THOSE who lost their lives in the Falklands War and the many who are still suffering from the trauma they endured were recognised at a flag raising ceremony.
Veterans, Falkland Islanders and civic leaders gathered at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth to mark the 36th anniversary of the end of the conflict, which lasted for 74 days in 1982.
The Falkland Islands flag was raised above the tower as onlookers fell silent, after the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lee Mason, and city council leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, addressed those paying their respects.
Barrie Jones, who was a former naval petty officer on HMS Intrepid during the war, organised the event.
‘We moved the ceremony from the Civic Offices at Guildhall to the Square Tower because it’s a prominent place to fly the flag, it means an awful lot,’ said Barrie.
‘The turnout is fantastic, it wouldn’t matter if there was one or 100 people, the fact there are people here who still wish to remember the fallen is fantastic.
‘Being in the war was like being stuck inside a tin can.
‘There were no windows and you spent time wondering whether you were going to be hit with a bomb, or be alive the next day.
‘Knowing we have this kind of support makes me very proud and grateful and glad to be alive. Sadly others didn’t go home, and that’s what this is all about.’
The war started when the Argentines invaded the Falkland Islands – British territory – on April 2. The Brits claimed victory, but more than 250 of the nation’s military personnel lost their lives.
Portsmouth was the major departure point for the Task Force. Steve Sedgwick petitioned the city council, which helps to organise the annual event, to first get the Falkland Islands flag raised in Portsmouth, as well as the flag of Gibraltar.
He attended the ceremony and said: ‘It’s only right that the two British overseas territories claimed by another country should have recognition in this country, especially the Falklands.’
David Redwood, known as Spike, served in the Parachute Regiment during the war. The 57-year-old said: ‘I did a full career in the army, served in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it was the Falklands conflict I found the worst.
‘It’s really nice to see people still remembering what happened 36 years on, it hasn’t been forgotten.’