from it all a different person.’

During the 10 weeks of the conflict, 255 members of the British task force were killed, and 775 were injured.

After 74 days of fighting, Argentine forces surrendered and the islands were returned to British control.

Another serviceman at the parade was Petty Officer David Barraclough, 48, who served in Afghanistan.

‘I didn’t serve in the Falklands myself, but days like this are very important,’ he said.

‘We should never forget – it is tragic and people lost their lives in the events that occurred in places such as San Carlos, and at the Battle of Goose Green.

‘I think we should move forward, and try not to repeat those things, but we should never forget – after all, people laid down their lives in the interest of other people’s freedom, so it’s very important to me.

‘We should always remember events like the Falklands as a mark of respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.’

A commemoration was held in Gosport last month.