HARRY BUCKNALL (centre), an author and former Major in
the Coldstream Guards, was appalled when he found that two of his
former Guardsmen had been living rough since leaving the Army. He
would have moved heaven and earth to help them, he said. Instead,
he led a walk from Child Okeford, in the Salisbury
diocese, to St Paul's Cathedral, to raise money for the Walking
With The Wounded appeal for homeless veterans.
He was accompanied by his friend and former army driver, Jock
Davis (right), now a sergeant in the Metropolitan Police,
and others joined them on their six-day journey through Salisbury,
Andover, Basingstoke, and Windsor. Between them, they raised more
"Our journey started", he says, "after a blessing by the Rector
at holy communion [at St Nicholas's, Child Okeford]. . . Jock
played us out of church with his bagpipes as we processed down to
the cross, before hurried goodbyes and much waving as we turned the
bend towards Iwerne and the long haul up Sutton Hill."
Although the weather was kind, the early part of the way was
muddy and "more like the Somme than a country lane". They were
thankful that they did not have to sleep out like those in whose
name they were walking.
They passed the old barracks on Salisbury Plain, and entered
London from Weybridge, and finally arrived in the Square Mile at
dusk on the Friday evening, as bars were overflowing with
With the companions who had joined them during the previous six
days, they were greeted on the steps of the Royal Exchange by a
large crowd. The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres
(left), the Band of the Coldstream Guards, and the
Military Wives' Choir were all there to sing carols and to mark the
end of their journey.