30/04/2009

UK Troops Honoured As Combat Operations End In Iraq

The Defence Secretary, John Hutton, has attended a memorial service in Basra to honour the 179 British personnel killed during the six-year conflict in Iraq.

Mr Hutton took part in the ceremony at the memorial wall in front of 20th Armoured Brigade headquarters on the main coalition military base in Basra.

The names of all the British, Italian, Dutch, Danish, American and Romanian troops and civilian contractors who died since 2003 throughout Operation Telic were read out.

The event - which lasted almost an hour - was conducted in front of the monument wall, which is engraved with the names of those lost.
News Image
British forces are ending combat operations in the country, in a move which will see around 3,700 UK troops who remain in Iraq, all coming home in a matter of days.

The end of operations comes when the UK hands over to an American Brigade.

In Downing Street, Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki met Gordon Brown for talks to encourage investment in the country as it emerges from six years of war.

The British Prime Minister said: "Today we are taking steps to strengthen and deepen our relationship and to make it a long-term partnership of equals.

"Today marks the closing chapter of the combat mission in Iraq. The flag of 20 Armoured Brigade will be lowered as British combat patrols in Basra come to an end and our armed forces prepare to draw down."

(JM/BMcC)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

21 February 2007
Prime Minister announces withdrawal of Iraq troops
Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced plans to withdraw 1,600 British troops from Iraq over the coming months. Speaking in the Commons, Mr Blair announced that the number of British troops serving in Iraq would be reduced from 7,100 to 5,500 soon.
19 July 2004
British soldier dies in Basrah helicopter crash
A British soldier has died after an RAF helicopter crashed in southern Iraq today. The MoD confirmed that the soldier was killed in "an accident" involving an RAF Puma helicopter at Basrah International Airport. Two other British military personnel were injured during the incident.
21 June 2004
Three British navy boats seized by Iran, reports claim
Three British navy vessels, manned by eight sailors, have been seized by Iran after entering its territorial waters, it has been reported today. An Iranian military source, quoted by Reuters, said that the boats were held and the sailors arrested after an incident in the Shatt Al Arab channel which divides Iraq and Iran.
15 August 2008
British Force Reductions As Iraq Security Improves
There is to be a reduction in UK troops in Iraq, according to a leading military figure. Major General Barney White-Spunner, who has returned to London this week after six months commanding British Forces in Iraq said security was now "so good" that soldiers could "stop and eat kebabs on the city's streets".
03 April 2014
Britain Command Of Afghanistan's Helmand Hand Over US
Britain's military operations command in the Afghan province of Helmand has been formally handed over to the US, in the latest step to recall British combat troops since it started operations in the area in October 2001.