Brid soldier played key part in Thatcher funeral

Senior Aircraftsman Jamie Straker.
Senior Aircraftsman Jamie Straker.

It was a day to remember one of the most famous prime ministers in history – but for one Bridlington mum, Baroness Thatcher’s funeral was a day to be proud of her son.

Tracey Straker, 40, of St 
Andrew’s Road, a nursery nurse at Martongate Primary School, watched part of the state funeral during a morning break at school when she saw her son, Jamie, walking alongside the coffin.

Senior Aircraftman Jamie Straker, 23, a member of the RAF Regiment Queen’s Colour Squadron, was given the role of hat bearer in the procession of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral walking alongside several other officers of the armed forces.

“I was just really proud of him, it was strange seeing him on the TV. It’s such a big thing, he is now part of history and it was watched by millions of people,” Tracey said.

“I think it’s really good that he gets the opportunity to do things like that with his life.”

Jamie said: “The team of pall bearers had to be of equal height and so I was picked so that we were all shoulder level.

“It was a very proud moment, you can hear all the noise in the background, but you have to concentrate on what you’re doing.”

Jamie, a former Headlands School pupil, joined the RAF Regiment after leaving school.

He said: “I knew I always wanted to be in the forces.

“I started basic training at RAF Honington and then was given the choice to carry on there or to be involved in ceremonial duties with the Queen’s Colour Squadron.

“You have two parts to your job, the soldiering side and the ceremonial, and the atmosphere at the big events and then seeing yourself on television afterwards is enjoyable.”

Jamie, who has served two tours in Afghanistan, is currently in London at RAF Northolt, where the Squadron is based.

Last year Jamie was also part of a team of six coffin bearers who travelled to Malaysia to bury the crew of the Royal Air Force Liberator aircraft who were killed just before the end of the Second World War.

They were laid to rest with military honours at the Cheras Road Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Kuala Lumpur.

The Queen’s Colour Squadron is part of the RAF charged with the safe-keeping of the Queen’s Colour for the Royal Air Force.

It is most often seen in a ceremonial role such as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle, as well as drill shows at the Royal Festival of Remembrance and trooping the colour at the Royal Albert Hall.