The British army's longest continuous military operation comes to an end at midnight tonight when responsibility for security in Northern Ireland passes to the police. Operation Banner lasted 38 years and involved 300,000 personnel, of which 763 were killed by paramilitaries. The last soldier to die was Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, who was shot at a vehicle checkpoint in 1997. From tomorrow there will still be a garrison of 5,000 troops in Ulster, but they will not be on active operations and will be available for deployment anywhere in the world.
They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old.