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Harry visits Australian SAS HQ

Prince Harry has made an unannounced visit to the headquarters of the Australian SAS to honour special forces soldiers killed in the line of duty.

The 29-year-old royal, a serving captain in the British Army, joined the families of fallen members of the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) to lay wreaths in the Garden of Reflection at the unit's Campbell Barracks in Perth.

He flew into the Western Australian city accompanied by the country's Prime Minister Tony Abbott this morning after receiving a pop star-like reception in Sydney yesterday on his first state visit to the country.

He met and had lunch today with present and former members of the crack Australian unit and toured the base before heading to Dubai for a fundraiser for his Sentebale Aids charity.

The SASR's commanding officer, whose identity was only given as "Lieutenant Colonel G", said: "It has been 10 years since Prince Harry last visited Australia and we are humbled and grateful that he has made the time to join us.

"Prince Harry knows what it means to serve his nation on operations and most importantly what it means to the families of those serving.

"Today's visit by His Royal Highness and the Prime Minister represents a unique opportunity to recognise the broader SAS regimental family that provides the back-up and support at home.

"Families play a critical role for those serving in the SASR, and indeed the whole of the Australian Defence Force, and we are thankful that the families of some of our serving, former and fallen members were able to be here today."

Harry also met with members of groups including the SAS Resources Fund, the SAS Association, the SAS Historical Foundation and the SAS Auxiliary, all of which provide support to the unit and its members.

Harry's visit to Australia lasted barely 36 hours.

The prince arrived in Australia late on Friday for the whistle-stop tour, his first official visit to represent the Queen in the country he first visited ten years ago.

After a warm welcome when he arrived at Sydney's Kingsford-Smith Airport, thousands of people lined the harbourside yesterday for a chance to see the royal as he did a meet-and-greet before boarding a boat for a reception with Mr Abbott at his official residence in the city.

He attended the International Fleet Review on Saturday, which featured around 40 warships from 17 countries, including the Royal Navy's Type 45 Destroyer HMS Daring.

He then flew across the country to Perth to visit the SASR headquarters.

As he boarded the plane in Sydney, he told a local television channel had enjoyed his time in the country.


From Belfast Telegraph