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Crowds gather to bid farewell to fallen hero
Buy this photo » The hearse carrying the body of Captain Walter Barrie passes the Memorial Gardens in Carterton
FOR loved ones of Captain Walter Barrie, Remembrance Sunday will take on a whole new meaning after he was killed on November 11 in Afghanistan.
Capt Barrie, 41, described by friends as “passionate and diligent” was shot at close range by an Afghan soldier as his regiment played football with members of the country’s army.
Members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland joined friends, family and local well-wishers who lined Norton Way in Carterton for his repatriation yesterday.
His widow Sonia and 15-year-old son Callum decided not to attend after the painful duty of receiving his body at RAF Brize Norton.
Only the sound of a single tolling bell broke the silence as the cortege arrived at the memorial garden. Royal British Legion standards were raised and soldiers and civilians alike saluted as a mark of respect.
Major Jimmy Law, 43, described his friend of more than 20 years with fondness after watching his coffin pass by a crowd of dozens.
He said: “He was a man’s man. He loved his football, he loved his family and he loved his job. He was a lovely guy who had a lot of integrity.
“He was passionate, diligent and totally professional.”
He said Remembrance Sunday, the first Sunday of the month of November, would now have a different meaning, despite already being an important day for those in the military and their loved ones.
He said: “It will have a different edge for us next year.
“I know Sonia and Callum are absolutely devastated, but we will be there for them as and when they need us.”
Brize Norton parish council chairman Keith Glazier was in his usual place at the side of the road. He commented on the good turnout.
He said: “The numbers representing the Scottish regiment I feel sure would be of comfort to the bereaved family. We’re all extremely saddened by the loss of another young soldier.”
And people from Carterton and other nearby areas also attended, as usual, to show their support.
Barry Thornton-Kitching said: “I come along as a mark of respect. These soldiers make a huge sacrifice.”
After leaving Carterton, the cortege continued along the A40 to Oxford, where it passed along Headley Way before reaching the John Radcliffe Hospital.