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Last Updated: Thursday April 30 2009 11:53 GMT

British soldiers end Iraq mission

The transfer of authority in Iraq

Maddy checks out what British troops have been doing in Iraq

Britain has ended its military mission in Iraq, after six years of service in the troubled country.

Some British soldiers will stay in Iraq for a bit longer, to help train the country's Navy and in other jobs, but most of them will be leaving.

Earlier on Thursday a memorial service was held for the people who have died in Iraq while under British command.

The names of 179 British soldiers and 55 others who were killed in British-led missions were read out loud.

UK combat operations finished when 20 Armoured Brigade handed over to a US brigade at a "flagdown ceremony".

At one point there were 46,000 members of the British military working in Iraq. Only America had more soldiers there.

Britain began withdrawing in March, handing military control to American soldiers, and giving control of Basra International Airport to the Iraqis.

A map of Iraq

There are 3,700 members of the British military in Iraq, and many of them are relieved to be coming home.

Fighting started in 2003

British soldiers started fighting in Iraq back in 2003, when troops from lots of different countries worked together to invade the country.

They did that because some world leaders feared that the man in control of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, had very dangerous weapons and was going to use them to attack other countries - including the UK.

Those weapons were never found, and British soldiers have been in Iraq ever since.