by | May 5, 2015 | Poetry | 0 comments

Just off the M4 motorway, there’s a Wiltshire market town,
It’s name will be historical, and will wear a Royal Crown,
Four years have simply flown, not many weeks pass by,
We’ve not heard of Wootton Bassett, no matter how we try.
This all changed spontaneously, four and half years ago,
When a hearse came along the High Street, passing by so slow,
By chance, three men were talking, stood to attention there,
When they saw the flag draped coffin, lonely and quite bare.
They soon discovered later, a fallen soldier had passed by,
Killed in the line of duty, and far too young to die,
He was brought home to Lyneham, from Afghanistan torn land,
During his repatriation, – “God” held his lonely hand.
At the next repatriation, the number of people grew,
Not surprising really, the respect this little town drew,
The heroes that have died, while serving in Afghanistan
Should be honoured and remembered, any way we can.
The lack of fuss and formality, make all tributes a touching act,
Remembering sacrifice made, with quiet dignity and tact,
People of Wootten turned out, lined pavements row by row,
Each time they paid their respect, continued to grow and grow.
Lyneham is now sadly closed,no more an R.A.F. base,
Many families have stood by runway, the inevitable they had to face,
The sound of the plane draws nearer, slowly comes down to land,
Through tears and grief endured, one senses “God” helping hand.
The flag draped coffin appears, carried by uniformed men,
We’ve seen it all on “telly” and wonder, will this stop, and when!
With quiet dignity and timing, six carry their colleague with pride,
Bringing home a loved one, may the “Lord” with family abide.
Around 2 o’clock from Lyneham, home- coming for our lads began,
Death was the price they paid, while serving in Afghanistan,
We can only hope and pray .thelr lives won’t have been in vain,
When helping the Afghan people, to ease their turmoil and pain.
Too many coffins by far, have passed through Lyneham’s main gate,
Along the A3102 to Wootton, where the usual gathering awaits,
The narrow bridge gives entrance, to this remarkable town,
Where bearers wait in the High Street, to lower their standards down.
Top of the hill is reached, to a sombre silence by all,
The cortege slowly proceeds, led by funeral director so tall,
All comes to a standstill, to the sound of St Bartholomew’s bell,
The familiar echoing heard, that Wootton knows too well.
Ceremony lasts few minutes, but for Wootton it’s half a day,
Everything has to be perfect, planning essential citizens say,
A hero’s homecoming is welcomed, in a simple but moving act,
A touching tribute to the fallen, shown with great dignity and tact.
The Union Flag’s now lowered, the procession passes by,
Behind hearse the road is empty, where few loose flowers lie,
The family are left in peace, and comfort each other in grief,
Precious time to remember, no matter how humble or brief.
People disperse quite quickly, the town gets back to routine,
Sixth formers return to school, while veterans reflect on what’s been,
Remembering lives that are lost, the sacrifice on our behalf they made,
The gratitude we owe to Wootton, it’s memory will never fade.
As a symbol of gratitude to Wootton, “Royal” is added from now on,
To honour the town’s repatriations, and reflect on what has gone,
Last four years will be remembered, end of an era has come,
Pride mixed with sadness, but very personal for some.
August the thirty first, bearers lowered standards for last time,
Ending military repatriations, to the sound of St Bartholomew’s chimes,
Union flag in the High Street, was silently lowered down,
A moving ceremony at sunset, marked end of role for the town.
Two minutes to eight there was silence, years from some were shed,
That the town will no longer be able, to show respect to the dead,
The official flag was folded, and put in the church over night,
Before being taken to Brize Norton, to a flagpole on a new site.
Most people thought of Wootton, as just an ordinary town,
Till three stalwarts showed respect, then History was laid down,
Wootton citizens can be proud, of their quiet humble act,
When grieving families were met, with great dignity and tact.
Broadcast your “Royal” status, to the nation far and wide,
With God’s help you showed compassion, did it all with pride,
Bereaved families will not forget, this wonderful little town,
Their loved ones were all heroes, they too deserved a “Crown”.


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