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.

Three Demo’s and a Bike Ride A Grand Day Out for a Photojournalist in London

It was a busy afternoon in London on Sunday.

Whitehall was a very busy place. Firstly I covered the service and laying of wreaths at the war memorial by riders from the Help For Heroes Charity bike ride from Paris to London.

Then I covered the protest by UK based Turkish and Kurdish protestors who were there to show solidarity with all the protesters out in Turkey who are protesting against the ruling AKP party.

Then I covered a protest by some UK based Venezuelans who were protesting against alleged rigged elections by the ruling government party.

Then I covered a Free Palestine protest mainly by Orthodox Jews and members of the Neturei Karda who were also protesting against Zionism and the mass rally that was taking place in Trafalgar Square to celebrate 65 years of the State of Israel.

It was a hot, busy and tiring but really good day for a photojournalist.

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.