Thursday 10 February, 2011

From operations in Afghanistan, the repatriation of:

Ranger David Dalzell (20), 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment Ranger Dalzell died as a result of an operational accident while on operations at Checkpoint Ranger, in Nahr ’Ali, Helmand Province, on 4th February, 2011.

WO2 (CSM) Colin Beckett (36), 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment WO2 “Tom” Beckett died as a result of an IED explosion while leading a patrol in the village of Shaheed, Nahr-e-Bughra canal, Helmand Province, on 5th February, 2011.

Service veterans and members of the public turned out in the following “stations of vigil” to pay their respects to the fallen as the cortege made its way on the 47 mile route from the point of arrival at RAF Lyneham to the John Radcliffe Hospital at Oxford. 

Wootton Bassett - Town Centre

This report from Duncan Wostenholm, RMA:

Despite the rain, a large number turned out to witness the repatriation. Among friends and families were contingents of uniformed personnel from both the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Irish Regiment.

Colonel Williams, ex-CO of 3 Para was joined by Councillor Mary Champion, Mayor of Wootton Bassett. Among the veterans wearing berets with a wide selection of regimental and service cap badges were 5 RMA, a French Foreign Legionnaire and 27 riders from the RBL motorcycle branch.

33 standards were paraded:

Royal British Legion - Swindon, Hungerford, Bretforton, Abertillery, Merthyr Tydfil, Devizes, Dursley & Cam, Newcastle under Lyne, Market Drayton, Market Drayton Ladies and Shrewsbury.

Association standards included the Royal Regiment of Wales, The Rifles, Royal Observer Corps, RNA Pershore, RNA Market Drayton, Aden Veterans, Royal Irish Regiment - North Yorkshire, Midlands and Warminster branches and their national standard; Welsh Guards Reunion, RAFA Market Drayton, Parachute Regiment - Andover, West Berkshire, London District, Chelmsford, North Staffordshire, Glamorgan and 101 Airborne branches; RAMC North Midlands and the Canal Zone Veterans.

Gable Cross Police Station - On the A420 just east of the junction with the A419 

 This report from Pat Bristow, RMA:

There were 15 veterans on parade, along with the standards of the Royal Signals Association, Swindon, the Royal Engineers, Swindon and the RAF Lyneham Old Boys. We were joined by 35 members of the public and 120 police officers from the adjacent HQ.

The salute to the cortege was ordered by Chief Inspector Paul Howlett.

At the Road Bridge - B4000 over the A420 between Shrivenham and Highworth (1550 pm)

Report by Derrick Jeans, RAFA:

District Councillor Elaine Ware and six members of the public, joined by a passing motorist, stood in the pouring rain to pay their respects to the cortege, which passed slowly by.

United Kingdom Defence Academy - at the Watchfield Roundabout on the A420, adjacent to the UKDA. (1555 pm)

Report by Patrick Hopper RMA:

Nine RM veterans and their colleagues from the RA, Royal Berkshires and the Korean War stood to pay their respects, accompanied by the standards of RMA Poole & District and Guildford.

There were also about 10 civilian academy staff and members of the public. Uniformed officers from the Defence Academy included Lt Col Ed Sandry, Majors Rob Musetti, Frank Largan, Alistair Rogers, Bob Mackay and Mark Swann, all of The Parachute Regiment, Major Simon Holden, The Royal Irish Regiment, Lt Col Austen Pearce, Intelligence Corps, Lt Col Hamish Robson, REME, Major Simon Nicholson, Royal Artillery, Wing Commander Craig Mason, RAF and from “Down Under”, Lt Col Warren Gould of the Australian Army. We remember that Australia contributes troops in Afghanistan, including one of their soldiers who very recently was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The salute to the cortege was led by Lt Col Sandry, Para and Major Holden RIR and ordered by the Academy RSM, WO1 Mark Hannington, Mercian Regiment. Folly Hill Lay-by - east of Faringdon on the A420, just north of the A417 junction Report by Joy Blake More than 60 people attended the Folly Hill lay-by for the repatriation cortege, carrying the two soldiers brought back home earlier in the day.

Although a wet and windy afternoon, many people came to pay their respects as the cortege passed on the A420 at 4 pm. Sadly, I was not there owing to my attending a funeral of a local businessman, who together with his wife have always supported and attended our repatriation meetings. I felt torn not to attend the repatriation, but felt it my duty also to respect someone who had always shown us support until his illness at the back end of last year.

Among the townspeople and veterans wearing their berets and medals were members of the local branch and surrounding branches of the Royal British Legion, together with members of the local town council. Standards paraded were: the Union flag, RBL Faringdon, Bampton, Highworth, Shrivenham and Wantage; RAFA Brize Norton and Carterton and the Wantage Royal Naval Association.

John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford - near St Anthony Padua Parish Church, Headley Way.

This report from John Walker, RDGA:

We here at the Final Turn stood true and strong to honour these two soldiers.

There were eight Royal British Legion standards: Bicester, Marston, Chalgrove, Islip, Headington, Wheatley, Kidlington and Kidlington Womens Section. Association standards included The Parachute Regiment - Oxford, The Coldstream Guards, Guards Division - Newbury, Royal Navy & Royal Marines - Oxford, Canal Zone Veterans - Oxon and the banner of The Royal Dragoon Guards.

The Lord Mayor of Oxford, John Goddard was there to join us, as were two crews of the St John’s Ambulance, a crew of the Oxford Fire & Rescue Service with their tender and huge Union flag. The Thames Valley police performed their normal duties as well as standing alongside us, under the command of Chief Inspector C. Agger.

There was a huge crowd of the Oxford public (200+) at the Final Turn in addition to many more on the hill leading up to us at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Many more hundreds were all along the ring road leading to the foot of the hill.

A guard of honour was formed by veterans from The Parachute Regiment, along with Colonel (Retd) Chris Keeble DSO of The Parachute Regiment, to honour WO2 Colin Beckett, 3 Para. Many Ulster flags were on parade to honour Ranger David Dalzell, RIR. The church was represented by John who had put the flag at half mast for us early that morning.

The parade marshal was G. Whelan (Para), the 2i/c was J. Lewendon (RA) and the wreath marshal was R. Parker (R. Signals). The weather was wet and cold. However, just as the cortege was coming up the hill the sun came out and shone on those two brave men. The cortege passed us by at 1615 hrs.


Compiled by PH (Duty Scribe) On behalf of the Royal Marines Association

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