1. ITV Report

Service marks anniversary of Army deployment in NI

The service took place in Lisburn. Credit: Press Eye

A service has taken place in Lisburn to mark the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Operation Banner, the British Army’s deployment in Northern Ireland.

Hundreds of veterans from across the UK attended the event, including those from the Royal Engineers and the Parachute Regiment.

It involved a drumhead service on Saturday morning, followed by a parade.

Hundreds of veterans attended. Credit: UTV

Operation Banner began in August 1969 and lasted until 2005, and became the British Army's longest continual deployment.

Sir Robert Pascoe, who led the operation from 1985 to 1988, addressed the ceremony, saying the investigation of soldiers over alleged wrongdoing in NI is "unfair".

He said: "We all know that the current process is unfair and we look to our politicians to sort it out without delay."

More than 20,000 soldiers were in Northern Ireland at the peak of the deployment.

Sir Robert added: "It was our job to hold the ring to limit the attacks by the terrorists and sap their will to continue the fight, this you did."

DUP Leader Arlene Foster was among those in attendance.

"These people who are here today stood between us and anarchy during the 70s, 80s and 90s and therefore we're very grateful, and I wanted to show that thankfulness today," she said.

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