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Falklands War: Bishop's Stortford Royal British Legion branch commemorates casualties 40 years on



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Bishop's Stortford's branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) has paid tribute to those who fought and died in the Falklands War of 1982.

Members commemorated the 40th anniversary of the end of the undeclared war between Argentina and the UK over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and its territorial dependency, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The conflict in the South Atlantic lasted 74 days – from April 2, when Argentine forces invaded the Falklands, to June 14 – and cost 907 lives: 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three islanders.

Bishop's Stortford Royal British Legion members commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War at the war memorial in Castle Gardens
Bishop's Stortford Royal British Legion members commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War at the war memorial in Castle Gardens

At the war memorial in Castle Gardens, a short ceremony was led by RBL branch president John Robinson. Standard bearers Phil Bishop and Alison Mitchell (women's section) attended. A one-minute silence was observed and a Falklands veteran laid a wreath.

Meanwhile, for the first time in several years, Armed Forces Day on Saturday (June 25) will not be marked with a parade in Bishop's Stortford.

Armed Forces Day (formerly Veterans Day) is not a Legion event, but usually the Stortford branch organises a march from Windhill to Castle Gardens by former and current service personnel, youth groups and the emergency services. However, Legion members are no longer allowed to organise road closures.

Phil Bishop and Alison Mitchell raise the Stortford Legion standards
Phil Bishop and Alison Mitchell raise the Stortford Legion standards

Town council chief executive James Parker said: "Earlier this year the town council was approached by the RBL with a request to assist with the road closure. However, it quickly became clear that this would not resolve the challenge faced, we understand for the first time, by the Royal British Legion."

Preliminary, informal discussions have taken place between the Legion and town council officers about the possibility of the council taking over the running of the event in 2023, but no formal approach has been received.

Mr Parker said: "When and if a formal approach is received, the matter will be referred to councillors as there are both budgetary and resource implications should responsibility for the event be transferred from the Legion to the town council."

The Remembrance Sunday parade and Armistice Day commemorations in November are organised by the town council and are not affected by any discussions in relation to Armed Forces Day.

Phil Bishop and Alison Mitchell lower the Stortford Legion standards
Phil Bishop and Alison Mitchell lower the Stortford Legion standards

On Tuesday (June 21), Hertfordshire County Council chairwoman Cllr Annie Brewster hosted a ceremony at County Hall in Hertford to raise the Armed Forces Day flag and mark Armed Forces Week.

An estimated 28,000 veterans live in Hertfordshire and have 388 children at county schools.



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