Prince Harry leads Bastion Memorial service

Prince Harry paid tribute to those who lost their lives during the conflict in Afghanistan on Thursday. The British royal attended the service of dedication to inaugurate the Bastion Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, saying that he hoped it would become a "place of pilgrimage" for the friends and family of those who died during the combat operations.

The memorial, which bears the names of the 453 UK personnel who died in Afghanistan, has been designed to replicate the original memorial wall in Camp Bastion.


Prince Harry laid a wreath at the new Bastion Memorial

"As we sit here amongst friends we can take comfort in the knowledge that they gave their lives doing a job they loved, for a country they loved, and amongst mates who loved them dearly," said Harry.

"Once this ceremony is ended and all the trappings of the day have been cleared away, this will become a place of pilgrimage," he added. "A quiet space for remembrance just as it was in Camp Bastion, all those miles away."

Harry gave a speech honouring those who gave their lives for their country

Following a one-minute silence Prince Harry laid a wreath of poppies on the new memorial, which was blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during the Afghanistan war commemoration service at St Paul's Cathedral in March.

"The fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters named on this memorial, will forever be in our thoughts and prayers, as are those who miss them so dearly," read the message attached to the wreath.

Following the service Harry met ten-year-old Jack Faulkner, who lost his father Spencer in Afghanistan

Joining Harry at the poignant ceremony were around 3,500 guests including Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, military representatives, military charities and organisations, the UK's NATO allies and senior politicians.

The Staffordshire service no doubt held significance for Harry who undertook two tours of Afghanistan, one in 2007 to 2008 and another in 2012 to 2013, in his role as an Apache helicopter co-pilot and gunner.

After ten years of service Harry will leave the army this month.