Dean Cumberpatch, from Lincolnshire, said “it’s a travesty that the government are charging veterans so long after their service”.
Another Harley rider, Gavin, from Wolverhampton, agreed and said Soldier F was being used as a scapegoat. “You can’t be given instructions to do something and then be told 40 years later, ‘no that’s wrong’,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”
The riders were a mostly mature bunch; in years if not temperament (one patch read ‘I ride too fast to worry about cholesterol’). Some seemed as old as the Royal Enfield bikes beneath them.
Many wore embroidered salutes to fallen friends: Jackie, Alan, The Hog. Some displayed their affiliations: to the All Arms Veterans, or the Meridian Chapter among others.
Rolling Thunder drifted past Lambeth Palace, sirens and horns startling the smokers outside St Thomas’ hospital.
The volume went up outside Parliament. The police marshals, at the head of the procession, allowed the ride to halt briefly outside the Palace of Westminster. British democratic freedom to protest in action. There was much revving of engines and one inhabitant – an MP perhaps, able to influence things? – leaned out of an upstairs window taking pictures.