Prince flies to Afghanistan as Britain remembers war dead

14th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Prince William flew into Afghanistan on Sunday for a surprise visit to honour Britain's war dead, as the Queen led the nation in remembrance here in central London.

The Prince attended a Remembrance Sunday service earlier in the morning at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, and laid a wreath before flying home.

Back in London, Queen Elizabeth II led the nation in a two-minute silence at 1100 GMT to remember the fallen, and laid a wreath at the Cenotaph memorial.

She was followed by other senior members of the royal family, as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron and other politicians and diplomats.

Remembrance Sunday marks the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, and honours all those killed in conflict since.

Prince William, 28, who is second in line to the throne, was joined in Afghanistan by the government's Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

"Remembrance Sunday is a time when the entire country stops to recognise the sacrifices made by the armed forces on our behalf," Fox said on Sunday.

"I am extremely proud that Prince William and I could come to Camp Bastion to stand alongside the men and women serving in Afghanistan today.

"I pay tribute to them, and everyone who has served before them in this conflict, and others on behalf of the freedoms that the British people enjoy."

The Camp Bastion service was also attended by Commander British Forces, Lieutenant General James Bucknall, and Commander Task Force Helmand, Brigadier James Chiswell, and William Patey, who is British ambassador to Kabul.

Remembrance services were also held across Britain and in other military bases in Afghanistan.

The prince also met British, Commonwealth and other forces from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Sunday, according to a statement issued by his St James's Palace official residence. He also visited Camp Bastion's medical centre.

Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, mostly in Helmand, making it the second largest contributor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

Prince William had already paid a secret visit to the country in 2008, visiting frontline troops in Kandahar.

His younger brother, Harry, had served with the British army in Afghanistan for 10 weeks, but was withdrawn in 2008 after media reported the deployment.

© 2010 AFP

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