Hundreds of veterans who served in the South Atlantic during the Falklands Conflict will gather, alongside families of those who served, at the National Memorial Arboretum on Sunday 2 April. The commemorative service, to mark the 35th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, is being organised by the South Atlantic Medal Association 1982 (SAMA 82). It will start at midday alongside the South Atlantic Medal Association Memorial, which features rocks from the islands, and is dedicated in remembrance to those of the South Atlantic Task Force who were killed during operations.
The service will be conducted by Reverend David Cooper and wreaths will be laid on the memorial. Reverend Cooper served with the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment (2 PARA) during the conflict, where news broadcasts carried footage of the field burial service he conducted for the eighteen British soldiers that were killed in the Battle of Goose Green. In 2012 he also led the dedication service of the Falklands Memorial at the Arboretum, which is part of The Royal British Legion.
The names of each of the 255 members of the South Atlantic Task Force who were killed in the mission to liberate the islands are carved on the national Armed Forces Memorial at the Arboretum. A commemorative stone at the South Atlantic Medal Association memorial carries a plaque bearing the names of the three civilians from the Falkland Islands killed in the conflict.
Sarah Montgomery, Managing Director of the National Memorial Arboretum, said: “We look forward to welcoming hundreds of veterans and their families to the Arboretum for this service on the anniversary of the start of this historic conflict. Our Falklands Memorial is tremendously important as so many of the men killed in the conflict have no grave. It serves as a restful space for contemplation for their families, comrades, and friends.”
Gordon Mather MM, Chairman of the South Atlantic Medal Association 1982, said: “255 people serving with the Armed Forces were killed during the fight to recapture the islands from Argentina, and 3 civilians also lost their lives. I hope that members of the public will join us to pay tribute to all those involved in the conflict, and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country.”
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Andrew Baud, National Memorial Arboretum, 020 3397 3383 or email@example.com
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is the UK’s year-round Centre for Remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country.
The Arboretum is part of The Royal British Legion and has 30,000 maturing trees and 330 memorials. In October 2016, it opened a £15.7m Remembrance Centre, following a major fundraising campaign supported by numerous individuals and organisations, including Staffordshire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Situated on land gifted by Tarmac, the Arboretum is also home to the striking Armed Forces Memorial which commemorates those who have been killed on duty or as a result of terrorism from the end of the Second World War to the present time.
For more information on the Arboretum, log on to www.thenma.org.uk