Poems written and read by serving soldiers who have experienced battle in Afghanistan, and those who bear witness to the aftermath of war, were read to an invited audience before the Princess Royal presented the Letters Patent to Royal Wootton Bassett on Sunday 16 October.
The poems have been brought together in a book entitled Enduring Freedom: an Afghan Anthology, published by Fire Step Publishing in support of Combat Stress.
Lone Chime, written by Nova Hreod pupil Jodie Henderson, 15, from Haydon Wick, and published in the August Link magazine, has been included. She expressed her thoughts when on work placement with the magazine after she attended the repatriation of Highlander Scott McLaren on 15 July with photographer Richard Wintle of Calyx multimedia.
See Jodie reading her poem on YouTube.
Former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion has written the foreword for the collection which is available in bookshops and from online retailers. Or contact Tommies Guides on 0845 475 1945.
Jodie, above, with Ryan Gearing, publisher of Enduring Freedom: an Afghan Anthology, and Maurice Barker, chair of Royal Wootton Bassett Royal British Legion
25 July 2012
Jodie Henderson, a keen photographer and Year 10 student at Nova Hreod School, spent the week of 11 to 16 July with Swindon Link, covering stories with freelance Swindon professional photographer Richard Wintle of Calyx
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. Jodie expressed the intense atmosphere and quiet dignity of the occasion.
The McLaren family were so touched by Jodie’s words that they incorporated them into Scott’s funeral service in Edinburgh on Tuesday 26 July.
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.