The Face of Remembrance Day in Swindon 2015

Today was Remembrance Day in Swindon. I was there as usual and true to (my) form I have recorded some of the faces of Remembrance in Swindon. They are all locals and that includes Robert Buckland Conservative MP for Swindon South and Solicitor General for England and Wales. Along with Justin Tomlinson, Conservative MP for Swindon North and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People.

I had a number of interesting discussions some of which centred around the fact that quite a few of the RBL standard bearers are getting older and wont be able to carry them for much longer there are not many younger people joining and willing to carry the standard at all of these type of events. Despite there being a very large contingent of Army, Army Reservists, Cadets from all three branches of the services not many of them are joining the RBL.

After saying that I am sure this event will continue for many years to come.

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VJ Day Service at the Cenotaph in Swindon Town Centre

Saturday 15th there was a small service held at the Cenotaph in Swindon Town Centre to commemorate VJ Day or the ending of the war in Asia 70 years ago.

Swindon Remembers

The weather was perfect this morning for the 2014 Remembrance Service held in Swindon Town Centre at the Cenotaph. There was probably 2000 people attending. Amongst those were Robert Buckland MP South Swindon and Solicitor General, Justin Tomlinson MP Swindon North, Councillor Teresa Page Mayor of Swindon and David Renard leader of Swindon Council.

Friday at Fairford my day at RIAT

Well, Friday was spent at the first day of Fairford RIAT 2014. Despite it being a cloudy day I still managed to get sunburnt and the clouds were high enough to not affect any of the flying displays. It was a nice day but exhausting and was pretty tired by the end of the day. The Red Arrows of course were the star attraction of the day as the F-35 was cancelled due to engine problems back in the USA. I managed to take 600 images so this is a very very very small selection of the day.

And as I understand it the good people of Swindon got a really good view of the Red Arrows as they flew over a couple of times, nice.

Simon Weston and Mike Penning at Swindon Disability Conference

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Simon Weston Falklands War Veteran and disability campaigner. Along with Mike Penning Minister of State for Disabled People at the Swindon SEQOL Disability Confident Conference held at the Steam Museum. Both really nice guys to talk to, in fact everybody there was a pleasure to work with and talk to.

The Face of Remembrance in Swindon

Nothing to say on this really other than that the Remembrance Parade, Service, Ceremony here in Swindon is still as strong as ever after a large turn out of both those who took part in the parade and the public who came to support. The weather was perfect, a bright sunny November day.

Royal Wootton Bassett Field of Remembrance Opening Ceremony

Crowds gathered in the pouring rain to remember the brave servicemen and women who fought and died in the Afghanistan conflict at a service at The Royal British Legion’s Field of Remembrance at Royal Wootton Bassett today.

Some 46,000 crosses have been planted within the walled garden in Lydiard Park in Remembrance to the 446 Service people that have been killed since the start of the conflict in 2001. A number of civic dignitaries, guests, members of the Armed Forces and school children planted crosses during the service.

For me the most poignant of all was young Emma Hickman and her baby daughter. Emma was the fiancee of Private Daniel Wade who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

In Swindon a lone Veteran stands in silence to mark the funeral of Lee Rigby

a veteran lee rigby funeral

a veteran lee rigby funeral

An Army Veteran stands alone at the Swindon War Memorial at 11:00 to mark the minutes silence for the funeral of Drummer Lee Rigby which was taking place in Bury, Greater Manchester. As I am sure you all know Drummer Rigby was killed in a very inhumane way in Woolwich, London in May.

There were a couple of others there to pay their respects but they stood well back from the memorial. I saw no other evidence in Swindon of anybody else observing a minutes silence.

Repatriation at Brize Norton of Two Scottish Soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Yesterday I attended the Repatriation of Cpl William Savage and Fusilier Samuel Flint of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland at Brize Norton. The soldiers were two of the three who were killed by a road side bomb in Afghanistan on the 30th April.

