Harry flies to Afghanistan service

Published: Sunday 9th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Prince Harry today returned to Afghanistan to take part in a remembrance service as troops paused in silent vigil to the more than 450 British servicemen to have been killed fighting the Taliban.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed Prince Harry flew into Kandahar airfield for the main Remembrance Sunday service as UK forces prepare for the final phase of the UK redeployment from southern Afghanistan.

He laid a personal wreath and gave a reading before lining up with fellow servicemen and women for The Last Post and Reveille played by musicians from the Royal Artillery Band.

Harry had previously served in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2012-13, although his maiden deployment had to be cut short after a foreign publication broke a strict media blackout on details of his whereabouts.

The MoD said Harry led today’s tributes on behalf of the Queen, having arrived in Afghanistan hours earlier. He has since left the region.

During his brief visit, the prince met with British servicemen and women from 31 squadron of Norfolk-based RAF Marham.

He also received a briefing on how the Tornado aircraft had provided close air support to Afghan operations over the last few months.

Reflecting upon the final Remembrance Sunday ceremony in southern Afghanistan, Brigadier Darrell Amison said: “Today, members of the Armed Forces and our civilian counterparts in Kandahar joined the nation in honouring the lives and sacrifice of the Fallen in Afghanistan, along with those who have lost their lives and been injured in the line of duty during the First World War and in conflicts since.

“We will forever be in debt to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We will never forget their extraordinary courage and dedication, and our thoughts will always remain with the families and friends of those we have lost.

“The final Remembrance Sunday ceremony in southern Afghanistan has significant poignancy as we pay tribute to the 453 men and women who have given their lives since 2001, along with the many hundreds who have suffered life changing injuries.

“We are incredibly proud of what they have achieved. Thanks to their sacrifice, Afghanistan is a better country and we walk in safer streets at home in the UK. We will remember them.”

The Camp Bastion military base in Helmand is due to close in a few weeks’ time and the final British troops are due to be pulled out of Afghanistan by the end of the year as operations in the country wind down after a 13-year presence.

Earlier this year it was confirmed that five British troops, including three personnel from Prince Harry’s former Army unit, were killed in the UK’s worst helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

Captain Thomas Clarke, Warrant Officer Spencer Faulkner and Corporal James Walters had served with the Army Air Corps, based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, the regiment with which Prince Harry was an Apache helicopter commander.

The prince has taken on a desk role with the military since he returned from Afghanistan in January last year

Published: Sunday 9th November 2014 by The News Editor

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