Top British officials, including Prime Minister Tony Blair, have joined friends and relatives at a memorial service for British hostage Kenneth Bigley who was beheaded by Iraqi militants last month.

The British leader flew to Mr. Bigley's hometown of Liverpool for the service Saturday after talks in Washington with President Bush. Mr. Blair read a biblical passage at the service in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, but made no further comments.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also joined several hundred mourners at the service.

Iraqi militants kidnapped the British engineer and two Americans:Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong in September, demanding in exchange for their freedom the release of all female prisoners held by coalition forces in Iraq. The militants later beheaded all three.

Mr. Bigley's body has not been recovered.