The 25th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands was commemorated in a service at Happy Valley in the Western Sovereign Base Area of Episkopi, Cyprus last Sunday.
It was 25 years ago that the Falkland Islands were liberated from Argentine occupation in a campaign which saw the loss of 255 service and civilian personnel, and three islanders. Nearly 700 Argentine troops also died. However, the tone of Sunday's event was one of remembering the sacrifices made by armed forces and civilians during the Falklands conflict, rather than celebrating victory. During the service the congregation sang hymns summing up the sense of pride and sadness, with the Regimental colors of the First battalion the Royal Welsh (the Resident Infantry Battalion) being laid up, followed by those of the veteran associations. Many of those reading during the service participated in the conflict, making the experience a sobering and somber moment. Captain Paul Stonier RM served with the HQ and Signals Squadron Royal Marines during the conflict. He said after the event: "It was a wonderful service, and one in which I was very proud to participate. It was extremely gratifying to see so many people, of all ranks and ages, and from all Arms and Services, coming together to remember and commemorate those who, 25 years ago, gave their lives so far from home." The lament for the service was played by a single piper at the end of the proceedings. Music was provided by the band of the Army Air Corps who are currently on duty as the roulement band in the SBAs.
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