Falklands conflict remembered as veterans gather for 40th anniversary service in Gosport

ITV Meridian's Mike Pearse reports from Gosport.

Event organiser Derek 'Smokey' Cole, and Tony Davies from the Falklands Veterans Foundation explain why today's event is so important, and describe being sent to the Falklands on the QE2.

Falklands veterans have been remembering fallen comrades during a national commemoration service and parade to mark the 40th anniversary of the conflict.

Hundreds of former servicemen and women are in Gosport, the home of the Falklands Veterans Foundation, which was granted the Freedom of the Borough in 2005.

The focal point of the commemoration was the town's Falkland Gardens, on Portsmouth Harbour, a place of pilgrimage for veterans and those wishing to remember the fallen.

A procession from the Town Hall was followed by a service, including an address by Falklands veteran Rev Godfrey Hilliard, a Royal Marines chaplain in 1982.

A service of remembrance was held in Falkland Gardens

During a roll call, floral tributes were laid in memory of the 255 task force members and three Falkland Islands civilians who lost their lives in the conflict.

Derek "Smokey" Cole, its chief executive, served onboard HMS Intrepid as a POMEM(M) - Petty Officer Marine Engineer and Mechanic - during the conflict.

He said: "The veterans of the conflict are all very humbled to have received the Freedom of the Borough in 2005 and are delighted to be able to parade through the town once again, on this special year.

"There were many servicemen and families living in Gosport in 1982 who became involved in the conflict and sadly some did not return from the South Atlantic but will always be remembered."

After the service, veterans paraded through the High Street, with veterans exercising their freedom rights to march through the town.

It was led by the Royal Marines Band Portsmouth. HMS Sultan provided an armed guard and a serving veterans platoon.

Platoons of cadets representing the Royal Marines, the Royal Navy, the Army and Sea Cadets based in Gosport also took part.

A reception followed for veterans and invited guests.