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Falklands memorial to be unveiled

Margaret Allen, widow of Able Seaman Iain Boldy, lights the candle at the National Memorial Arboretum in StaffordshireA candle was lit at the National Memorial Arboretum to mark the 30th anniversary of the conflict

A service will be held later to dedicate a new memorial to the 255 Britons who died in the Falklands War.

The memorial, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, is designed to reflect the islands’ landscape.

It will be unveiled in front of more than 600 veterans and their families, 30 years on from the British task force landings in the Falkland Islands.

Before now, only a flag pole and bench honoured the UK service personnel and merchant seamen who died.

The service is due to begin at 12:00 BST and will last for about 45 minutes, ending with a flypast of the UK’s last airworthy Vulcan, which served in the islands.

‘Restful space’

It will be flown by the pilot who led the Black Buck 1 raid on Port Stanley’s runway.

The service will also include a pipe lament; a solo sung by the daughter of a major who died; a reading by the widow of Colonel H Jones and a march off of standards.

The memorial was commissioned by British veterans’ organisation, the South Atlantic Medal Association 1982, as a “a restful space for contemplation”.

Britain’s National Memorial Arboretum is the home to 200 memorials to those who serve or have died for their country.

Last month, events were held in Britain and Argentina to mark the 30th anniversary of the Falkland Islands invasion.

A total of 255 British servicemen and about 650 Argentines died after the UK sent a task force following the Argentine invasion on 2 April 1982.

Veterans of the conflict gathered at a chapel at the National Memorial Arboretum three decades on, where a single candle was lit to mark the anniversary.

It will remain alight for 74 days – the length of the conflict.

Britain has controlled the Falklands since 1833 but Argentina claims the territory – which it calls the Malvinas – saying it inherited rights to them from Spain.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to uphold the right of islanders to determine their own fate.

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