Combat operations for British forces in Iraq are coming to an end today after six years. 20 Armoured Brigade will be handing over control of Basra to an American Brigade.

Operation Telic, the name given to the British involvement in Iraq has been ongoing since March 2003.
A memorial service has taken place in Basra for the 179 British personnel who died during the conflict. The British fatalities reached 179 after a soldier died from a gunshot wound in Basra on 12 February 2009. The memorial was attended by Defence Secretary John Hutton.

Mr Hutton said the UK should be proud of what its troops had achieved. "It's been a long and hard campaign. There's been no question about that, and we've paid a very high price," he said.

The British forces have learnt a lot of lessons from the campaign in Iraq and it has also identified many strengths and weaknesses. This was the first large insurgency Britain has experienced in years and as T.E. Lawrence said "War upon rebellion is messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife."

As British forces leave Iraq the amount of British forces being sent to Afghanistan is increasing.

More hard times to come!