A new national memorial to the 255 British soldiers, sailors and airmen killed during the Falklands War was officially unveiled today in the presence of relatives of some of those who lost their lives.
The emotional service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, attended by hundreds of current and ex-services personnel and their families, ended with a fly-past by a Vulcan bomber and three military helicopters.
The Vulcan, flown by the Flight Lieutenant who led the famous raid on Port Stanley's runway, twice passed over the memorial to commemorate those who fell during the South Atlantic campaign.
Among those who attended the service to dedicate the memorial was the widow of Lieutenant-Colonel H Jones, who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery at the Battle of Goose Green, and Kathryn Nutbeem, whose father was among 56 men who died when troop-carrying vessels were bombed by Argentine jets.
The memorial is a 7ft-high curved wall of Cotswold stone designed to reflect the landscape of the Falklands and echoes a commemorative wall at the islands' San Carlos Cemetery.
The memorial, initiated by the South Atlantic Medal Association, also features two granite benches and a number of plaques, including one engraved with the names of the three Falkland Islanders who lost their lives.
The official dedication, which was attended by The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, also marked the 30th anniversary of the Falklands Task Force's landings on the islands.
Speaking after the ceremony, Lieutenant-Colonel Jones' widow, Sara, described the memorial as a fitting tribute to the members of the Task Force who gave their lives.
Mrs Jones, chairman of the Falkland Families Association, said: “I think it's just very important for our families to have somewhere that they can go which is special for them.
“Obviously there are other places but this has been dedicated not only for all of the task force, but for our families.
“I just think for them it's special to come to this wonderful place - it is a beautiful setting and they can be quiet and contemplate and remember.
“I know it's 30 years on but it's been worth waiting for. It was a lovely short service and that Vulcan coming over was a wonderful ending.”
Ms Nutbeem, who sang a solo during the service, was aged five when her father, Major Roger Nutbeem, was killed while serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps on board the RFA Sir Galahad.
Now aged 35, Ms Nutbeem, from Clapham, London, sang Somewhere Along the Road in memory of her father.
Prior to the dedication, she said: “I just think so many people lost their sons and their husbands and they don't have a grave to go to.
“The surroundings here are beautiful and you can come here and get a real sense of peace.
“My father sang and I sing and that's very important to me.”