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Thread: The pictures that should shame Britain, the shabby way they treat fallen war heroes

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    Elite Member sharon_b's Avatar
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    Angry The pictures that should shame Britain, the shabby way they treat fallen war heroes

    They serve the same Queen, fight the same foe and lay down their lives with equal valour and sacrifice. But when the fallen heroes of Canada and Britain come home, the welcome is very different.
    At airbases in both countries there is only sombre respect.
    But today The Mail on Sunday publishes extraordinary pictures that contrast the final road journeys: in Canada, there is a police escort and crowds line the route; in Britain, the hearses are denied outriders and go unremarked.
    Should we show more respect to our returning war dead? Tell us your view below
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    Stark contrast: The remarkable scene as Canada salutes her fallen and, below, how Britain's war dead are brought home almost unnoticed





    Coffins carrying the Canadian soldiers' bodies are driven 107 miles from the airbase at Trenton, Ontario, to a coroner's office in Toronto; in Britain the trip is 50 miles from RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, to the morgue at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.
    In Canada the road is cleared and a police escort of several squad cars ensures a smooth passage as onlookers pay tribute and police and fire officers salute.
    But in Britain most of the journey is spent ignored and stuck in traffic – because Thames Valley Police refuse to provide an escort as they "focus on community safety rather than ceremonial roles".
    Last night MP Quentin Davies, who is heading a Ministry of Defence study into strengthening public support for Britain's Armed Forces, labelled the failure to provide an escort for our war dead "despicable".
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    Heroes of Canada: Jefferson Francis, 36, Matthew Dawe, 27, Colin Bason, 28; and below, Jordan Anderson, 25, Cole Bartsch, 23, and Lane Watkins, 20




    Other Service personnel and police from other Forces concur.
    The intensely moving pictures of the Canadian repatriation are being emailed among British soldiers and have been posted on the internet.
    Canada currently has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and has so far lost 82. Britain has lost 91 from a total of 7,800.
    The series of pictures includes emotional scenes last year when six Canadian soldiers were flown home.
    Captain Jefferson Francis, 36, Captain Matthew Dawe, 27, Master Cpl Colin Bason, 28, Corporal Cole Bartsch, 23, Corporal Jordan Anderson, 25, and Private Lane Watkins, 20, were killed together in their armoured vehicle by a massive roadside bomb near Kandahar.
    Along the entire route, on 50 motorway bridges, at roadsides, intersections, on the sides of roads, in fields and even on the central barrier of the busy motorway, local people, firefighters and police stood to attention, Royal Canadian Legionnaires lowered flags and whole families proudly waved "We support our troops" placards.
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    British heroes David Marsh, 23, and John Thornton, 22, both killed in Afghanistan


    The spectacle was so striking that the highway, part of which was known as the Queen Elizabeth Way, has now been renamed the Highway of Heroes.
    Since then, every body travelling along the Highway of Heroes has been greeted by hundreds of ordinary Canadians who often wait for hours in the bitter Ontario winter to show their respect and support.
    Lieutenant Colonel Jim Legere, Provost Marshal for the 1st Canadian Air Division Headquarters, wrote of one such journey in a letter to a Toronto newspaper.
    He said: "Although words cannot possibly do justice to this heart-wrenching experience, I thought it important for you to be aware of the overwhelming – and I mean overwhelming – support provided by law enforcement, fire services, ambulance services and, indeed, the public at large, for this very solemn occasion.
    "I could not believe my eyes as we made the solemn journey from Trenton to the coroner's office in Toronto.
    "Every on-ramp had a police vehicle blocking traffic, with members standing by the vehicles saluting.
    "Entire police detachments stood along the route, saluting in front of their vehicles.
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    Tale of two homecomings: Canadians, above, and British, below, are ceremoniously carried at airbases, and later locals honour the British soldiers in Wootton Bassett





    "Fire halls had their trucks out, with their members in full dress uniform out front paying respects to our comrades.
    "People stopped their cars along the side of the road, got out and saluted or held their hands over their hearts.
    "As we neared downtown, the streets were lined with crowds waving Canadian flags and paying their respects.
    "The outpouring of support for our fallen heroes and their families was beyond belief."
    Lt Col Legere's letter concluded: "Never before have I been as proud to wear this uniform."
    Highways for Heroes have been designated in other Canadian cities and many people pay their respects when a fallen soldier returns. Police escorts are the norm.
    The spectacle contrasts strongly with the progress of a British cortege which The Mail on Sunday was given special permission to follow earlier this month.
    Lieutenant John Thornton, 22, and Marine David Marsh, 23, both of 40 Commando Royal Marines, were killed in a vehicle explosion while patrolling in Helmand Province.
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    In Canada, flag-waving crowds line the route and cram motorway bridges




    Their two black hearses and an empty spare hearse accompanying them were initially escorted by Wiltshire Police.
    The cortege first passed through the village of Wootton Bassett where locals, forewarned by the RAF base, gather at the war memorial to pay their respects.
    But for much of the rest of the trip to Oxford – where the bodies undergo post-mortems before being returned to their families – the hearses are on their own, led only by an undertaker's car.
    They were cut up by impatient motorists at roundabouts, stuck in traffic and generally ignored by the public, their significance lost because of a lack of the gravitas that a police escort would provide.
    The problem has arisen because the Wiltshire Constabulary escort – normally three motorcycle outriders and two patrol cars which stop other traffic along the route – has to "peel off" at the Oxfordshire border where the Thames Valley force area begins.
    The corteges then have to fend for themselves on Oxford's notorious ring-road.
    Inspector Mark Levitt of Wiltshire Police has taken up the matter with Thames Valley.
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    Pride: Saluting firefighters stand by their engines while, below, scores of police get out of stopped cars as the Canadian soldiers are driven past




