A service to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War is being held in Stafford next month.
Wreaths will be laid on the town’s Falklands Gardens as part of the service to commemorate the liberation of the Island by British forces in 1982.
The event will take place at 11am on Saturday 18 June and has been organised by the Stafford Branch of The Royal British Legion (RBL) in collaboration with Stafford Borough Council. The Reverend John Davis MBE, the RBL Stafford Branch Chaplain, will lead the service in prayers and a bugler will play the ‘Last Post’ to conclude proceedings.
Representatives from the armed forces, past and present, will be joined by the Mayor of Stafford Borough, Councillor Philip Leason, and other civic dignitaries for the short open-air service. And the RBL are inviting residents to join the commemorations on the day.
Argentine forces invaded the Falklands on 2 April 1982 but the Islands were recaptured by British forces on 14 June - with the loss of 255 British military personnel.
The Falkland Gardens 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 RBL 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”.
“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.
“I hope you are able to attend our service and reflect and remember what occurred 40 years ago, over 8,000 miles from here. I most certainly will.”
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.
“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."
“I am sure there will be many in, and outside, our borough who will want to be there on Saturday 18 June to stand alongside ex-service men and women to mark this 40th anniversary in a very dignified way.”
Information on the service will be updated on the council website events calendar at www.staffordbc.gov.uk nearer the date.
Press Release No 5891