UK combat operations in Iraq have formally come to an end with a ceremony to remember the troops who died there over the last six years.
In Basra a memorial wall was dedicated bearing the names of the 234 fallen soldiers. 179 of them were British. The others were from Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Romania and the US – all serving under British command. The city in the south of the country has been the centre of British operations since the American-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003. The British Premier was joined in London by his Iraqi counterpart to discuss a new chapter in relations. Gordon Brown said: “The flag of 20 Armoured Brigade will be lowered as British combat patrols in Basra come to an end and our armed forces prepare to draw down.” The majority of the 3,700 UK troops still there will leave Iraq by the end of May. 400 British military personnel are due to stay behind to train Iraqi naval forces.