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British troops were deployed onto the streets of Northern Ireland on the 14 August 1969, in response to growing sectarian unrest.

The military campaign was code named OP BANNER and the General Service Medal (Northern Ireland) was awarded to over 300, 000 Service personnel that were deployed into Northern Ireland over the subsequent 38 years.

In total, 1,441 UK Armed Forces personnel died as result of operations in Northern Ireland or paramilitary actions in other countries. All of their names are listed on the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The Royal British Legion will host a commemorative event on Wednesday 14 August 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of the UK Armed Forces’ deployment on operations in Northern Ireland – the longest continuous campaign in British military history.  The event will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Please note that Op Banner 50 will be a closed, accredited event, not open to the general public. Please see our guidance below for those eligible to attend the event. 

Download our event FAQs

Read our FAQs to find out more about attending this event

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Attending the event

If you hold the General Service Medal (Northern Ireland), please contact your relevant Corps, Regimental or Service Association who will send you an invitation directly.

Your association will relate to the Capbadge (Army) or Service (RN/RM/RAF) you served with.

You do not need to be a member of your Association to be invited to the event.

Contact details for Associations can be found online:

Please note that this not an exhaustive list and individuals may need to search for their relevant associations online.

Serving personnel should also contact their relevant Association to be issued an invite. You do not need to be a member of your Association to be invited to the event.

Representative of bereaved families

To register, the deceased must have been awarded the GSM (NI) or served in a civilian service in support of Operation Banner.

Please email the War Widows Association at if you are interested in attending

Civilian services

If you served as in a civilian service in support of Operation Banner, you should contact your relevant retired Civilian Service who will issue an invitation directly (see list below):

If your civilian services association does not appear above, please email


We understand that there may be non-eligible individuals that wish to show their support for the commemoration. Details of how to show your support will be posted here over the coming months.

If you have any further queries, please email

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