HRH The Earl of Wessex has today, (Friday 22 April 2016), unveiled a plaque at a Falklands Memorial Rededication Service of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in the village of Marchwood.
The memorial is located just outside the church of St John the Apostle and takes the form of 2 flagpoles, 2 bespoke benches and stone cladding.
It was first unveiled in 1984 by Captain Phillip Roberts, a survivor from the RFA Sir Galahad and he was present today to see the rededication.
The RFA Association, in partnership with Marchwood Parish Council have assisted in the refurbishment.
Chairman of Marchwood Parish Council, Councillor Fred White said “ The village of Marchwood has a very special relationship between 17 Port & Maritime Regiment based in Marchwood and more specifically the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
We are proud to have located in our village a dedicated Falklands Memorial to the RFA that served us so well during the Falklands conflict and worldwide.”
The construction of the memorial started on 19th March 1984. The memorial is in memory of the Falklands Conflict during which the Marchwood based ship RFA Sir Galahad was sunk and the RFA Sir Tristram which was badly damaged.
Captain Shattock, Deputy to Commodore RFA said “The RFA Memorial at Marchwood is an important part of the RFA’s history. Marchwood was pivotal to the success to the UK’s response to Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands. It is fantastic to see so many serving and retired RFA personnel here today along with Marchwood Parish Council and personnel from 17 Port & Maritime, who continue to deploy on operations to this day.
The RFA Association and Marchwood Parish Council have done a fabulous job in organising today’s rededication and it’s been an honour to host our Commodore in Chief, HRH The Earl of Wessex on this special occasion.”
Reverand’s Roger Edwards, Reg Sweet gave readings, before the names on the memorial were read out by Captain (Retd) Phillip Roberts RFA remembering all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the fateful 8th June 1982.
A poignant moment as the Bugler from 1st Battalion Scots Guards who themselves played a pivotal role during the conflict played last post as a minute silence was observed before the resounding reveille.
Commanding Officer 17 Port & Maritime Regiment Royal Logistic Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Chestnut said ”As CO 17 Port & Maritime Regiment and Commanding Officer Solent Station, I am extremely proud to be part of the rededication of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary memorial today.
We have an Armed Forces Community Covenant in place with Marchwood Parish Council and I am grateful to them, HQ Solent Station, the RFA, the three Reverends and to everyone else involved to make todays commemoration possible.
The Sea Mounting Centre, Marchwood has enabled many UK Armed Forces Deployments and the Falkland Islands Operation Corporate ranks highly amongst them. It is most important that we continue to acknowledge the sacrifices made and today is a most poignant event; as I stand with RFA comrades and members of the civilian community, we are doing just that. We will remember them.”
After the rededication ceremony, HRH The Earl of Wessex met with family members of those who lost their lives, survivors, military personnel and invited guests.