Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

William at service in Afghanistan

Prince William stands to attention and salutes the memorial to the British soliders killed in Afghanistan during a remembrance day ceremony at Camp Bastion (PA)
Prince William stands to attention and salutes the memorial to the British soliders killed in Afghanistan during a remembrance day ceremony at Camp Bastion (PA)

Prince William made a special trip to Afghanistan to join troops at their remembrance service, laying a wreath at the poignant occasion.

The Royal flew into Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, in a surprise visit along with Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox to join troops in marking remembrance day.

William joined about 2,500 servicemen in the ceremony, laying a wreath to his own friends as well as others who have lost their lives.

British and Commonwealth troops gathered at Camp Bastion's parade square alongside their VIP guests in the remembrance service.

Two minutes' silence was held, after which William laid a wreath bearing the note: "For Jo, Lex and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country."

The visit added weight to an article by the prince in the Sunday Telegraph, in which he described how he is humbled by the respect shown for fallen heroes.

He wrote: "The country is as fervent today in its support for our armed forces and the sacrifices that they make as it has ever been. The awareness of what young men and women are doing for us in the most extreme and hostile environments imaginable is striking and moving. I find this remarkable and, frankly, humbling..."

After the visit, William said the occasion was extremely important to him, not only to remember personal friends he had lost, but everyone who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Before the service, Prince William met troops - most of whom had no idea he was due to visit. He even bumped into two old colleagues who he trained with. One, a Lynx pilot from Hampshire who did not want to be named, said: "I know him from flying training when he came through with the Army Air Corps at Middle Wallop. He remembered both of us - it's a small world, the military helicopter world."

After meeting troops, William visited a hospital on the base before the service, held just before 11am. On the hour, guns at Camp Bastion signalled the beginning and end of two minutes' silence.

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