Out of Iraq
One of our sons and one of our son-in-laws have served time in Iraq. Both are members of the Royal Air Force. They have both returned back home safely. Thousands of other parents, wives, children, husbands have not have been as fortunate. They have had to face the incomprehensible fact that their loved one will never return. I have written this album to try to capture the feeling that we could have so easily been faced with. I have used a Yamaha keyboard and Pioneer Tape Recorder. The day before the soldier left home he had had a Strange Dream. He had been on many detachments throughout his 6 years with the Forces. Many had been in similar theatres to the one to which he was about to visit. This one was different. He had a bad feeling. He knew that he would never see his loved ones or his beloved country again. Two days into his attachment he was killed, violently, by a roadside bomb placed there in the name of someone's God. He was 29 years old. His body was carried from the barracks onto the awaiting Hercules. The Cortege consisting of his friends, carried the coffin, covered with the flag of the United Kingdom and placed it gently into the hold of the aircraft, alongside three other murdered youngsters. Sorrow and anger filled the aircraft. Cutting through the sky the Hercules carried our people back to our country. The crew silent. The plane soared through the cloudless sky escorted by a myriad of stars onwards to the Final Resting Place. The aircraft landed in the UK and the bodies were removed, each one taken gently out of the hold with military precision and placed into the waiting hearses. The waiting families were silent. Their eyes reflecting the images to their thoughts. His body was taken to a little fishing village in Scotland, nestling in the hills, surrounded by evergreens and overlooking the sea. The Glen would be his home for eternity. One day, soon, we will march Out of Iraq, with fixed bayonets. To come Home His wife and his two kids returned to their home in Hampshire. They arrived early and waited for the sun to rise. Dawn in the New Forest arrived and with it, a plethora of thoughts of the time they had spent together as a family enjoying life. Suffocating with sorrow they drove to their home, it was Raining. Their tears fell with the rain. She put the kids to bed and made herself a cup of tea and sat alone in their home. She looked at the pictures surrounding her. Her husband's first posting was to Lincoln. They had been madly in love and she had driven for hours, to see him for minutes, before he was whisked away to some other posting. She remembered that it had been a Wild Night for driving. But the thought of being with him even for a glancing moment caused excitement which she would never again experience. Their next stolen moments were to be in Cornwall. They spent a beautiful weekend in a hired cottage on the edge of the sea, nestling between cruel rocks, Watching the tide suicidally throwing itself against the boulders and the dawn break in the clear summer sky. They talked of what they would do, how many kids they would have, what would they be called, what they would be. All the things we talk about. Beautiful days. Gone forever. After the birth of their first boy, Jim, he was sent to Afghanistan. She thought 'I remember, what would I do if he didn't return?' She truly believed that nothing would ever happen to him. It couldn't. They would live forever. When their second child, Rose, arrived they hired a cottage in Tour de Bessin in Normandy. It was a very isolated place, in a village of 5 houses and surrounded by rolling countryside and overlooked by a 15th century church. There was an enormous 'walk in' fireplace. The farmer had left them stacks of logs to burn. The nights were freezing with temperatures dropping to minus 15 followed by glorious days. The cottage was as warm as toast, but outside Icicles were hanging from the trees, the buildings and the telegraph poles. The fields and the trees were glowing white and huge clouds of steam were billowing from the grazing cattle. They had bought enough food to last them for their stay. The four of them were totally alone, in a warm and ancient cottage. It was seven days of wonderment, just living together and watching the wonderful antics of their kids. Jim was going to be Rose's hero. On their last night there, they were snuggled up in the huge bed, the kids fast asleep. The dying embers of the log fire filled the room with a hypnotic ambience. He asked her what she was thinking and she simply said 'I'm dreaming of you' The night lasted forever. They had visited Bayeux and he had bought her a Dream Catcher necklace, stating with great authority 'this will keep you safe from all harm'. He had talked about the beliefs of the Makah Tribe, a people who lived in North America. They believed that no one died. They simply went to another room. He assured her in his military way, with his eyes crossed! That ' No matter what happens, I'm still with you'. She had often thought of that. He was invincible. She realized now that he had gone. Never to be with him again. You were beautiful my one and only love. WHY were you sent to such a hostile place? In a matter of months no one will remember you except your family. And perhaps every November someone may recall your name. To us you will NEVER be forgotten. You will live forever my Darling. John Winfield 2006.