Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Saturday, 30 August 2008 18:39 UK

Poem tribute to fallen soldier

Private Craig Barber, picture from MoD
Pte Craig Barber was killed driving an armoured vehicle a year ago in Basra

A soldier has read a poem he wrote in tribute to a comrade killed in Iraq as his regiment was given the freedom of Bridgend county borough.

Private Craig Barber was serving with 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh when he was killed in Basra a year ago.

Pte Kevin Pollard, who was on duty with Pte Barber and helped retrieve his body, wrote a poem in tribute to the 20-year-old from Ogmore Vale, Bridgend.

Soldiers from the Royal Welsh marched through Bridgend on Saturday.

Whenever the sun rises remember I am with you all / The wind will be a sign from there that I'm there with you
The moon is a guide from me that shows you I am in all your thoughts / The rain is my tears falling onto you to let you know how much I loved you
I've left you in body but not in soul / I will always be next to you
I was taken away from you but I am still there / You are all I lived for but I will never forget you
The star in my heart is always bright when you are in my thoughts / Always remember me and never forget I'm always with you
The poem read by Kevin Pollard

The parade marked the fact they have been given the freedom of the county borough.

They gathered with veterans and cadets at the civic offices before being inspected by the mayor.

Pte Pollard then read his poem before the mayor read the official council resolution declaring the freedom of the county borough, which was accepted by Brigadier Roddy Porter.

The guests included Pte Barber's mother Cheryl Rowlands, his wife Donna Barber, his four-year-old son Bradley, grandparents Marian and Lance Barber, his sisters Laura and Rebecca Rowlands and his best friend Amy Brimble.

His mother said: "We felt extremely emotional as a family because Craig was not there.

Members of 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh march through Bridgend
Members of 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh march through Bridgend
"Craig would have been so proud to have been marching in his home town.

"We feel honoured and privileged that we've been able to come and represent him, and delighted in the way we've been received as honoured guests."

Mayor Cleone Westwood said it was "a special day in the history of Bridgend county borough".

Pte Barber was killed on an operation to stop night attacks on Basra palace.

He was hit by a ricocheting bullet as he drove a Warrior armoured vehicle.

He had been due to return home to celebrate his first wedding anniversary during the month he was killed.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific