A final salute

SIR - I would like to thank the members of Sidmouth Branch of the Royal British Legion and also the residents of our Sid Valley for their continuing support, in particular at the Armed Forces Day in June.

It was decided that the Forces Day was to be held at the Three Corner Plot as the last Remembrance Service Day was held there in 1920, this year being the 90th Anniversary of the Royal British Legion.

As mentioned in last week’s Herald, your Standard of the Sidmouth Branch was present at the repatriation of another of our servicemen, Lt Daniel John Clack, who was a Platoon Commander with 1st Battalion the Rifles. Five members of his patrol were also injured.

Also your Standard was in attendance at the repatriation of Cpl Mark Palin, also from the 1st Rifles, at Wotton Bassett and his service at Plymouth. Your Standard has also been carried for several other services all over Devon.

RAF Lyneham is closing on August 31 and the repatriations will be moved to RAF Brize Norton and then through the village of Brize Norton.

On the evening of Wednesday, August 31, between 1800 hrs and 2100 hrs. the Union Flag will be lowered at Wotton Bassett for the last time at the going down of the sun ceremony.

The Union Flag will be transported to Brize Norton on the morning of September 1 2011. The Union Flag will be handed over to the Chairman of Brize Norton Parish Council by the Mayor of Wotton Bassett at a Memorial Garden at Norton Way, Carterton, OX18 3AU.

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The Union Flag will be presented to the Oxfordshire Royal British Legion at approx 1100 hrs. The Union Flag will be raised by the Royal British Legion.

If a repatriation is to take place on this day, the Union Flag will be lowered to half mast.

During the last years of repatriation, the most prominent point of meeting was the Cross Keys Public House for their hospitality in supplying refreshments free of charge to military families of service and others attending.

For their support, the landlady and staff have been awarded the Armed Forces Pub of the Century.

I salute the residents of Wotton Bassett and all the people who came to the repatriation of our heroes.

Unfortunately, the change of repatriation will not stop this futile waste.

Dave O’Connor

Chairman Sidmouth Royal British Legion