A memorial dedicated to soldiers who served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars over the last 25 years was unveiled by the Queen in central London today.
A service for 2,500 veterans on Horse Guards Parade followed.
Timeline for Afghanistan
- February 14, 2017
It was attended by representatives from the military, humanitarian organisations and senior royals, including Prince Harry, who served on the front line in Afghanistan and Prince Charles.
The £1m monument built by British sculptor Paul Day was funded by readers who donated to a Sun on Sunday newspaper campaign.
Day also created the Battle of Britain monument, which stands on the Embankment, the Queen Mother’s memorial statue on the Mall, and the Meeting Place at St Pancras station — the sculpture of a couple embracing.
His most recent memorial sculpure features two huge stones, one representing Iraq and the other Afghanistan, united by a bronze medallion to commemorate the twin themes of duty and service.
More than 300,000 military personnel were involved in the US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan from 1990 to 2015.
In the UK, 800 British military personnel and civilians died in the three wars according to the BBC.
The first Iraq war took place in 1990-91 and the second conflict in the region took place from 2003-09.
The war in Afghanistan lasted 13 years between 2001 to 2014, claiming the lives of 456 members of the UK military.
Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the memorial would:
Stand as a permanent reminder of the contribution and sacrifice that so many members of our Armed Forces, aid workers and civilian personnel made towards the security of the United Kingdom and the interests of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Last month, Fallon announced that an investigation into the conduct of British forces in Iraq would be brought to an end.
The decision followed solicitor Phil Shiner’s removal from the legal profession for making dishonest allegations against British troops regarding their treatment of Iraqi detainees after the 2003 invasion.