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Attending the Drumhead Service: Iain George blog

Former Major Iain George is a Gulf Veteran. As a Captain Iain served in the Iraq war in 2003 as Echelon Commander of 20 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment from Maidstone Kent. He was one of the first men to set foot in Kuwait as part of the Activation Party, ensuring accommodation and supplies were set up before British troops arrived. He is now Stoll’s Director of Services, overseeing the charity’s wide ranging services from employment and outreach to mental health and well-being.

Yesterday the memories came flooding back: the day I stepped out on to Kuwaiti soil some 14 years ago, the men and women I Served alongside, and of course those we lost.

I feel incredibly honoured to have been invited to attend the high-profile Service on Horse Guards Parade to mark the UK’s contribution in the Gulf and Afghanistan. It’s called a Drumhead Service as the drums are used in lieu of an altar table. I know Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip are very active but to have them both there at the Service was something special. Prince Harry – an Afghanistan Veteran – spoke from the heart to help us remember all those who Served. We remember those we lost and the families they left behind; and we remember those who Served and now need support in one way or another.

It was a privilege to stand alongside both Veterans and those still serving in the Armed Forces. Many good men and women have served our country in the Middle East and Central Asia and I am pleased to see that British involvement in this part of the world is being marked with such a special memorial. Go and have a look at it when you are next in central London. The images on the memorial are striking and I like the design of it which deliberately reflects the uneven terrain of the region.

I should say that aside from being a Gulf Veteran, I was invited to attend in my capacity as Chairman of the Junior Leaders’ Branch of the Royal Engineer’s Association. I am proud to have Served and very pleased the Ministry of Defence and The Royal British Legion gave me an opportunity to represent the Association.