30/07/2007

Operation Banner ends after 38 years

Operation Banner, The British Army’s longest continuous campaign in its history, will end at midnight on Tuesday after 38 years.

The military operation in Northern Ireland required 300,000 personnel and 763 of the personnel serving were killed directly by paramilitaries. A peacetime garrison, that will house 5,000 troops, is all that will remain from Wednesday.

Security will now be the full responsibility of the PSNI and British soldiers will only have limited responsibilities to support them.

Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth said that this marks the beginning of a new era for the UK Armed Forces in Northern Ireland and that the military will become very much part of the community.

A remembrance service was held at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast last night for soldiers killed in Northern Ireland during the conflict.

At the service, Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, was awarded a military cross for service in Northern Ireland by The Colonel of the Royal Irish Regiment, General Sir Philip Trousdell.

(SB/SP)

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