Saturday, May 14, 2011 | kieran doherty | British Repatriations | United Kingdom | kieran doherty | British Repatriations | United Kingdom

Repatriations of British soldiers have taken place through the small Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett since 2007. In those days the coffins passed unnoticed on their way from RAF Lyneham to the special armed forces department of pathology at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. The high street through Wootton Bassett is part of the only route from the airbase to the M4 motorway.

As time moved on, members of the Royal British Legion found out when the soldiers were being repatriated and began to salute each one. Now every repatriation is attended by friends, relatives and family members and hundreds of others who turn up to pay their respects. It is not an organised event, it just happens.

Wootton Bassett is now the first town in 100 years to have been granted a Royal patronage by Queen Elizabeth in recognition of its efforts to honour the UK’s war dead.

In a matter of months these repatriations through Wootton Bassett will come to an end as RAF Lyneham closes.

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