FIA: BATTLE DAY COMMEMORATION AT THE CENOTAPH: 10 DECEMBER 2016
The Falkland Islands Association’s annual Battle Day service of commemoration was held at the Cenotaph in London on Saturday, 10 December 2016. There was a good crowd to watch the brief ceremony before traffic was allowed to pass along Whitehall again.
The service is held to commemorate those who fought and gave up their lives at the First World War naval battle off the Falkland Islands on 8 December 1914, when the Royal Navy defeated the German naval squadron under Admiral von Spee (a booklet on the Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands is available from the FIA’s Hon Secretary). The commemoration has since been extended to cover those who lost their lives liberating the Falkland Islands following the Argentine invasion in 1982.
The service was conducted by the Rev’d Dr Richard Hines, former Rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Stanley. The Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Woodcock OBE, laid the principal wreath on behalf of the Armed Forces. Other wreaths were laid by the Hon. Mike Summers OBE, Member of the Falkland Islands’ Legislative Assembly (MLA), Mr Andrew Rosindell MP, secretary of the Falkland Islands All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). Mr Alan Huckle, Chairman of the Falkland Islands Association (FIA), Mr Gordon Mather, Chairman of the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA ’82), Mrs Sara Jones on behalf of the families of those who liberated the Falkland Islands in 1982, Cmdre. Jamie Miller CBE RN, President of SAMA ’82 for HMS Coventry and HMS Invincible, Mr Colin Vitler for HMS Protector, Mr John Kingsmell for the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men, Corporal Daniel Biggs of the Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF) and six young students from the Falkland Islands.
The Parade Marshal was Col Mike Bowles (ret’d), a 1982 veteran and former Chairman of SAMA ’82. Sea Cadets from Pangbourne College provided the escorts to the colours along with a contingent of RN reservists from HMS President. A Royal Marine bugler from HMS Nelson sounded the Last Post and Reveille.
Admiral Woodcock inspected the parade in front of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) before their dismissal. Members and invited guests then moved off to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) at 61 Whitehall for the FIA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and luncheon.