Video & Gallery: Town weeps for war heroes

FOUR of our nation's war dead returned home this week - and a small town once again paid moving tribute to our boys. Evening Star feature writer James Marston was there.

was my niece's husband. He was 28 and worked in bomb disposal.

“Today means respect and what the people Wootton Bassett are doing is very honourable. Everybody comes together as one.”

On the stroke of 2.30pm a haunting hush falls over the assembled crowds as the sound of the muffled church bell carries across the town.

Colourful hanging baskets swing in the breeze, the sun glimpses from behind the clouds and there is complete silence.

Motorcycle outriders herald the arrival of four young men on their final journey.

With a loan mourner leading the procession, low-geared hearses glide into view and in the back of each one a plain coffin is draped in the Union Flag.

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Regimental and Royal British Legion standards are lowered as the cortege rests for a minute opposite the town's war memorial. With heads bowed silent tears fall on the faces of many and the grieving families struggle to control their emotions.

Tribute is paid in this most British of ways.

And as soon as the moment passes it is over.

The crowds quickly disperse and the dead have been honoured.

Our Boys - In Profile

- Capt Shepherd, of the 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, the Royal Logistics Corps, came from Lincoln.

- Guardsman King, of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was from West Buckland, Devon.

- Rifleman Toge, of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, was from Suva, Fiji.

- Cpl Etchells, of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was from Mossley, Greater Manchester.