    He told The Mail on Sunday: "I phoned one of the road policing managers and asked if they would continue the repatriation escorts to Oxford and he said it was not in their force policy to provide one for this type of thing."
    Insp Levitt, who has helped organise the stops at Wootton Bassett war memorial, added: "We have officers who come in on their days off to help with the escort duties, because they want to show their respects to the young soldiers who died for us and are genuinely touched by the tribute and respect shown by the people of Wootton Bassett."
    But Thames Valley Police defended their failure to provide an escort.
    They say that even before April last year, when RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire rather than Lyneham was used for repatriating war dead, the force provided escorts only if there was an "operational need", such as large numbers of vehicles, families or people involved.
    Assistant Chief Constable Brian Langston claimed that "most of the time" escorts were not required or requested.
    "I've spoken to my counterpart at Wiltshire Police and I understand they provide escorts because of the people involved at the Wootton Bassett events.
    "We try to provide what people say are their priorities, and so far that's been to focus on community safety rather than ceremonial roles."
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    Passion: A man holds a hand to his heart on the motorway and more police salute as the Canadian cortege passes



    But Labour MP Mr Davies said: "It is very much to the credit of Wiltshire Police that they are stopping traffic and giving dignity and respect to those who have given their lives to this country.
    "I think it is disgusting that the police in Oxfordshire do not do the same."
    Thames Valley Police are, however, well versed in escort duties.
    The force operates its own Protection Group which provides security for the Royal Family at Windsor Castle, escorts visiting heads of state and guards the many Government officials and other VIPs who have homes in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
    Quentin Davies acknowledged that a Canadian-style Highway for Heroes may not be right for Britain but added: "It is very comforting to the families to know that places like Wootton Bassett have paid direct and specific tribute.
    "It is very important to let the public reflect on their sacrifice. Indeed they [the families] might even feel they have been betrayed without it."
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    The British hearses fend for themselves after the police peel off at the Thames Valley border, and go unnoticed in the traffic




    Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army colonel, said: "This is the latest breach of the military covenant.
    "Even in death our men are being scorned.
    "The compensation our Servicemen receive is pitiful, the shortages of body armour are scandalous, the way the Government is trying to gag coroners over the death of Servicemen disgusting.
    "Now we have this. All of these things shout of shabbiness."
    The Ministry of Defence refused to comment, claiming it was "a local issue".


    Pictures that should shame us all reveal the shabby way Britain treats its fallen heroes | the Daily Mail
    Last edited by sharon_b; April 13th, 2008 at 07:37 AM.

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    A*O
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    Brits just don't go in for this salute the flag, hand on heart, God bless our heroes, stop the traffic stuff. Maybe they should but I'm not surprised about this.
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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    I'm waiting for the 'they were just doing their job why should they deserve extra attention' post.

    I too think someone that gave their lives should be paid due respect, regardless of what I feel about wars and stuff. I mean, they do give escorts to other people that have died and things of that nature right? Not only for politicians and celebs but police and firefighters too.

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    Elite Member sharon_b's Avatar
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    Ooops! just realized that i didn't post the full article so i have reposted it again in the original post.

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    Eli
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    British people don't show their feelings. A simple tap on the shoulder is way too personal for them (err, me).

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Maybe we in the US wear our hearts on our sleeves,but I like the big traffic stopping ones we have. Sort of brings everyone together.
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    Elite Member burnt_toast's Avatar
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    this is completely insensitive .... but the one on the right is HOT!

    British heroes David Marsh, 23, and John Thornton, 22, both killed in Afghanistan

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    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloud View Post
    this is completely insensitive .... but the one on the right is HOT!
    You know, I was going to post that my eyes were welling up w/ tears cos of the photos (e.g. stopped traffic, honorary salutes, etc...) and that these photos were very touching and then I stopped crying cos read your post and it made me laugh a little, cos I thought the same thing too!

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    God bless these fallen soldiers and their families. We have kooks protesting the funerals of fallen soldiers here in the states too. Protest the war all you want, but let the fallen be honored- and let their families grieve.

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    I just hope they died for something worthwhile, not the whims of lying shitheads in office.
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    Eli
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloud View Post
    this is completely insensitive .... but the one on the right is HOT!

    British heroes David Marsh, 23, and John Thornton, 22, both killed in Afghanistan
    I was going to say that too! He's boot-campalicious!

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    Forces guys are treated shabbily in the UK, totally beyond disgusting. Why would this change in death?
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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    Well, this is terrible. Even our everyday citizens here in my area are honored. Funeral processions here in the south are police escorted, they do not stop for red lights & traffic pulls off the road until the procession has made its way through.
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    Elite Member NicoleWasHere's Avatar
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    Judging by the many British I've talked to online, in various places on the internet, for ages, they don't seem to be too overly emotional on anything. Everything is either no big deal to them, or they take the time to laugh at it and pick it apart.

    I'm not judging everyone by this, but this is just the impression I've gotten over the past few years. :\

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkdgirl View Post
    God bless these fallen soldiers and their families.
    I get tired of the "thank the troops" spiel that everyone quickly trots out.

    When was the last time someone thanked a farmer for doing their job? SERIOUSLY! Without farmers, no troop would ever grow up to join the military. There would be no people or nation to protect. Just goes to show how much folks in the US take the basics for granted. It's easier to glorify/acknowledge/admire/respect those who get to kill humans than those who work to grow life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    I just hope they died for something worthwhile, not the whims of lying shitheads in office.
    Eh, I doubt it.

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