Stafford service draws over 100 people to mark Falklands anniversary

More than 100 people attended a service in Stafford to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict.

A service to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War. Front right: Mick Garrett MBE.
A service to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War. Front right: Mick Garrett MBE.

The open-air service took place amid drizzling rain in the town’s Falklands Gardens at 11am on Saturday to commemorate the liberation of the Island by British forces in 1982.

Past and present service personnel were joined by the mayor of Stafford, Councillor Philip Leason MBE; Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson CBE; the High Sheriff of Staffordshire, local councillors and members of the public for the brief 20-minute commemoration service.

The remembrance was organised by the Stafford Branch of The Royal British Legion in collaboration with Stafford Borough Council.

A service to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War. Pictured: Stafford Borough Mayor Philip Leason.

The Reverend John Davis MBE, the Royal British Legion Stafford branch chaplain, led the service in prayers with a bugler playing the Last Post before wreaths were laid.

The National Anthem was sung by the congregation and the Rev Davis gave a blessing to bring the commemoration to a close.

Argentine forces invaded the Falklands on April 2, 1982, but the islands were recaptured by British forces on June 14, with the loss of 255 British military personnel.

Veterans at the service.

The Falklands Garden was created on the town centre’s Gaol Square island following the conflict and hosted a service in 2007 to mark the 25th anniversary.

Mick Garrett MBE, public relations officer for the Stafford Branch of the Royal British Legion and a veteran of the campaign said: “My thoughts will be with all who lost their lives, along with those injured and the families affected.

“In May 1982 I was a 25 year old corporal in the Royal Air Force and embarked to the Falklands Islands. My memory of the journey was of the frightening conditions that the South Atlantic threw at our ship along with the thoughts of our vessel being attacked by a submarine or exocet missile as we entered the “exclusion zone”.

A veteran wears the Falklands scarf.

“However, as we remember the conflict 40 years on, my final thoughts are with those, and the families of those, who are suffering from PTSD and to the many who have ended up taking their own lives as a result."

Councillor Patrick Farrington, leader of the borough council, said: “The huge crowds that attend the Remembrance service in Stafford demonstrates the deep affection our residents have for our armed forces and all they do across the globe to protect the freedoms we enjoy today.

A standard bearer at the service.

“As a teenager I remember the Falklands conflict vividly. I recall watching as our forces came home having liberated the islands - grateful for those who had made it home safely but sadness for those who had lost their lives as a result of this conflict."

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