NEWLY-laid stones commemorating members of Barnsley’s armed forces were revealed to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War.
Mayor of Barnsley Sarah Tattersall and Coun Joe Hayward led a ceremony at Barnsley’s HM Armed Forces Walkway on Westgate, with the new stones featuring the name, rank and service number of members of the armed forces community, taking the total to 25.
The public were welcomed to pay their respects to Barnsley’s veterans, past and present.
The mayor laid a wreath at the service after a minute’s silence, with prayers lead by Father Peter Needham.
A moving speech was delivered by Ryan Dunn, an ex-sergeant in the forces, who purchased two stones - one in memory of his late wife Claire, who served in the Navy.
The pair met whilst on service in London, and moved to Barnsley three years ago with their daughter Ava, now six, after Claire fell in love with the town on a visit, Ryan said.
Claire was medically discharged from service in 2018, and worked at Forest Academy School in Kendray, which she loved.
She died after a short battle with cancer in December last year.
Ryan said: “We walk past here all the time, and me and Claire always said we wished we could get stones laid, so I’m happy we did.
“She only passed in December so this is the first time I’ve spoken. Ava wants to come on Remembrance Day to pay her respects to mummy.”
Other stones were laid for The Rifles, Light Infantry and the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and the space will be a dedicated area for people to sit and think of their loved ones.
MP for Barnsley East Stephanie Peacock was also in attendance, and added: “It was incredibly moving, especially hearing the families who spoke, and we remember those who lost their lives. It is also important to mention this is one of the first memorials of its kind in Yorkshire. Barnsley is a town that is proud of its Armed Forces.”
Coun Hayward spoke of Sergeant Ian McKay VC and was one of the most distinguished men in his regiment’s history. He said a recent discovery showed he was born in Barnsley and not Rotherham as was previously thought, and a tablet in his memory will be revealed on Barnsley’s cenotaph later this year. In a debate in Parliament on Monday, Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, who has previously served in The Parachute Regiment, also paid a special tribute to Sgt McKay VC.
He said: “On the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, I was honoured to pay tribute to those who served in one of the bloodiest chapters in our military history.
“The 74-day struggle for the Falkland Islands waged between British and Argentine forces was a campaign defined by extreme hardship, intense violence and unspeakable bravery.
“It’s important we never forget the selfless sacrifice made by Sgt McKay VC and everyone who fought and fell, and the many who still bear the scars of the conflict. We must make sure their legacy stands forever.”
Elsewhere, other remembrance services took place this week.
On Tuesday evening in Penistone, in the grounds of St John’s Baptist Church, a remembrance lowering of the flag service took place at sunset.
The Penistone Armed Forces Veterans erected a flag pole in the church grounds and Penistone Town Council provided a Falklands anniversary flag which will be laid up in the church.