Why I was smiling, by the Afghan war widow who welcomed home body of hero husband

With her head held high, applauding and with a beaming grin, Christina Schmid did not look like a typical war widow as she watched her husband's coffin parade through the streets of Wootton Bassett this week.

The brave wife of Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, who died dismantling a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, even managed a thumbs-up as she watched her husband of two years return home.

Yesterday she revealed that after the homecoming parade of 30-year-old Sgt Schmid, known as Oz, she cried so much that she did not have an ounce of make-up left.

Christina Schmid,

Christina Schmid smiled and applauded as the body of her husband Olaf was brought home through the streets of Wootton Bassett

But she said he had told her that he wanted her 'head held high' in the event of his death.

'We didn't dwell on it but Oz said that if he was killed he'd love me to watch him come back.

'He said: "You'd better bloody be there for me. I expect you to have your head held high." I didn't want to let him down.'

Mrs Schmid, 34, added: 'I wanted to show that he was my hero. I was so proud of him that I was beaming. 

'But afterwards, when all the cameras were gone, I cried so much that I didn't have an ounce of make-up left.

'My stoicism was my way of showing him respect. It was always a joke between us that he trained with the Commandos but I was harder.

Christina Schmid

The brave widow even managed a thumbs up as she held her head high to show 'that he was my hero'

'We shared the Commando spirit and nothing was going to break that.'

Her final gesture was to place two red roses on her husband’s coffin.

Sgt Schmid was a 'high threat operator' as a bomb disposal expert. He disarmed 64 roadside bombs in only five months and saved countless colleagues.

But the 65th exploded, killing him instantly.

Olaf Schmid

Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, pictured on duty, was killed in Afghanistan

He was on his final mission before returning home for a two-week holiday and had spoken to his wife two days before his death.

The couple had been friends since childhood, but fell in love four years ago and wed in 2007 in Winchester.

Mrs Schmid, who works for a pharmaceutical company and has a son, Laird, from a previous relationship, said they were aware their time together was precious.

'We crammed so much into our time together but I feel cheated that all our plans have been taken away. I also feel angry on his behalf that  everything he hoped for going into his 30s has been taken away.'

The couple, who lived in army quarters near Winchester, were due to exchange contracts on a home in two weeks but planned to move to Cornwall where he grew up.

They had also planned to have more children but had put plans on hold while he was in Afghanistan.

'Absolutely my biggest regret, which is overwhelming me now, is that we put it off,' she told the Daily Express.

'We both wanted a big family – at least two or three more kids – and Oz was keen to start trying but I said we couldn’t risk it while he was serving in Afghanistan. I would never have tried to stop him doing his job, though.'

When the knock came at her front door last Saturday night, she was tucking her son up in bed. She looked out of the window to see officials arriving and her heart sank.

Christina Schmid,

Mrs Schmid applauded his coffin. He had asked her to 'hold you head high' if he did not come back from Afghanistan alive

'Laird thought it was his dad coming home. I knew what it was about and at first I wouldn’t answer the door. It was Laird who ran down.

'Oz was on his last active day before the tour ended and as the hours passed on Saturday I’d thought we were home free.'

She added: 'Since he died the army has been brilliant but I worry about the future. I want to try to be as positive as I can.

'My life and Laird’s life will go on but at the moment all  I can see is a black void.

'Laird has never known another father and as he grows older I will do everything to keep Oz’s memory alive. There will be pictures everywhere and we will celebrate his life each year. Laird will know what a fantastic father he had. I will make sure of that.'

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