Service for UK armed forces' personnel killed in 2009

Families of 119 UK service personnel killed in conflicts last year have attended a service of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Prince Edward joined relatives at the service in Staffordshire where he led the laying of wreaths.

Last year was the bloodiest year for UK forces since the Falklands conflict.

The names of those killed have been carved into the Armed Forces Memorial alongside the other 16,000 service personnel who have died since 1948.

The names of all those who lost their lives in the last year were read out at the service, which also included a two-minute silence.

Addressing those gathered, the Venerable Ray Pentland QHC, chaplain-in-chief at the Royal Air Force, described the process of remembrance as "very precious and special", adding that it "helps to give us a foundation".

"Let us chant their names and call them home," he said, of those who had lost their lives.

And Bishop John Kirkham, the former bishop of the armed forces, read A Litany of Remembrance.

Emma-Jane Webster, whose fiancee L/Cpl Richard Brandon, was killed in Afghanistan in September, said the memorial was "absolutely spectacular".

"It's wonderful recognition for what he did and what he believed in," said Miss Webster.

The Armed Forces Memorial honours personnel killed on duty, or as a result of terrorist action.

Made from Portland stone, it was dedicated by the Queen in 2007 and features an obelisk and a circular wall bearing the names of the dead.

The latest 119, engraved by stonemason Nick Hindle, include the 41 UK soldiers killed during Operation Panther's Claw in Afghanistan last July and August.

Also inscribed are the names of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar - the two soldiers shot dead outside their barracks in Northern Ireland in March 2009 by dissident republicans.

The memorial, in Alrewas, has been designed to allow a shaft of sunlight to fall across the sculpted wreath on the central stone at precisely 1100 GMT on the 11th day of the 11th month - Armistice Day.

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