Hundreds of veterans and members of the public gathered on Sunday in Portsmouth and Sheffield to mark the 30 years since the Falkland Islands conflict.
A commemoration event was held at Portsmouth’s Anglican Cathedral while in Sheffield veterans and families staged a parade through the city before a service to mark 30 years since the sinking of a ship named after the city.
HMS Sheffield, a Type 42 Destroyer was struck by an Exocet missile on May 4, 1982, claiming the lives of 20 men. The Royal Naval Association marks the anniversary each year on the Sunday closest to the date.
The ceremony saw the parade circle the city centre, before those taking part gathered outside Sheffield Cathedral at 1.30pm. A bell was tolled 20 times, once for each of the crew lost in the attack.
In Portsmouth the service was held at the Anglican Cathedral led by the Very Rev David Brindley and included a sermon by Canon Roger Devonshire, who served for 24 years as a naval chaplain and who was on board HMS Hermes during the conflict.
Among the congregation were soldiers, sailors and air force personnel who served in the South Atlantic in 1982.
A Falkland Islander led tributes to Britain’s armed forces. Professor June Purvis, who was born in Port Stanley, read a prayer at the remembrance service at the Cathedral in Old Portsmouth.
She had moved to Portsmouth in 1972, a decade before Argentina invaded. But she remains grateful that Britain took back the territory and freed her family and friends who were invaded.
She said: ‘I feel very proud and I’d like to give thanks to the people of Portsmouth and all the armed forces that helped liberate the Islands.
‘I still know a lot of people living there, obviously, and they all think of themselves as very British. They were all horrified that Argentina invaded and they are very grateful to all those who liberated the Islands.’
Prof Purvis, who lives in Farlington, is Professor of Women’s and Gender History at the University of Portsmouth.
She said: ‘I feel honoured to have been asked to read a prayer today. I was quite nervous about it to be honest, but it was a good way of honouring all those people who died and all those who suffered horrific injuries to free the Falkland Islands.’
Following the service, a Royal Marines band led a parade to the nearby Falklands Memorial where a wreath was laid by veterans and dignitaries from the armed forces and local authorities. The events were concluded with a ceremony of beating the retreat and a veterans' parade at Portsmouth Naval Base.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: This is an important day to remember the people who left from this city to defend the Falklands and to defend people's rights to choose who governs them and that is important for everyone.
It is right to do that in Portsmouth as it is where the task force left from and we have to make sure we remember conflicts like this for the people who didn't come home.
Retired Commander Steve Hopper, from Portsmouth, attended the wreath-laying ceremony to remember his colleagues whom he served alongside during the conflict.
The 50-year-old, who served aboard the Type 22 frigate HMS Broadsword, said: I feel this is important as 30 years ago I was down in the South Atlantic with lots of people, some of which didn't come back.
Thirty years ago is a long time and for a lot of people it's like watching the World War Two news but it's still very alive for me. The Falklands was my first experience of combat as a young naval officer and it will always be something that sticks in my mind.
A weekend of events has been held at Portsmouth Naval Base giving the public a chance to learn about the Royal Navy's role in the Falklands’ as well as the current force.
Canon Roger Devonshire, naval chaplain for 24 years and who was on board HMS Hermes during the conflict read a sermon at the ceremony