Veterans and other officials at the Falklands War memorial service in Torquay Pic Robert Excell.jpg

Torquay hero remembered at 40th anniversary service of Falklands War

Torbay Weekly

Veterans, the Royal British Legion and local dignitaries gathered at the memorial on Torquay seafront to remember and honour those who had lost their lives in the Falklands War 40 years ago.

Included were tributes to Torquay hero Corporal Jeremy Smith, of 42 Commando Royal Marines, who was among those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

It is 40 years since the Government of Argentina decided to invade the Falkland Islands, an English-speaking British Territory in the South Atlantic.

The British Government promptly responded to the invasion by sending a British Task Force to recover the Islands. But not without the loss of three Islanders, 255 British Service Personnel killed, and 775 wounded. Argentine losses were 649 killed and 1,657 wounded. With 11,400 captured.

Brian Wills-Pope, deputy to the Lord Lieutentant, lays a wreath
Brian Wills-Pope, deputy to the Lord Lieutentant, lays a wreath

‘One of our own’ – Corporal Smith fought and died prior to the Battle of Mount Harriet on East Falkland.

Jeremy also served in 200 Squadron (Torquay) Air Training Corps prior to enlisting with the Royal Marines.

A single plaque to his memory and honour was installed and dedicated on Torquay War Memorial in 2003 by the Torquay Branch of the Royal British Legion.

Four decades on, the RBL Torquay Branch organised a Remembrance Service for Jeremy – ‘Lest We Forget’.

The event was attended and supported by Brian Wills-Pope, deputy to the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, Torbay’s Deputy Mayor, Torbay MP Kevin Foster, local councillors, ATC officers from South West Wing and Torquay ATC, and many veterans,  especially Royal Marines, who were accompanied by Standards of the Royal Marines and Royal British Legion. Members of the public looked on in respect.

The Torquay RBL President welcomed everyone and read the History of the Battle. Everyone said the Royal Marines Prayer, followed by the Exhortation. The bugler sounded the Last Post, Standards dipped in reverence for The Silence, rising again at the Bugle sound for Reveille.

A personal wreath from a friend of Corporal Smith and other wreaths were laid in respect.

Standards raised at the seafront service
Standards raised at the seafront service

The Epitaph followed – poignant words – “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today.”

So relevant to this young man, who gave his life for the freedom and values of our Commonwealth.

Final words of thanks for attendance were given by RBL Devon Membership Support Officer, Kevin Jeffery, who marshalled the service on behalf of Torquay.

Forty years on many Falkland veterans and their families still live with consequences of the conflict. The Royal British Legion are here to provide support and comradeship to anyone affected by the Falklands War: www.britishlegion.org.uk

Contact Centre 0808 802 8080 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 7 days a week)

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