Wootton Bassett Honoured with Royal Title

For four years the people of Wootton Bassett honoured British servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, never failing to pay their respects to the repatriated dead, conveyed in hearses along their high street with painful regularity. Now, they in turn have been honoured, with the bestowal of the royal prefix to the name of their town…

Royal Wootton Bassett – known simply as “Bassett” to locals – witnessed the return of the bodies of 355 servicemen and women between April 2007 and August of this year. The town’s prominence was a chance of geography, lying as it did on the route from RAF Lyneham, the airbase used for repatriations, to Oxford, where bodies are taken for post mortem.

The Princess was watched on by David Cameron and Philip Hammond, the new Defence Secretary, making his first public appearance in the role following the resignation of Liam Fox. Gen Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff and professional head of the Army, also attended…

Royal status is a privilege, yet it is received with sadness, mindful of the high price paid by our Armed Forces,” said Paul Heaphy, the town’s mayor. “This is not a day for celebration but one for commemoration, one of recognition, and one to mark the beginning of a new chapter for our town. We did not ask for recognition and we find the attention rather humbling.”

See more here.

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