Defence Minister Alex Chalk today honoured the memory of 179 British personnel who lost their lives in the Iraq War, laying a wreath at the Basra Memorial Wall at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire.
Marking 20 years since the beginning of Operation TELIC, the Minister was joined by a Piper from F Company, The Scots Guards, before The Last Post was sounded by a Bugler from British Army Band Tidworth to commence a minute’s silence.
Elsewhere, the Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Dr Andrew Murrison, also paused to remember all those who never returned. A veteran of Operation TELIC himself, the Minister laid a wreath at the Iraq and Afghanistan Memorial in Central London.
Paying his own tribute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“Marking 20 years since the start of Operation TELIC, we remember the 179 British personnel who lost their lives and pay tribute to them and their families.
“We remain committed to the close and enduring partnership the UK and Iraq have today, working together to address shared global security challenges.”
Operation TELIC was the codename given to the UK’s military operations in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.
Today, the UK and Iraq are working together to address a number of shared global challenges. At the request of the Government of Iraq, British forces still maintain a presence in the country and surrounding areas, as part of their work on Operation SHADER.
The RAF fly regular security missions conducting critical surveillance and reconnaissance and, when necessary, facilitate strikes against Daesh positions. On the ground, British soldiers are also working with coalition partners in a non-combat capacity in training, mentoring and force protection roles.
Through the Global Coalition Against Da’esh, NATO Mission Iraq and long-term bilateral initiatives, the UK remains committed to Iraq in its fight to secure the enduring defeat of Da’esh and to promote peace and stability in the region.