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Out of sight, of hearing, and of MIND!

By Mike Cunningham On August 29th, 2011

This week saw the last of a melancholy series of memorials; the last salute, by the future Royal Wootton Bassett to those who have paid the price of delusion, of sanctimony, of cost-cutting orders from fools who have never smelt blood; of a set of hurried statements, of a total lack of appreciation of the history of nearly two hundred years of Muslim and British-Afghani history. The townsfolk of Wootton Bassett, itself a small market town in Wiltshire, began the very British salutes to the Fallen of this nation when Brize Norton base closed for renovations.


It happened almost by accident, as the Royal British Legion was holding its monthly meeting when the first cortege passed through on its melancholy journey. The mayor, along with the Royal British Legion members, decided that they would salute the remains at the town’s war memorial, and the tradition began. There was no fuss, a minimum of organisation, very little official involvement, mainly because the townsfolk did not want outsiders telling them how to salute the men and women who had died for Britain, and it is fortunately a fact that no senior politicians came to ‘support’ this sad series of salutes to the Servicemen who gave their lives in pursuit of some strange ideal of a strangled political mind.


The corteges slowly wend their way along the roads of this small town, and the salutes begin and end at the memorial mentioned before, and it is a deep and dark sign that the politicians hated this ‘ordinary people’s salute’ so much that when RAF Brize Norton was being enabled to receive the melancholy transports once more, the first thing to be announced was the end of those famous ‘slow convoys’ past the people who are the very backbone of Britain.


True, there is to be a ‘chapel of rest’ at Brize Norton, and a time set aside for ‘family mourners’, but the corteges will now go out of a disused side-gate, along narrow lanes, past a primary school and roadside chicanes and speed humps, so that the coffins of a failed, dismal and derisory war might sneak away from the flags, the flowers; but most importantly the cameras!




10 Responses to “Out of sight, of hearing, and of MIND!”

  1. What a difficult topic to write about.

    One is naturally inclined to mourn those who have died in defence of their country, – and rightly so. Far too many of our younger generations have made the ultimate sacrifice for very valid and worthwhile reasons, and should always be shown the respect they deserve.

    However I do begin to have an ember of anger glowing within when the reasons for the sacrifice are no longer the defence of the nation, but have more to do with the poltical agendas of our political, and supposedly freely elected ‘leaders’.

    Rather than die in defence of nation and country, – surely the most noble of motives, it seems that far too many are now dying in defence of political ideals that have little to do with any real or supposed defence of the home country, but has more to do with the defence of what to many people, is an amoral government, whose global ambition seems to matter more than any national responsibility.

    I wonder how much longer those who volunteer to serve Queen and Country can contine to be persauded that the cause they signed on for, is not the cause they will actually be putting their lives on the line for.

    That most of the conflicts of the past sixty years have been as a part of NATO, – and that so many of the members of that group have reneged on their obligations to ‘share the load’ of defence, is a case in point. I wont name member countries, – and they are a majority, – who have reaped the benefits of being defended, with little or no cost to themselves, or more importantly in the context of this comment, with no sacrifice of their younger generations.

  2. My dear Ernest Young,

    With all due respect you are entitled to your opinion.


    After all your opinion is injecting politics into the honourable deeds of individuals who answer the call no matter how they feel about Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. I have no qualms about naming the countries.

    NATO was, and still carries the banner of a unilateral force formed after the Americans hauled Europe’s charred chestnuts out of Hitler’s & Tojo’s fire.

    Those who have gone before and those who choose to face their responsibility toward their country now deserve the respect of all the citizens of the country; sans political motivated moral posturing.

  3. Yep..
    Who was it said “there is no honour among politicians”?
    ..unless there’s something in it for them!

    I wonder who has been pulling strings behind the scenes to get this changed? My guess is that some consultative/special interest bodies have been hard at work persuading our gutless politicians that public expressions of respect and mourning for fallen soldiers “is not in the best interests of multicultural harmony”.
    Our soldiers bare only good enough to die or be maimed -not to be honoured.

  4. Ernest , you have so eloquently put into your words , my thoughts , in a way I could never do . What you say is so clearly true that Eddie’s comments leaves a taste of bile in my throat ; his latter comment re: Europes chestnuts indicates that he has watched too many John Wayne films .
    The Wootton Bassett salutes are even more significant when a friend of yours comes home that way .
    Cpl.Liam Elms R.M. May your soul rest in peace .

  5. Whatever and whoever these servicemen laid down their lives for they did so willingly and bravely. The Wootton Bassett homecoming parade was a real tribute paid to them by ordinary people. Nothing had been officially organised, but it grew and grew and each and every cortege brought a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye and was a true representation of the feelings of the people of Britain and a real understanding of the tragedy and waste of life and a true desire to honour the fallen.

    There is something shameful in the decision to bring this to an end, almost as if the mourning must be kept away from the eyes of the public. The question we should ask is why?

  6. Marlloy,

    That is indeed the impression that I have got, that the fallen must now return to their homeland via the back door and be driven in secret through minor country roads, avoiding any town or village of note until they reach the mortuary in an Oxford hospital. It is indeed a shameful thing to do and the question must be asked not only why? but also who made this decision? If we had left this task to the ordinary people of this land I am sure they would have brought dignity to this final journey.

  7. Eddie, First of all, learn to read, and when you accomplish that, then learn to understand and inwardly digest what you have just read.

    In no way was I injecting politics into the deeds of our military, but I was questioning the exploitation of the bravery, good intentions and beliefs of the military by those who have no such qualms re using the military for their own ends.

    I take nothing away from our military, they deserve nothing less than our unstinting respect and praise, and all honour due to them.

    I remind you, – the military owe allegiance to our monarch and our nation, – not to the political clique who seems to regard them as their persoanl strong arm force to be deployed at their latest whim…

    NATO was formed as a first line of defence against communism, and in that role have saved many a Yanks ‘chestnuts’, especially in Korea, where I had first hand experience of the fickle nature of ‘American bravery’. So cease the posturing on any efforst in WWII, I am sure we have repaid that debt many times over…

  8. Agit8ed, Marloy, Peter T and Doc,

    I did open my comment by admitting the difficulty of writing on this subject, – it seems I managed to give a wrong impression as to my intentions. Apologies for any offence caused!

    I was going to carry on and question the ability of our politicians, from all sides! – to sleep soundly at night.

    The only reason to divert homecoming parades away from the public, and thus media attention, can only be their desire to hide, and thus prevent embarrassment, from the sacrifices made by our military in pursuit of their pointless political charades.

    The very absence of politicians at these parades surely gives us some clue as to how little respect they have for our heroes…

  9. Understood and agreed the first time Ernest. 🙂
    BTW, should read “are” in my comment, not “bare”.

  10. Ernest, Ditto Agit8ed’s sentiments. Your second post makes it even more clear.