Thursday 17th February, 2011

From operations in Afghanistan, the repatriation of:

Private Lewis Hendry (20), 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment

Private Conrad Lewis (22), 4th Battalion (TA), The Parachute Regiment

Both these soldiers died from gunshot wounds in a firefight with insurgents in a small village north of Nahr-e-Bughra canal, Helmand Province, on 9th February, 2011.

Private Robert Wood (28), 17 Port & Maritime Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps

Private Dean Hutchinson (23), 9 Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps

Both the above soldiers died in a fire in Camp Bastion, on 14th February, 2011. There was no enemy activity connected with this incident.

Lance Corporal Kyle Cleet Marshall, (23), 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment

LCpl Marshall died from wounds received from the explosion of an IED, while extracting from a compound south of Nahr-e-Saraj, Helmand Province, following an engagement with insurgents, on 14th 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 (1815)

This report from Duncan Wostenholm, RMA

Despite the delay caused by technical problems, people formed five deep on both sides of the High Street for about 200 metres. There were many military personnel, representing both the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Logistic Corps.

Along with the family and friends of the five fallen soldiers were Mr James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire, Cllr Mary Champion, Mayor of Wootton Bassett and Colonel Simon Hutchings, CO, 17 Port Maritime Regiment RLC and Commander, Theatre Logistics Group.

Among the veterans wearing medals and berets were 5 RMA, accompanied by 42 riders from the RBL Motorcycle Branch and four members of the Evesham Sea Cadets.

26 standards were paraded: Royal British Legion Abertillery, Bretforton, Leyton, Lambourne, Wrington, Swindon, Stratton St Margaret, Devizes, Durslay & Cam and Hungerford. Association standards included: Aden Veterans, The Rifles, Royal Observer Corps, RAFA Corsham, RAF Police - Wiltshire, Royal Regiment of Wales, Royal Irish Rangers, Welsh Guards and the Parachute Regiment Association branches of 101st Airborne, West Berkshire, Swindon, Nottingham, Chelmsford, London, North Staffordshire and Glamorgan.

Gable Cross Police Station - On the A420 just east of the junction with the A419 (1848)

This report from Pat Bristow, RMA

Three standards were paraded: Royal Engineers and Royal Signals - Swindon and the RAF Lyneham Old Boys.

There were eight veterans present, along with 20 members of the public. 20 police officers also paraded, under Chief Inspector Mike Jones.

At the Road Bridge - B4000 over the A420 between Shrivenham and Highworth (1854)

This report from Derrick Jeans, RAFA

At the B4000 bridge over the A420, District Councillor Elaine Ware and 13 members of the public stood as the long cortege passed by at walking pace. The oncoming traffic stopped well before the cortege passed. The dark evening and the delay all combined to make it a very moving occasion.

United Kingdom Defence Academy - at the Watchfield Roundabout on the A420, adjacent to the UKDA. (1858)

This report from Jim Hawkins, RMA

There was a very large attendance today, over 80 people. These included 14 veterans from the RM Association, Poole & District and Guildford branches and four of the wives, veterans of the Royal Berkshire Regiment and the Korean War.

Retired officers included Air Commodore Marcus Witherow, RAF Regiment and his wife Mary, Lt Col Chris Finch, Parachute Regiment.

The branch standards of RMA :Poole and Guildford were paraded.

Serving military personnel from the Defence Academy included: Royal Navy: Lieutenants Bowen and Hughes, WO1 McLoughlin, WO1 Buckmaster, Petty Officer Ruth Lee, Lt Col Miles RM, Colour Sergeant Buxton RM, and Lieutenant Andrew Hayler, Unites States Navy. Army: (representing The Parachute Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, The Mercian Regiment, Royal Artillery, The Coldstream Guards, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and The Light Dragoons) Brigadier and Mrs Thompson, Lt Col Ed Sandry, Majors Eaton, Nicholson, Gaukroger, McKay and Dunlop, Captains Tamang, Tayler, Cox, Conway, Pridmore, Parr, Mullis and Taylor, WO2 Dave Rae, Colour Sergeant Taylor, Sergeants O’Brien, Duncan, Hart and Boughton, and Corporal Stamp. Royal Air Force: Wing Commander and Mrs Hayler, Squadron Leader Colin Laker (ex- 4 Para) and Flight Sergeant Hilary Wilson.

