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Repatriation Day

Repatriations usually take place at RAF Brize Norton on Thursdays, but can take place on other days if necessary.

The Union Flag at Britannia Gate and at the Memorial Garden will be lowered to half-mast on the day of a repatriation, and signs will appear at the roadside in readiness for road closures later in the day as the cortege makes it way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.  The volunteers at The Pavillion in Norton Way make sandwiches and get ready to serve tea and coffee to people attending the memorial garden.  Members of the Royal British Legion prepare for the sombre day ahead when they will lower their standards in honour of the fallen.

The Repatriation CentreThe C-17 Globemaster, flown by Brize Norton’s 99 Squadron will normally land just after lunchtime after its non-stop flight from Afghanistan.  Six uniformed pallbearers carry the coffin from the plan to a waiting hearse, which will take the deceased to the Repatriation Centre.

The bereaved families will be reunited with their loved ones inside the new £1.9m Repatriation Centre which has been built for the families of servicemen and women killed on operations when they are repatriated to RAF Brize Norton.

The centre includes a calm and quiet space away from the husdtle and bustle of the airfield to give relatives space to pay their respects in private when their loved ones return.

It houses eight chapels of rest where families can spend private time with their loved ones, a private lounge and a viewing platform that will allow  families to pay their respects as the plane carrying their loved ones lands.

They can also observe the formal military repatriation ceremony, as six uniformed pallbearers carry the coffin, draped in the Union Flag, down the rear ramp of the aeroplane to a waiting hearse.

The cortege of fallen service personnel will leave RAF Brize Norton through the newly-named ‘Britannia Gate’ on the south side of the airfield and will travel along Station Road into Brize Norton village.

At Brize Norton village the cortege will turn left into Carterton Road, and will progress along Norton Way, Monahan Way and then head out towards the A40 at Minister Lovell.   The cortege will pause at the Memorial Garden – where the Royal British Legion will present their standards and the public can pay their respects.   On the A40 the cortege will continue to Oxford, passing The Evenlode at Eynsham and will leave the A40 at Marston.

At The Final Turn in Headley Way, local people, veterans and the Royal British Legion have gathered since 2008 to show their respoect as the cortege nears its journeys end at the John Radcliffe Hospital.