Jodie Henderson, Year 10 student and keen photographer, spent the week of 11 – 16 July with Swindon Link and has been covering stories with freelance Swindon professional photographer Richard Wintle of Calyx.tv. On Tuesday 12 July they attended the repatriation of Highlander Scott McLaren of the 4th Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, who was killed in Afghanistan on 4 July. Here Jodie expresses the intense atmosphere and quite dignity of the occasion.
People lined up by the roadside,
As the church bell rang out loud,
The lone chimes for the soldier
Remembered by the crowd.
The cortage drove by with honour,
Flags and heads bowed in unity,
Respect for his ultimate sacrifice,
Was present all around me.
The grief of the people,
The emotion of the day,
I couldn’t continue taking photographs,
Couldn’t capture the pain this way.
The silence was overwhelming,
I didn’t want to cry,
But I found it so unbearable,
Witnessing a family’s goodbyes.
A stranger passed me a tissue,
She noticed my upset,
That day at Wootton Bassett,
I will never forget.
Above, Members of the regiment await the repatriation of their fallen colleague. Below, Scott McLaren’s parents, James and Ann witness the repatriation of their son in Wootton Bassett High Street. Images: Jodie Henderson
14 July, from Ruth Henderson
I am Ann McLaren’s cousin, and I live in New Zealand, so far away from family at this tragic time. I just wanted to say thanks to Jodie for the beautiful poem that she has written. I have just read it on-line, and I was moved to tears by it. It is just so wonderful and comforting to know that there is so much love, support and respect at such an awful time. It means so much to me in New Zealand and to the rest of the family, and we just hope that his death has not been in vain, and that it is a catalyst for change.
The people of Wootten Bassett and the Wiltshire area have been so amazing in supporting families of repatriated servicemen – you are all unsung heroes