Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Duke honours Britain's war dead

The Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke was described as a "really cool dude"

Prince Philip has honoured Britain's war dead by opening a British Legion tribute to servicemen and women.

The Duke of Edinburgh placed his own tribute among other crosses in a 'Field of Remembrance' at Westminster Abbey.

Each cross bears the name of a fallen serviceman or woman, a poppy and the words: "In Remembrance."

They have been grouped in 230 plots to mark the various regiments and associations of the British and Commonwealth Forces.

'Still fighting'

The Last Post was sounded by trumpet from nearby St Margaret's Church.

Sarah Jones, president of the Poppy Factory and widow of Falklands Victoria Cross hero Colonel H Jones, read an exhortation to remembrance.

A two-minute silence began when nearby Big Ben chimed at 1100.

The Fields of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey
Plots were arranged to represent various regiments and associations

Members of the public can place remembrance crosses at the field until 13 November.

After the service, the Duke and Mrs Jones met veterans representing each of the remembrance plots.

Captain Prem Ale of the Gurkha Engineers, who served in Kosovo, Iraq, Hong Kong and Brunei, shook hands with the Duke.

He said: "This is very significant for us. We have lost many Gurkhas in recent years. Today we remember our friends and colleagues who have fought and are still fighting."

'Ultimate sacrifice'

The Duke also met Sergeant Mark Sutcliffe, 29, of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment.

He lost a leg in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Basra two years ago.

Sgt Sutcliffe said he felt lucky to have survived and wanted to remember those who had lost their lives.

He said: "It was really difficult losing my leg, but life goes on at the end of the day and I'm really fortunate not to have come back in a box.

"They are the ones who really make the ultimate sacrifice, and they should be never be forgotten. This gives us the chance to remember everyone who's served and given the ultimate."

'Owe so much'

He said he had always wanted to meet the Duke of Edinburgh, who he said was "a really cool dude".

Mrs Jones, who became involved with the Poppy Factory after losing her husband in the Falklands, said: "This is an important day because we owe so much to the people who are remembered here.

"This country would be a different place if it weren't for the two world wars, and all the conflicts since."

The Poppy Factory produces over 30 million poppies and 750,000 remembrance crosses each year.

It is staffed mostly by disabled veterans or their dependants.

Remembrance Sunday falls on 9 November this year, followed by Armistice Day on 11 November.

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SEE ALSO
Duke officially opens two schools
04 Nov 08 |  West Midlands
Moving tribute for war memorial
03 Nov 08 |  Lancashire

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