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Grieving mum prepares for son's return

PUBLISHED: 09:19 10 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:35 03 July 2010

Today is a day that Elizabeth Chant hoped she would never see - her dead hero son being flown back from Afghanistan in a Union Jack draped coffin.

Mrs Chant travelled from her Great Yarmouth home yesterday in advance of the repatriation of RSM Darren Chant to RAF Lyneham this afternoon.

Today is a day that Elizabeth Chant hoped she would never see - her dead hero son being flown back from Afghanistan in a Union Jack draped coffin.

Mrs Chant travelled from her Great Yarmouth home yesterday in advance of the repatriation of RSM Darren Chant to RAF Lyneham this afternoon.

RSM Chant, a Grenadier Guard and newly married father of three, was killed last Tuesday when a rogue Afghan policeman gunned him and four colleagues down in cold blood.

Yesterday his mother revealed some of the contents of the last letter RSM Chant sent to her from his isolated base in the war town country.

As well as mentioning the problems of improvised bombs and training interpreters, the letters show the caring side of the highly experienced solder who served in the first Gulf War, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Afghanistan previously over the last 26 years of service to Queen and country.

In the letter dated October 19 he asked his mother how her new diet was going and inquired after his grandmother.

Mrs Chant, 59, who has lived in Yarmouth since 1987, said: “Darren's letters meant so much to me and they have been a great source of comfort since he was killed. He was always asking me about my diet and said he was proud of me.”

RSM Chant's body and those of his four colleagues will be flown to RAF Lynheham for a repatriation ceremony. The coffins will then travel through the Wiltshire market town of Wootton Bassett where townsfolk will pause to remember their sacrifice.

His brothers, ex-wife Connie, three children, Conner, 16 Adam 10, and Victoria eight, and his father John are all due to attend the ceremony.

RSM Chant's wife Nausheen, who married him in August and is due to give birth in three month's time, will also be there to see him flown home.

Speaking from her Yarmouth home yesterday Mrs Chant spoke of the anguish of seeing her son being repatriated.

She said: “It will be the worst day of my life to see those coffins come off the plane. They were all young men with so much life ahead of them.”

RSM Chant's wife hopes to scatter his ashes at the Sandhurst military academy where they met.

The other four men killed by the rogue Afghan police man last Tuesday were Grenadier Guards Sgt Matthew Telford, 37 and Guardsman James Major, 18 and Royal Military Policemen Cpl Nick Webster-Smith, 24 and Cpl Steven Boote, aged 22.

Here is part of the last letter RSM Chant sent to his mother:

“Dear Mum how are you? How is Nan?

I hope you are both well. Things have been ticking here along nicely. I believe we are all settled in now.

“Part of my job is looking after Afghan interpreters. Most of them are pretty decent but there are some lazy ones.

That part of the job is a pain in the bum.

The insurgents outside the wire continue to harass us all. They continually dig in improved explosive devices.

They are like rats.

How is the diet going and how is the car?”

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