AN ARCHIVE documenting the repatriation of soldiers through Royal Wootton Bassett has gone online.

Between 2007 and 2011 355 servicemen and women killed on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan were repatriated through the town on their way from RAF Lyneham to the mortuary at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The archive includes correspondence, poetry, photographs, songs, audio and messages from families of those killed, which flooded into the town over the four-year period.

The repatriations brought royal visits, including the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and is the reason the town was given a Royal prefix in honour of its efforts to recognise the war dead.

Joshua Toll, project officer at the town council, told the Advertiser: “We thought it was important to remember everything that happened and everyone who lost their lives.

“We received so many handwritten and personal poems from all over the country,” he added.

“We wanted to put them all on a website to make them available to the public to remember the fallen and the impact it had on the community.”

The role of the town was nationally recognised and continues to be one of its most well-known attributes.

As the town’s mayor Mike Farrow said: “It’s vital for the repatriation families.

"I know time is a great healer but it gives them a place to remember and see in black and white what the town did.

“We will never be able to leave it behind, no matter where you go, the one thing people talk about is the repatriation.

“It’s what the town is known for and long may it remain.”

One poem, sent in by the Portsmouth Poetry Society by Brian H Wells read: “As Wootton Bassett’s tolling bell, striking notes of tragedy, more coffins from Afghanistan, parade for all to see.”

“Dead soldiers who shared barrack times, showed brave integrity, but sacrificed for nations’ pride, amid duplicity.

“Yet Wootton Bassett vigil keeps, for each new casualty, cruel proof that war’s changed not one jot, throughout all history!”

Much of the memorabilia had been collected by Ken Scott, honorary president of the town’s Royal British Legion branch and a D-day veteran, who died aged 99 in May 2015.

The website went live on January 31 and is free. It can be searched like an ordinary archive at