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The Royal British Legion has announced plans to host a commemorative event at 14:00 on Wednesday 14 August 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of the UK Armed Forces’ deployment on operations in Northern Ireland in response to growing sectarian unrest – the longest continuous operation in British military history. The event will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum, home of the Armed Forces Memorial.


Over the course of the operation, 300,000 troops were deployed to Northern Ireland supported by significant numbers of men and women from the emergency services. During that time, 1,441 UK Armed Forces personnel died, either in Northern Ireland, or because of paramilitary actions in other countries; all their names are listed on the Armed Forces Memorial.


The ceremony will be apolitical, secular and non-celebratory; appropriate in both tone and content. Centred on the Armed Forces Memorial, the ceremony will seek to honour the service and sacrifice of the relevant veterans from both the military and the emergency services. To attend, individuals must have been awarded the GSM (NI) (or civilian equivalent in the case of the emergency services).


Within the ceremony, time will be allocated to remember the 1,441 personnel killed during “The Troubles” and it is entirely appropriate that two members of each bereaved family should attend. The Legion will work with the appropriate agencies to enable their attendance. Whilst it is recognised that many other family members may wish to also attend, the primary audience for this particular ceremony is focussed on those that served on Op Banner and the attendance priority will therefore reflect that.



Please note that the Legion event at the Arboretum will be a closed, accredited event. Invitations, validation and accreditation will be managed using a similar processes used each year as part of the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph. As with the Cenotaph, we would be grateful for your continued support and help.


The Legion, therefore, will not accept applications from individual veterans but will instead direct applicants to their parent Association / Single Service Lead to issue invitations. Full details and the relevant Legion accreditation portal will open in Mid-March 2019 and the intent is to manage access exclusively via electronic ticketing.


You will receive a link via email by w/c 11 March to enable you to issue invitations.


Veteran Associations and the Single Services are asked to promote the event to their respective membership and serving communities in order to achieve full participation further details can be found on our website:


Prior to a Legion-provided lunch for all those attending, there will be an opportunity for those units and Associations with memorials at the Arboretum to host their own discrete activity. Associations intending to take advantage of this opportunity are asked to register their intent with the Arboretum


Please note that there will be no capacity for additional members of Associations to gain access to the event on 14 August 2019 other than those appropriately accredited to attend the Op Banner 50 commemorations.


All resourcing costs relating to the event are being met by a combination of a specific Libor Grant awarded by HM Treasury and the Legion. Sadly, funding is neither available to cover individual travel costs nor to fund related Association events.


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