This morning I spent an hour or so wandering around a very misty Clifton Street Cemetery in Swindon. It was lovely and not spooky at all, as much as I wanted it to be!!!! and unfortunately didn’t see any strange happenings. This cemetery is fascinating as it has lots of old G.W.R. workers graves as well as Commonwealth War Graves. I have only been round a small part of it so far and intend to spend a lot more time there looking around and photographing the graves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today I met two of the coolist guys on the planet, well apart from me of course. Let me explain.
I was invited to the Lockheed Martin unveiling/briefing of the new F-16 and F-35 fighter jets. The F-35 has never flown in the UK yet and will do so for the first time at Fairford RIAT this weekend. I got to fly the simulators for both aircraft and was surprised just how easy it was, well compared to flying Chipmunks which is what I did 30 years ago!! It is all computerized now and it was a real pleasure and fun to fly them, especially the F-35. I even got to fly it in the VTOL mode which was pretty cool. But the best bit was meeting the test pilots. They were so interesting to talk and listen to. These guys had thousands of hours flying experience each and were just so cool. A F-35 cost $42M and they talk about flying them as you and I drive our car. They were really enthusiastic and clearly loved their job, well who wouldnt???
After today I am really looking forward to attending RIAT on Friday, great stuff.
I was lucky enough to photograph and meet the cast of Birdsong (as show based on the book by Sebastian Faulks) which included Peter Duncan, Jonny Clarke and George Banks. They were in costume, uniforms from the First World War which was quite strange when we were taking photos at the Cenotaph in the Swindon Town Centre. The cast also met Tom Stimpson MBE the representative and ambassador for Help for Heroes charity. Firstly I had a really good chat with Peter Duncan. The last time I spoke to him was at around mile 20 of the first London Marathon which we both ran. I also had a really good chat with Tom Stimpson MBE. Tom is ex RAF as am I but Tom was unfortunately injured in Afghanistan and has suffered from PTSD and now campaigns on behalf of Help for Heroes and other mental disability charities.
All in all a very interesting couple of hours.
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.
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.
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.