Tuesday, May 5, 2009
SOLDIERS dismantle a memorial wall saluting 179 troops who died in Iraq — so it can be transported back to Britain and rebuilt.
The wall was the focal point of a moving memorial service in Basra last Thursday to mark the end of British forces’ combat mission in Iraq.
Members of 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron began taking it down yesterday. It was built by servicemen who made the best use of materials available at the time.
The wall will be rebuilt at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Designers hope to use the existing brass plaques and marble centre stone.
It will replicate closely the existing memorial and is engraved with a quote from the Book of Wisdom: “Honourable age does not depend on length of days, nor is number of years a true measure of life.”
Names of fallen troops and civilian contractors from other coalition nations in the British-controlled Multi National Division South East will also be commemorated.
The memorial is likely to be finished next summer. Iraq’s government made a generous contribution towards its cost in gratitude for the sacrifice of British forces.
Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth said: “They deserve a fitting memorial in the UK so their families can pay tribute in a tranquil, dignified setting.”
Defence Secretary John Hutton said: “This will be a lasting reminder of the incredible job our people are asked to do.”