The grand old Duke of York/had 7,000 men...

Today, I trotted around shamelessly trying to get in a photo op with the Duke of York, Prince Andrew. Well, what else would you do on a Saturday afternoon. I even had my own papp, ok, so I begged him to get the snap and hopefully he'll send through. In the meantime, here's my official blurb on today:

The Duke of York, HRH Prince Andrew, today signaled the UK’s resolve to continue its involvement in Afghanistan.

Speaking today at the 67th commemoration of the defining WWII battle of El Alamein on Egypt’s Mediterranean, HRH the Duke of York said the youth of the soldiers whose names are engraved on the cemetery's tombstones is a reminder of those British troops currently serving in Afghanistan.

“However, I do not expect war can be eliminated from the human race," he added. "If nothing else, history teaches us that … appeasement can be as dangerous as warmongering. We must accept that one day, we might have to go to war.”

The speech was held at the Commonwealth War Cemetery at El Alamein, which has more than 7000 tombstones commemorating the lives of British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers as well as other Allied nationalities. There are also German, Italian and Libyan war memorials in the area, where more than 80,000 soldiers died on the Western Desert front, including the 13-day attack from 23 October 1942, which saw one in six Allied and one in three Axis troops killed in action.

In a separate event 20km along the coast, organisers of an Egyptian group aimed at removing landmines from Egypt’s north coast say the region still has around 16.7 million unexploded devices dating from WWII, including shells and mortars, aircraft-dropped bombs, rounds of machine guns and small weapons, as well as anti-vehicle and anti-tank mines.

The UN-sponsored de-mining group says the civilian casualties and deaths as a result of these mines numbers ‘in the thousands,’ and estimates it will cost US$250 million to clear the remaining unexploded devices from the region. It is currently lobbying for assistance from the countries who laid the bombs to clean up the region.

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