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Monday, March 15, 1999 Published at 23:09 GMT

World: Americas

Charles ends Falklands tour on sombre note

Prince Charles threw the wreath in memory of British servicemen

The Prince of Wales has ended his visit to the Falkland Islands on a serious note, throwing a wreath of poppies into San Carlos Water.

The wreath, bearing the Prince of Wales's feathers, was thrown at the spot where the British Task Force landed in 1982.

[ image: The bay was known as
The bay was known as "Bomb Alley" during the conflict
The bay, known as "Bomb Alley" during the Falklands conflict, was the scene of repeated Argentine air attacks and heavy British losses.

The prince observed a private moment's silence after throwing the wreath.

Afterwards he attended a ceremony at the grave of fallen war hero Colonel H Jones, VC and laid another wreath at the British military cemetery, overlooking San Carlos Water, where 15 servicemen were laid to rest.

The San Carlos wreath-laying ceremony had been scheduled for Sunday but had to be postponed until Monday, after bad weather and poor visibility grounded the prince's helicopter.

Prince Charles later flew to Fitzroy, where 51 British troops were killed in an air raid on the landing ships Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram.

The prince, who is Colonel-in-Chief of the Welsh Guards, laid a wreath at the Welsh Guards Memorial in Fitzroy Cove.

Lighter moment at school

The prince spent a lighter moment on Monday at the Falkland Islands Community School, in the capital Stanley.

The school caters for 150 full-time pupils, aged 11 to 16, and provides educational and recreational facilities for islanders.

Prince Charles was shown the school sports hall and tried his hand at basketball, scoring a basket on the second attempt.

Monday's programme also included a visit to the Falklands agriculture department, where the emphasis is on organic farming and sustainability, and a trip to the Dorada fisheries patrol vessel.

Before flying back to Britain, the prince paid a private visit to Mount Longdon, above Stanley, the scene of one of the last battles of the war and which led to the final push to liberate the capital.

Falklands 'to cost £71m'

Meanwhile in London, junior defence minister Doug Henderson told the House of Commons that the cost of the islands' security in the current financial year would total at least £71m.

The sum, which includes the garrisoning of the islands, does not cover naval operations in the South Atlantic nor the air links maintained by the Royal Air Force between the islands of the group.

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