Carterton Repatriation Bell Unveiled

30 June 2012, 06:00

A bell that'll be rung as the bodies of fallen soldiers are brought home through RAF Brize Norton is being unveiled today.

The 664lb bell from Whitechapel Bell Foundry has been installed in a permanent tower in the memorial garden in Carterton along the repatriation route.

More than 100 people have been invited to the ceremony in Carterton including members of the Royal British legion and volunteers who help with repatriations.

The names of all the military personnel who have been repatriated through RAF Brize Norton since September will be read out, with the bell being being rung for the first time.

Lee Mackie, whose son Jason was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, came up with the idea after thinking about her son's repatriation in Wootton Bassett.

"When the town bell started sounding it was time for people to stop and reflect and it added a huge dimension to the whole event."

Mrs Mackie added how touched she is by all the people who have donated:

"Within 3 months we had raised all the money we needed because of all the generosity and support."

The bell is the same type that was sent to New York by the Mayor of London after the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Steve Radband, whose son is currently serving in Afghanistan and who visited Whitechapel Bell Foundry, said: 

"We listened to a number of bells during our visit and as soon as I heard the bell we’ve selected I knew it was the right one."

On September 1st 2011 RAF Brize Norton took over responsibility for military repatriations from RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.