Plans To Remove Ex-RAF Lyneham Chapel
15 July 2013, 11:42
Some families of fallen soldiers who were repatriated through former RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire are fighting a plan to remove the 'Chapel of Rest' there.
It's due to be taken down as part of plans to re-develop the base into a military training centre.
The MoD department responsible is telling Heart the "former Chapel of Rest is a timber-clad portacabin...(and) it cannot be moved".
However a petition against the plan to remove it has been started by Sarah O'Connor whose brother was repatriated through RAF Lyneham after he died in a Hercules crash in 2005.
Sarah, from Cambridge, has been telling Heart: "Mothers I've spoken to call it a safe haven...this place...if the walls could speak, it would break people's hearts".
She is being supported by Jacqui Janes whose son Jamie was killed in Afghanistan in 2009 and was repatriated through Lyneham. Jacqui, from Hove, has been telling Heart: "When that plane lands you still can't get it into your head that that's your child in one of those coffins...but when you're taken into the little room and the coffin is draped with the flag...I can't describe - then it's real"
A statement from the MOD's Defence Infrastructure Organisation says:
"The site previously known as RAF Lyneham is being redeveloped to provide a Tri-Service training facility and new and improved accommodation for our personnel. As part of these plans a new Repatriation Centre was opened at RAF Brize Norton to ensure the relatives of those who have sadly died while bravely serving their country are still able to pay their respects"
They also told Heart "The former Chapel of Rest is a timber-clad portacabin with a limited lifespan. By its nature and design it cannot be moved. The change of use of the site means that it is now necessary to remove the Chapel of Rest"
They added while it is referred to as a Chapel they say it is not a consecrated building and is deliberately non-denomination specific.