MEN AND WAR
Great Grandfather died in an alien land
He was fighting a war – but did he understand?
Not yet twenty-six, he followed his brother
To a glorious grave, and the tears of their Mother
Who died shortly after, still mourning her sons –
A broken heart killed her, not African guns.
Back home in London a little boy cried –
But he didn’t know that his Father had died –
Nor his Uncle and Grandma; it was just childish tears
His maternal Grandmother had raised him for years.
He never did know he did not have a brother
And his Mum was his Gran, and his sister his Mother.
The lad he grew tall, and when he saw his chance
He dressed all in Khaki, and set sail for France
He followed the call to defend King and Queen,
An eager young soldier, as his Father had been.
He called to his Mother as he marched down the hill:
‘Don’t cry, I’ll be back soon to marry my Lil!’
Four times sent home wounded, but they salvaged his life
And he managed to get back home safe to his wife.
He never would speak of the horrors of war
And one day, years later, he walked out of the door
Leaving his children and wife in despair –
To lose him like this would be too hard to bear.
After several weeks came a knock at the door
A neighbour had seen him, just sat on the floor
His head in his hands, near the Ironmonger’s shop –
Thank goodness the fellow decided to stop!
His Lil went and fetched him, and back home he came.
He carried on living, but was never the same.
Just a few short years later his boy was a man
And came home in blue when a new war began.
My Grandfather wept and berated his son:
‘You’re reserved occupation – Oh what have you done?’
‘I must fight for my family, as you did before’
My Father explained, as he went off to war.
He married his Rosie on a very short leave
Then straight back to the Airforce; there was little reprieve.
His war was a harsh one, sent far overseas
Til Hitler was dead and the Japs on their knees.
He came home from Burma so sick he near died;
Again the old soldier just sat down and cried.
No men born to the family, til my son was of age
No world war to fight in; just battles to wage.
His fight’s for survival, and now he’s a man
With a family to feed, so he does what he can.
He works night and day and finds it so hard to see
That his cash goes to strangers, not his family.
Now I’ve five bonny Grandsons, and there may soon be more
And I hope and I pray they won’t fight in a war.
And I hope and I pray that their lives will be good
And they’ll get what they work for, like we hoped we would.
But I know if the call comes to take them to war
They’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with our Fathers before.