Britain commemorates 'Operation Banner' 13 September 2008
Britain’s 38-year military campaign in Northern Ireland was praised today by the Bishop of London.
Speaking at a commemoration for British armed forces who served in Northern Ireland, Dr Richard Chartres said they helped to keep the “forces of chaos at bay”.
The British military deployment known as 'Operation Banner' began in 1969, ended in July 2007 and over its 38-year history saw more than 300,000 military personnel serve in the North.
The Bishop’s comments came as he delivered a sermon to a congregation which included the British prime minister Gordon Brown, the Prince of Wales and British defence secretary Des Browne.
Before the commemoration ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral, Mr Brown issued a statement saying: “They helped create conditions for the peace Northern Ireland now enjoys and today we salute their courage.
“It is in their honour and for all the people of Northern Ireland that all those committed to the province’s future must work together to ensure a lasting peace.”
The Bishop told the congregation during the hour-long service: “Military intervention can hold the forces of chaos at bay while people learn again how communities with very different histories and aspirations can live together and do business with one another.
“Operation Banner kept that vital part to which a more hopeful future for Ulster could enter.”
More than 1,000 members of the armed forces died during the troubles, with 6,116 wounded. Of those killed, 763 died as a direct result of violence.
Dr Chartres went on to tell those gathered: “The people of Northern Ireland and their community leaders have suffered much. They want to move on now and are at work building a new future.
“Much remains to be done, healing memories, embedding hope but the military phase, Operation Banner, has been brought to a conclusion and we can give thanks for it.”
From the Times
A service took place yesterday (Sep 10 2008) at St Paul’s Cathedral to commemorate the end of Operation Banner and the contribution of HM Armed Forces in Northern Ireland over the 38-year deployment. The service was followed by a veterans’ march through the City and the salute was taken outside St Paul’s Cathedral by the Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor Locum Tenens, Alderman the Lord Levene of Portsoken and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
After the march, receptions took place in City venues, one of which was hosted by the City of London Corporation at Guildhall. The Lord Mayor Locum Tenens and the Lady Levene, accompanied by the Sheriffs and their ladies, hosted the reception in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
The speakers at the Guildhall reception were the Lord Mayor Locum Tenens and the Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup.
Among those present were Baroness Thatcher; the Secretary of State for Defence; First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff and Lady Band; the Chief of the General Staff and Lady Dannatt; the Chief of the Air Staff and Lady Torpy; senior members of the Military; members of Her Majesty’s Forces past and present and their guests; members of the Houses of Lords and Commons with military connections; representatives from the Court of Aldermen, common councilmen and officers of the City of London Corporation.
The Company of Pikemen and Musketeers of the Honourable Artillery Company were on parade.
Sourced From: irishtimes.com/
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