Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Service to rededicate Basra Memorial Wall

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Tributes were paid during a service at the National Memorial Arboretum

Leaders of all three main political parties have attended a rededication service for a Memorial Wall dedicated to those killed in Iraq.

The Basra Memorial Wall has been moved from Iraq to the national centre of remembrance in Staffordshire.

The monument, built in 2006, is a tribute to the 178 British soldiers and one Ministry of Defence civilian who died in combat operations.

The wall has been moved to the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield.

A rededication service was held for those who died in operations between 2003 and 2009.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, leader of the opposition David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg looked on.

Heads of the three services attended, as did the friends and families of the forces personnel and representatives from Denmark, Italy and The Netherlands.

[We] hope that as well as being a uniquely personal memorial for us, it will become a national memorial so that people will not forget the sacrifices made by people like Richard
Brigadier John Palmer, whose son Lt Richard Palmer was killed by a roadside bomb in 2006

In an earlier interview for the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), the prime minister said: "It is right that relatives, friends and families of those who died in Iraq are able to visit the National Arboretum in Staffordshire and be able to pay their respects."

The wall originally stood outside Basra Airport, the British forces headquarters of the Multi-National Division in the south east of Iraq.

When combat operations ended in April 2009, the wall was dismantled and returned to Britain, where the central marble tablet was blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in front of the Queen at St Paul's Cathedral, London, in October.

The wall was built and maintained by the colleagues of the soldiers who died.

A British soldier salutes the plaques on the memorial wall in Basra
The wall was built and maintained by the colleagues of those who died

The Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell said: "I hope the memorial will provide a place for people to come together and pay tribute to those remarkable men and women who gave their lives setting Iraq on the path to stability and prosperity."

Brigadier John Palmer, whose son Lt Richard Palmer of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006, said: "All our family is tremendously proud of our son, Richard, and what he was achieving in Iraq. Whilst nothing can make his tragic loss any easier, we, and the other families, will have a new focal point for our remembrance.

"We will be honoured to attend the dedication service and hope that as well as being a uniquely personal memorial for us, it will become a national memorial so that people will not forget the sacrifices made by people like Richard."

Basra Memorial Wall
The Basra Memorial wall in Britain (top) and before in Basra (bottom)



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SEE ALSO
Prince to lead arboretum appeal
24 Apr 09 |  Staffordshire
Forces memorial opens to visitors
29 Oct 07 |  Staffordshire
Father's tribute to dead soldier
17 Apr 06 |  Middle East

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