ARMED Forces veterans joined young people, members of the public and West Somerset councillors to mark the start of Armed Forces Week in Williton on Monday.

Cllr Stuart Dowding, chairman of the council, raised the special flag outside West Somerset House after paying tribute to those who had lost their lives or suffered injury in conflict.

He reminded those present of the huge sacrifices made in the First World War when millions lost their lives.

He also paid tribute to the men and women who took part in the D-Day campaign 70 years ago and said today’s armed forces help to maintain the relative peace enjoyed in Europe today.

“We’re grateful for their unswerving commitment,” he said.

Veterans from the Arctic Star and Burma Star Associations joined members of the Royal British Legion from Minehead, Watchet, Williton and the Quantocks, along with Sea Scouts from Watchet, and Scouts from Danesfield School, Williton, and Exmoor.

RBL Somerset president Brig David Godsall told how his own family served in both world wars – his father was wounded in the glider assault at Pegasus Bridge in the Second World War.

He reminded those present of the unveiling of the new war memorial in Watchet on Saturday, June 28 saying it would recognise the 54 men from the town who gave their lives in both world wars.

Penny James, chief executive of West Somerset Council, said: “Flying the flag and gathering here is our way of showing our gratitude and respect for the professionalism, commitment and courage of our armed forces past, present and future.

“Put simply, they’re the reason we can live all live peacefully at home.”