The families of two soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan gathered with veterans and councillors for the unveiling of a new Watford war memorial today.

The town’s elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, led a special ceremony which started at 2pm, by the monument next to Watford Town Hall.

As well as the stone memorial, which commemorates those who have served in conflicts since 1945, two benches were also revealed that have been dedicated to the town’s two fallen soldiers in Afghanistan.

Corporal Chris Harrison, of 40 Commando Royal Marines, who was killed in May last year and Captain Tom Sawyer, of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, who died in January 2009, both have a bench either side of the memorial.

Elderly veterans sat and stood side by side with serving soldiers as the sun shone on the memorial service.

At the ceremony Councillor Thornhill said: “This is a special day and a little piece of Watford’s history in the making.”

She said the new memorial would commemorate those who had served and died in the wars and conflicts Britain had been involved in since the World War Two.

Councillor Thornhill added: “Their service and ultimate sacrifice continues today and this memorial is a strong, permanent reminder of that service.”

Prayers were said for the fallen and a minute’s silence held before the Union Jack flags covering the memorial and benches were removed.

A poem, Sunset Vigil, written in 2009 by a British soldier serving in Afghanistan, Sergeant Andy McFarlane, was also read to the crowd.

After the service Martin Harrison, Corporal Harrison’s father, said he had been pleased to learn of the benches for Watford’s two fallen Afghanistan servicemen.

He said: “It was very well done. We are thinking of Chris, Tom and the others who have died or been wounded today.”