Honouring The Fallen In Wootton Bassett: 10 Years On

Ten years ago, the bodies of two fallen service personnel were repatriated through RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire, while maintenance work was carried out at the usual RAF Brize Norton station in Oxfordshire.

For the small town of Royal Wootton Bassett this was the start of a tradition that led to it being granted the title "Royal".

That first repatriation took place in April 2007, and the Mayor of Wootton, Percy Miles, decided to wear his mayoral robes to watch the cortege pass.

Those first soldiers to be honoured were Aaron Lincoln, 18, and Danny Wilson, 28.

Kieran Doherty photography

The local Royal British Legion began to tell people when a repatriation was to take place.

The crowds lining the streets of the small market town began to grow and many people travelled from all over the UK for the processions.

As the town received increasing media attention, one photographer, Kieran Doherty - a  World Press Photo award winner whose pictures are included in this article - started to chronicle Wootton's tradition from 2009 until the very end.

Kieran Doherty photography

In March 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the town would receive royal status for the commitment shown in honouring fallen soldiers.

Royal Wootton Bassett was the first to receive the title in more than 100 years.

However, the tradition ended in August that year, as flying operations ceased in RAF Lyneham and repatriations returned to Brize Norton. 

Including the 167th and last repatriation, a total of 345 men and women of the British armed forces were repatriated through Royal Wootton Bassett.

Kieran Doherty also covered the Iraq war, the Asian tsunami and the troubles in Northern Ireland.

Photo courtesy of Kieran Doherty.

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