Additionally there were about 20 civilian staff from the Academy and members of the public in attendance. The salute to the cortege was led by Major Eaton (Para) and ordered by WO1 John Houghton, RAF Regiment. This was the last time we shall see WO1 John Houghton, as he is being discharged to pension from the RAF.

After the ceremony, we bade him farewell at the nearby College Farm pub, to the song of “Zulu Warrior”. We will miss him and wish him the very best in his retirement, and thank him for his strong support at these repatriations.

Folly Hill Lay-by - east of Faringdon on the A420, just north of the A417 junction

This report from Joy Blake

Due to the darkness on the A420 at Folly Hill lay-by, it was impossible to do a firm headcount, but from my count, there were over 70 people attending. All we had apart from passing traffic headlights was the colourful and bright shining moon to lighten our darkness. The cortege, bringing back home the five soldiers, eventually passed us at 7.15 pm, the coffins covered by Union flags and although illuminated by lights within each hearse, brought much sadness to the dark evening.

Many townspeople attended, as well as the Faringdon Town Mayor, Mrs Margaret Barker and her escort. The usual veterans, wearing their berets and medals, together with a representative from Wantage Neighbourhood Action Group, Mrs Wendy Simpson, members of the Faringdon Fire & Rescue Service with their tender and the community police were all in attendance.

The following standards were presented, and for the first time we were privileged to have the Palestine Police Association standard (kindly loaned by Mr L. Baffin of Farringdon): Union flag, Royal British Legion Farringdon & District, Brampton, Shrivenham, Oxfordshire Women’s Section, the Palestine Police Association, RAFA Braze Norton and Carterton and the Royal Navy Veterans, Wantage.

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

This report from John Walker RDG

We here at the Final Turn stood firm and true to honor the five soldiers. Their courage and sacrifice will not be forgotten.

There were seven Royal British Legion standards: Hargrove, Bisector, Bodycote, Marston, Islip, Killington and the Killington Women’s Section. Association standards included The Parachute Regiment - Oxford, The Royal Tank Regiment - Oxon, The Cold stream Guards, The Guards Division - Newbury, Royal Air Force, The Royal Artillery, The Royal Navy, St George Society, the Royal Air Force Police and the banner of The Royal Dragoon Guards.

There was a huge turnout from the Oxford public - 300+ at the Final Turn and hundreds more from the ring road into Oxford and up the hill to us at the Final Turn. There were many Union flags, all along the route and many with us. The Lord Mayor of Oxford, John Goddard was with us, as was a Fire & Rescue crew from Oxford, with their tender and as always a huge Union flag.

There were 60 veterans with their berets and medals and 40 others from all three services. The Thames Valley Police were there, doing their normal duties, as well as parading alongside us, under Inspector Ali Guns ton.

A Guard of Honor was formed by veterans of the Parachute Regimental Association - Oxford Branch. It was nice to see Col (Red) Chris Keeble DSO (also a member of the Oxford Parachute Regimental Association) with us again, and also this time Steve Hughes, former 2 Para RMO (Falklands), supporting the local Para Association branch.

The church was represented by John, who once again put up the Union flag at half mast. Owing to the timings changing a few times, a few of us were there very early, to keep in touch with those who are not, and to supply them with hot drinks, etc. Owing to the large crowds, the home made cakes that Diana brings went very fast. The tea and coffee were very welcome. It did become quite cold and it was beginning to tell on some of the older vets. But they stood their ground as they always do. I thank once again Ian (ex-Ox & Bucks LI), who helps me put these lists together; also parade marshal G. Whelan (ex-PARA), 2i/c J. Lewendon (ex-RA) and wreath marshal R. Parker (ex-R. Sigs). The cortege passed us by at 2005 hrs.


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