Falklands war veterans who live locally were among over 200 pilgrims on a visit to the Islands for the 20th anniversary of the conflict.

Also visiting the Falklands were Aldershot MP Gerald Howarth, Shadow Defence Minister, and the Duke of York.

Among the pilgrims were Aldershot residents Staff Sgt. Brian Faulkner, of Eddy Road, and Cpl. Graham Heaton, of Sandford Road. They were involved in one of the bloodiest battles of the campaign, the assault on Mt. Longdon. Graham lost a leg and Brian ran the Regimental Aid Post, evacuating wounded men from the mountain.

For his gallantry Brian was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, one of the oldest and highest orders for bravery.

Also on the trip was Pte. Michael "Mushroom" Bateman of Aldershot, who was shot in the throat.

The group spent six emotional days in the islands, with many friendships formed. Veterans visited Fitzroy, Goose Green and Blue Beach and retraced their steps on battlefields at Mt Harriet, Mt Longdon and Tumbledown.

Said Mr Howarth: "The visit was an outstanding success and the hospitality of the Islanders was overwhelming.

"It was a remarkable privilege to join the veterans and see at first hand the magnitude of the task they undertook.

"Mount Longdon and the other mountains form a natural and formidable fortification. It was in large measure the extraordinary bravery of the British forces which dislodged the invading Argentinians.

"It was also a moving experience to join Kenny Dawkins and the other Welsh Guards at their memorial at Fitzroy to remember the 51 men killed in the attacks on Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram."

He added: "It is important to recognise that some of those involved still suffer from the physical and psychological consequences of the conflict and that society owes it to them to ensure they have the best care the nation can provide." Mr Howarth laid a wreath at the Liberation Monument.

Picture: On a rocky outcrop of Mt. Longdon, Aldershot MP Gerald Howarth, Shadow Defence Minister, shares a time of remembrance with two Aldershot veterans of the Falklands War. On the left is Staff Sgt Brian Faulkner, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, one of the highest awards for gallantry, for his courage in evacuating the wounded from the mountain. On the right is Cpl. Graham Heaton, MBE, of Sandford Road, Aldershot, who lost a leg in the conflict.