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The 'faithful' of the Afghanistan war commemorated in service of reflection and remembrance

The 'faithfulness' of those who served, as well as the loved ones who supported them throughout, was praised by the Archbishop of Canterbury as the nation reflected on the war in Afghanistan.

At the service on 13 March 2015, attended by HM The Queen, The Most Reverend Justin Welby thanked all those who had played a role in the 13-year conflict.


In his sermon he said: "We thank you for your faithfulness: you who left family behind, you who trained hard, you who did not turn from danger, you who suffered injury and you who risked yourselves to care for the injured. I’m told that each wounded person was supported by up to 80 others by the time they got home. Great is your faithfulness.

"We also thank those of you who stayed behind, who let your loved ones go: you who worried for their safety each day and took your phone to your bedside each night, you who lived with the pining of children, as well as your own fears. Great is your faithfulness."


The service remembered those who died and were injured, as well as all who served in Afghanistan, and prayers were also offered for the people of Afghanistan who had also died or suffered in the conflict. During the service, a cross made of shell casings that adorned a memorial wall in Camp Bastion was blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

At the service, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were accompanied by The Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal.

Afghanistan order of serviceThe Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Defence, Service Chiefs and other senior political and military figures also attended.

They were alongside members of the Armed Forces, veterans, the next of kin of deceased personnel, representatives of military and aid charities and organisations, and the UK’s NATO allies in Afghanistan from 2001 - 2014.

Representatives of the Afghan nation were also present, together with leaders of world faiths.

Following the service, The Prince of Wales took the salute from a parade of personnel who served in Afghanistan from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, the Army and the Royal Air Force, and veterans, supported by military bands and Pipes and Drums. During the parade, a flypast of aircraft used in the campaign, including Chinook, Apache and Sea King Helicopters, and Hercules and Tornado aircraft flew over the Cathedral in tribute.

All images © The Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral, Graham Lacdao and Arnaud Stephenson