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Duke of Kent leads Falkland War 40th anniversary procession at Pangbourne College



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The Duke of Kent led a precession today (June 12) in commemoration of 40 years since the end of the Falkland War in 1982.

The veterans and their families attended to reunite with one another and remember those lost for the 40th anniversary of the conflict with Argentina at the service of remembrance and thanksgiving.

The undeclared war was over a disagreement of the ownership of the Falklands- a disagreement that had been ongoing for two centuries.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent arrives at Pangbourne College for Falkland remembrance service
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent arrives at Pangbourne College for Falkland remembrance service

The conflict lasted 74 days and saw 255 British personnel lose their lives.

The Duke arrived at the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel at Pangbourne College at midday and was invited to view the sculpture of three bronze albatrosses which are situated outside the Chapel.

The Duke of Kent lay a stone on the Memorial Cairn with Major General Alastair Bruce of Crionaich Governor of Edinburgh Castle
The Duke of Kent lay a stone on the Memorial Cairn with Major General Alastair Bruce of Crionaich Governor of Edinburgh Castle

The Duke laid a stone on the memorial cairn alongside Governor of Edinburgh Castle Maj Gen Alastair Bruce of Crionaich who was the instigator of the memorial.

The memorial cairn was created out of individual stones in memory of those who did not return.

The former broadcaster told Newbury Today that today was a day for friends to come together, albeit they weren’t “as young, as fit or as handsome” as they once were.

Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel 40th Anniversary Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving.2022. (57262179)
Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel 40th Anniversary Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving.2022. (57262179)

“I can’t believe it has been 40 years,” he said.

He commented that the veterans were “coming together at a time when the world can see sovereignty invaded by another nation” and said that it was a time to remember the protection of the sovereignty of the Falklands.

Mr Bruce was only 21-years-old when he served with the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards in 1982.

In attendance was senior nursing officer Nicci Pugh who worked with the Queen Alexandra Royal Navy Nursing Service on board the Hospital Ship Uganda.

Senior nursing officer Nicci Pugh
Senior nursing officer Nicci Pugh

When the HMS Sheffield was attacked and sunk, the hospital ship was called south from Ascension.

The nurse and author, who has written a book about her experiences entitled White Ship-Red Crosses, took time to reminisce with former patient British Limbless Veterans Association member Scots Guardsman Robert Osborn.

Mr Osbourn, also in attendance, told Newbury Today that he too remembered being treated by the nurses aboard the Uganda after becoming injured in the Battle of Mount Tumbledown.

Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel 40th Anniversary service of remembrance
Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel 40th Anniversary service of remembrance

He said: “I was 21 at the time and I was injured on the Tumbledown."

Mr Osbourne, who had to have his leg amputated, tried to remember the first time he saw Nicci since the war. He said: “I remember it was nice to see them [nurses] again and just say thank you.”

He said they have stayed in contact ever since. He said that his regiment feels like a family, “If someone is in need and someone else is in the area, they’ll be there for them.”

Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel 40th Anniversary Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving.2022. (57262183)
Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel 40th Anniversary Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving.2022. (57262183)

Looking back to when he joined the army he said: “One day off from school, it was chucking it down with rain. I remember the army was recruiting.

“I went in and I said I am not going back to school. I joined the same regiment as my dad.”

He added: “We are still learning about the Falklands War. We are still picking up bits from history, from everyone.”

He said it also helps to remember funnier moments rather than those less so. He reminisced “drinking a brew in a pigsty” with soldier David Malcomson - who died only 30 minutes before the war ended in June 1982.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent in the garden of remembrance viewing the installation of commemorative plaques
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent in the garden of remembrance viewing the installation of commemorative plaques
Service members of the Falklands 40th Anniversary bike ride
Service members of the Falklands 40th Anniversary bike ride

Sara Jones, widow of Colonel H Jones was also in attendance.

Mrs Jones, who is a trustee of the FIMC and former Chair of the Falkland Families Association, which closed in 2016, said: “My husband was a commanding officer and was killed in the battle of Goose Green.

“We have a service every year, but this year is particularly important.”

Mrs Sara Jones, widow of Colonel H Jones
Mrs Sara Jones, widow of Colonel H Jones

She continued: “We are lucky to have it here, it is wonderful. I have been invited ever since it started.”

Her husband Col Jones was a recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions as commanding officer.

The Falkland 40th Anniversary cyclist group passed through the college in the morning as a part of an eight-day ride, whereby the service members visit memorials relating to 1982.

Service members at the Chapel for a short service of prayer and remembrance
Service members at the Chapel for a short service of prayer and remembrance

The group stopped at the chapel for a short service of prayer and remembrance led by the Rev David Cooper. Mr Cooper is also a Falklands veteran and a former member of the Parachute Regiment and trustee of the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel Trust.

Among the cyclists was organiser of the trek, former member of the Parachute Regiment Gus Hales.

He said: “It is a health and wellbeing ride,” he said. “It is about being active and about remembering.”

Service members at the Chapel for a short service of prayer and remembrance
Service members at the Chapel for a short service of prayer and remembrance

Veteran brothers Ray Cooper of the 9th parachute squadron, royal engineers and Phil Cooper of the 2nd parachute regiment were among them and shared the remarkable story of when they became unexpectedly reunited.

“My brother thought I had been killed,” Mr Cooper said as he motioned towards his brother Phil.

The veteran who said he was the second person to land on the Falklands said he was suprisingly reuinted with his brother whilst there.

Brothers Phil and Ray Cooper
Brothers Phil and Ray Cooper

He said: "We were just walking past each other and he saw me, he thought I had died."



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