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Posts Tagged ‘Army’

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In all the excitement of Wedding Photos, Parties and more I completely forgot to blog about Imber. We rather randomly decided on a road trip not too far away to explore an uninhabited village on Salisbury Plain. For those that don’t know, Salisbury Plain is ‘owned’ by the Ministry of Defence and is where a lot of training, excercises and other secret things happen for the Army.

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Imber had a settlement since 967AD and was evacuated in 1943 with the promise that one day, the villagers would be able to return. Some of them had been living on the settlement for generations of their families lives. None of them were ever allowed back.

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Imber is now used as a training site for the Ministry of Defence and is dubbed the village that was evacuated for the ‘Greater Good.’ Villagers were given just forty seven days notice on November 1st 1943 in which they had to pack up their things, relocate their animals and move on. The area was needed as an excercise area for troops preparing for the D-Day landings.

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Today, the Church is still in full working order and the MOD allow the public to regain access to the village only a handful of days each year. Many families of those who are buried in the graveyard are allowed to visit on these occasions only, to pay their respects to their deceased relatives.

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The drive into Imber is a curious one, for a derelict village the roads are in fantastic condition, the Army maintaining them regularly. Signs greet you every few hundred yards, ‘Danger, do not leave the carriageway, unexploded military debris..’ warning you to stay on the narrow road into the village. I have to say though, the most strange thing I found about the whole thing was the barbed wire fence surrounding the church. Odd. You don’t see that very often!

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“There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”
― Kate Douglas Wiggin

Yesterday, many residents of the local town turned out to watch the homecoming march of soldiers returning from Afghanistan. We don’t often have parades such as this, so it was incredibly nice to see so many people line the streets, almost like a flash mob really. The morning begun slowly, with people milling around, doing their shopping – and then as 10:30am drew closer, the crowds drew in.

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The 22 Engineer Regiment from Perham Down all returned safely after a six month tour of Afghanistan. It makes a change from the last home-coming I went to at Wootton Bassett where the gaps in the lines of soldiers were fairly significant, as was the list of names of those who had not returned safely.

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The mood yesterday was very different, very positive and upbeat. The soldiers marching were struggling to hide their smiles and their emotion as the crowds cheered them through the town.

23Then to top it off nicely, and provide a true home-coming – the sunset was gorgeous!

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