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Hundreds attend Falklands memorial

Hundreds of veterans and members of the public attended a memorial service held to mark 30 years since the war in the Falkland Islands.

The service, held at Portsmouth's Anglican Cathedral, was 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.

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 have 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.