A town honours fallen heroes
“MY beautiful boy”.
Three simple words that summed up a mother’s loss.
And that was the sentiment of Longwood woman Margaret Charlesworth, whose white T-shirt showed her 20-year-old son Private Anton Frampton – one of six soldiers killed in a huge Taliban bomb earlier this month in Afghanistan.
It also bore the label “Hero”. No-one in Carterton, a small Oxfordshire town, would disagree.
Some 2,000 people gathered in the sunshine yesterday to pay their respects to the fallen Yorkshire Regiment soldiers as they returned to British soil.
Pte Frampton’s relatives were joined by the families of the five other men killed in the massive roadside blast on March 6; Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, of New Mill; Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, of Cowlersley; Pte Chris Kershaw, 19, of Bradford; Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, of Lytham St Annes; and Pte Daniel Wade, 20, of Warrington.
The aircraft carrying the remains of the six men landed at RAF Brize Norton at 1.30pm yesterday, where close relatives had gathered for a private ceremony.
A few miles away in Norton Way, on the outskirts of Carterton, people began gathering for the largest repatriation the town had ever seen.
Serving soldiers, Royal British Legion members and schoolchildren lined the street opposite the Memorial Garden.
Across the road, families and friends of the six men gathered, each standing next to a bouquet bearing the name of their lost loved one.
The Union flag from Royal Wootton Bassett – which hosted repatriations until September 2011 – flew at half mast as the sun disappeared behind a cloud.
The crowd fell silent at 5.15pm as six cars drew up, bringing close family members from the memorial at Brize Norton.
They were comforted by other relatives as they awaited the coffins of their loved ones.
At 5.39pm the 36 standard bearers from military organisations from across the country raised their banners.