THIS is the first glimpse of the new memorial garden on the boundary of Brize Norton and Carterton where people will pay tribute to fallen British soldiers.

The memorial, in Norton Way, will be alongside the route to be taken from the autumn by repatriation corteges from RAF Brize Norton taking the bodies of fallen service personnel to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

At the heart of the garden will be the Union Flag which now flies above Wootton Bassett High Street when repatriation corteges from RAF Lyneham pass though the Wiltshire town.

The existing pavement will be extended backwards and five trees will be planted to form a backdrop to the flagpole.

Oxfordshire County Council and West Oxfordshire District Council released the image yesterday.

Last night opinion on the new design, from those seeing it for the first time, was positive.

Mike Henderson, chairman of Oxfordshire Royal British Legion, praised the plan.

He said: “We’re pleased to be helping to realise the vision of a suitable memorial to honour those members of the armed forces repatriated from operation.

“We hope that the memorial garden will become a fitting and dignified place for members of the public wishing to gather as the corteges pass."

On Monday the Oxford Mail reported that a plan to take the bodies of fallen soldiers through a side gate at RAF Brize Norton and to bypass Carterton town centre had caused controversy among former servicemen.

Some accused the county council and Ministry of Defence of “insulting their memory”, while others said arguing over the route was disrespectful.

Deputy county council leader David Robertson said: “We plan to start work on the memorial garden soon. The intention is for it to be a real focal point on the repatriation route and a suitable and dignified place for the bereaved families.”

Carterton and Brize Norton parish councils have helped with the garden’s design, along with the Royal British Legion.

Kimi Hillson, from Thame, launched a Facebook campaign called ‘No matter what route, respect will be paid’ after being angered by the arguments surrounding the route.

She said: “I think the garden looks nice, it’s simple and fit for purpose, which is the main point.”

The flag from Wootton Bassett will be handed over at a special ceremony when RAF Brize Norton takes over repatriation duties.