This year has been a hard one for the British military. We have had full frontal assaults on the Taliban all summer and hitting them hard where it hurts, but we pay a price of our own, and that price is paid in blood.
Today I paid my respects to the 97th solider to die in Afghanistan this year, at the 100th repatriation parade in Wooton Basset. To my husband and I, Loren Marlton-Thomas is more than just a statistic, he is a comrade and neighbour, he is one of our own. 33 Royal Engineer Regiment has lost one of our boys. The shock to us all is obvious, there is a new but close community here and there has been a dark air hovering over our camp all week, the grief is far too close to home.
Today at Wooton Basset I was amazed by the support and respect offered by the crowds, the amount of towns’ people, shop keepers, comrades, cadets and veterans who have turned out to pay their respects is quite overwhelming. It has been a long heart-rending day full of reverence and tears but a very moving and proud one, we stand together strong in out support and tall in our pride. Today I have gained a new respect for the job our husbands sign up to do, they save lives at a great personal and physical sacrifice to themselves. Loren and Nikki have paid the ultimate price and I know that I speak for many when I say our thoughts are with them both on this poignant day and through the difficult days that are still to come.
Lest we forget, remembrance day now holds new poignancy for our generation after this past year of grief.