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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 June 2007, 19:20 GMT 20:20 UK
Veterans mark Falklands conflict
Baroness Thatcher and Tony Blair
Baroness Thatcher was Prime Minister at the time of the conflict
Some 10,000 people have joined a national event marking 25 years since the end of the Falklands war.

A ceremony took place at Horse Guards Parade in central London while veterans and islanders shared memories of the conflict in a television link-up.

Afterwards, veterans marched up the Mall to Buckingham Palace and aircraft took part in a fly-past.

In the Falklands, Armed Forces minister Adam Ingram and Prince Edward laid wreaths.

Helicopters and aircraft representing the squadrons that took part in the conflict flew over the Mall.

In a dramatic finale, dignitaries, veterans and thousands of spectators watched as the Red Arrows flew in a V-shape to represent the Vulcan bombers that played a vital role in the war and trailed red, white and blue smoke.

VETERANS LEADING THE PARADE
Admiral Sir Alan West, who 25 years ago, commanded the frigate HMS Ardent which was sunk during hostilities
Major General Jim Dutton, who served as a signals officer, led the Royal Marines Group
Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, was company commander 2nd Battalion Scots Guards and fought in the battle to take Tumbledown mountain
Air Chief Marshal Sir Clive Loader, who flew Harrier jump-jets from HMS Hermes

The event began with the massed bands of the RAF and the Welsh and Scots Guards leading thousands of veterans and serving soldiers into the parade ground.

Servicemen and women who fought in the conflict and Falkland Islanders then began to describe their experiences of the war.

Hymns, music and readings were also used to evoke memories of the campaign during the hour-long spectacle.

Hundreds of spectators filled stands lining Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall and applauded as each contingent of Falklands veterans - Navy, RAF, Army and Royal Marines - and their serving colleagues marched into the square.

Falklands commemoration
Veterans and serving personnel attended the event

The event centred on a stage in the shape of the Falkland Isles which was surrounded by the veterans, many with medals pinned to their blazers and wearing their regiment's berets.

The Duke of York, who served as a helicopter pilot during the war, took to the stage to recount the events of "bomb alley" where British vessels came under attack from Argentine fighters.

He told the audience: "Ships came alongside other stricken vessels transferring rescuers and survivors. Helicopters lifted men off fire-riddled ships and recovered men, escaping the carnage, from the freezing waters."

HAVE YOUR SAY
War should be commemorated not celebrated. Let's remember those brave men and women who gave their lives
Bob, Guilford

He said earlier that the event was an opportunity, not just to remember those who fought and died in the war, but also to say 'thank you' to the people in the UK who supported them.

Other guests at Horse Guards Parade included Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles, Defence Secretary Des Browne and Baroness Thatcher, who was prime minister at the time of the conflict.

At the same time as the commemoration at Horse Guards Parade, a live television link-up with the San Carlos Military Cemetery in the Falkland Islands united the two with hymns and readings from the parade ground.

Images of a piper playing on the crags of Mount Tumbledown, the site of one of the most notorious battles in the war, were screened in London and the tune was then taken up by other pipers at the Horse Guards event.

The audience in London joined in with the song Sailing, which was followed by the playing of the national anthem.

The service ended with the Last Post followed by a two-minute silence.

'Ultimate sacrifice'

John McRobb, 51, had come to march with his comrades from the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards. He sailed to the South Atlantic in 1982 on the QE2 before eventually landing at Bluff Cove, and later spent 14 hours in hand-to-hand fighting on Mount Tumbledown.

The event would be "an emotional day", he said, and also a chance to meet old friends. "It didn't feel like 25 years since the conflict," he added.

Falkland veterans
For many veterans the event was a reunion

Among serving soldiers marching up the Mall with veterans was L/Sgt Jamie Simeon, 34, of the Scots Guards, whose father, John, was killed in the conflict.

Five years ago, L/Sgt Simeon visited Mount Tumbledown, in the Falklands, where his father was killed by a sniper at the age of 36.

L/Sgt Simeon said: "I want to be here, not just for my father's memory, but the memory of everyone who paid the ultimate sacrifice."

The war ended on 14 June 1982, two-and-half-months after the UK territory was invaded by Argentina.

Some 255 British servicemen, more than 650 Argentines and three islanders were killed in the 74-day conflict.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Clips from the commemorative event





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