Royal Wootton Bassett

As today is Armistice Day in the UK, and the whole weekend is Remembrance Weekend, I thought I would share this poem I wrote a couple of years ago. It’s about a small town in Wiltshire, England, which became home to all repatriations for fallen service men and women in 2007. The way the whole town responded to every, single homecoming, with people lining the main high street in their hundreds, became famous across the country. The last repatriation was in August, 2011, and in those few, short years, the town saw the coffins of 345 service men and women return to British soil.

The town was always careful to not become involved in the politics of war. It was purely about paying respect to these brave people, who died in the name of our country. By the time the last body arrived, 2,000 people lined the streets to show their support.

I was inspired by this because Royal Wootton Bassett (which only had the Royal added to its name after the last repatriation) is a town I know very well.


Royal Wootton Bassett

I am swimming in this vast
sea of mourners,
whose collective, salty sadness
rides the air like the scent of
A lone bugler plays
the notes of sorrow,
and the home coming
The man in top hat, with his
cartoon-slow strides,
leads the parade of
death cars,
wooden boxes,
lovingly draped in
Jack’s resplendent pall of
red, white and blue
Today there are six families at the
heart of the grief, and
this whole town has come to a
the only sound a gentle
murmur of applause,
spreading like a Mexican Wave,
ripples of support
and appreciation,
scatterings of flowers
and tears
for our sons, brothers, fathers,
daughters, sisters, mothers
who gave their lives
that we may be safe




Author: chocotales

I am a writer who is passionate about words. I find them magical and seductive. I write short stories, poetry, and non fiction. I'm currently working on my first novel.

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