Despite absolutely awful weather of driving rain and 50mph winds hundreds turned out to send them on their way.

Particularly sad was watching the 27 year old wife of Cpl William Savage who is expecting their son shortly.

What was also interesting for me was I hooked up with the other photographers there from Getty, Reuters, AFP etc and had some very interesting discussions about the state of the industry!!!

Back to the repatriation though, I believe that even if you dont support what is happening in Afghanistan etc if the opportunity arrises you should try to go to at least one repatriation service. It is an experience. For me despite going to pretty much all of them and having published a successful book of images and poems about them in Wootton Bassett I still really feel for the families of those that have fallen.

Ben Nealon of Soldier Soldier Meets Swindon Soldiers

Yesterday I had a lovely time photographing the actor Ben Nealon OBE at the Wyvern Theatre who was meeting a couple of local TA Soldiers from A Squadron Royal Yeomanry. Why, well Ben was a star of the hit TV series Soldier Soldier and was here to meet the press in advance of his performances in ‘Go Back To Murder’ at the Wyvern Theatre. (See the Press Release below). Ben received his OBE last year for his charity work with Pump Aid which he started over 10 years ago. And he is a really nice guy as well. A pleasure to work with.

STAR OF SOLDIER, SOLDIER MEETS LOCAL HEROES

The Agatha Christie Company will bring Go Back To Murder to the Wyvern’s stage from Monday 8 to Saturday 13 April. Ahead of performances in Swindon, Ben made a visit to the theatre on Wednesday 13 March to meet with ‘A Squadron’, one of five Royal Yeomanry Squadrons.

Ben Nealon, who is fondly remembered for his role as Captain Jeremy Forsyth in the long running ITV drama Soldier, Soldier, leads a heavyweight cast including prolific stage and TV actress Liza Goddard; child actress and grown-up screen-star and cover model Sophie Ward; Robert Duncan, fondly remembered for his role as jargon spouting chief executive Gus Hedges in Channel 4’s Drop The Dead Donkey; Gary Mavers, ITV’s Peak Practices’ smouldering medic Andrew Attwood; and Lysette Anthony who has been described as the ‘face of the eighties’ by super photographer David Bailey;

“Soldier, Soldier was on TV when I was growing up as an army cadet and my brother and I used to tune in every week to see what the King’s Fusiliers were up to,” said Captain Matt Fincham, Unit Press Officer/Spokesman, Royal Yeomanry. “It’s fair to say it inspired me to join the army as a regular, which in turn led me to the TA when I left.”

“Swindon’s ‘A Squadron’ is one of five Royal Yeomanry Squadrons which, equipped with RWMIK Landrovers, fulfil a ‘Light Cavalry’ role, providing reconnaissance to tell the rest of the army what the enemy are doing. The Yeomanry and the TA as a whole is increasingly used to support the regular army on operations worldwide.”

In addition to meeting with ‘A Squadron’, the Soldier, Soldier star will invite audiences in Swindon to donate to Help for Heroes after each performance of Agatha Christie’s Go Back For Murder. The charity delivers an enduring national network of support for our wounded and their families. They aim to inspire and enable those who have made sacrifices on our behalf to achieve their full potential.

“I am delighted that the Wyvern will be supporting Help For Heroes,” says Theatre Director Derek Aldridge. “Wiltshire is a county with a very close relationship with our forces and I know our audiences will be keen to support them.”

Go Back For Murder is a classic ‘Whodunit’ packed with intrigue, murder and suspense and one of over a dozen plays from the pen of the great Dame Agatha Christie. Go Back For Murder was adapted by Christie in 1960 from her novel Five Little Pigs, editing out the legendary detective Poirot for the stage version. Christie has sold over 2 billion books and is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.

Suspects, secrets, and suspense abounds in this new production of Go Back for Murder at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, from Monday 8 to Saturday 13 April. Book tickets today at wyverntheatre.org.uk or by calling the Ticket Office on 01793 524 481.