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Remembrance – The Soldier

Posted by cotojo on June 7, 2007

Here are the lyrics to a song, written by Harvey Andrews, based on an incident that occurred in 1971 involving Sergeant Michael Willets. Though the song is around 30 years old and therefore based on Northern Ireland I think the principles remain the same.

The station in the song was not a rail station as many people
may imagine but a police station. The soldier was a member
of 2 PARA, he didn’t actually lie on the bomb but shielded the
children from the bomb with his body, taking the full extent of
the blast saving their lives at the expense of his own.
His heroic and selfless act is fully recognised
and RESPECTED even by republicans.

**********

The Soldier

In a station in the city a British soldier stood
Talking to the people there if the people would
Some just stared in hatred, and others turned in pain
And the lonely British soldier wished he was back home again

Come join the British Army! said the posters in his town
See the world and have your fun come serve before the Crown
The jobs were hard to come by and he could not face the dole
So he took his country’s shilling and enlisted on the roll.

For there was no fear of fighting, the Empire long was lost
Just ten years in the army getting paid for being bossed
Then leave a man experienced a man who’s made the grade
A medal and a pension some mem’ries and a trade

Then came the call for Ireland as the call had come before
Another bloody chapter in an endless civil war
The priests they stood on both sides the priests they stood behind
Another fight in Jesus’s name the blind against the blind.

The soldier stood between them between the whistling stones
And then the broken bottles that led to broken bones
The petrol bombs that burnt his hands the nails that pierced his skin
And wished that he had stayed at home surrounded by his kin.

The station filled with people the soldier soon was bored
But better in the station than where the people warred
The room filled up with mothers with daughters and with sons
Who stared with itchy fingers at the soldier and his gun.

A yell of fear a screech of brakes the shattering of glass
The window of the station broke to let the package pass
A scream came from the mothers as they ran towards the door
Dragging their children crying from the bomb upon the floor

The soldier stood and could not move his gun he could not use
He knew the bomb had seconds and not minutes on the fuse
He could not run and pick it up and throw it in the street
There were far too many people there too many running feet.

Take cover! yelled the soldier, Take cover for your lives
And the Irishmen threw down their young and stood before their wives
They turned towards the soldier their eyes alive with fear
For God’s sake save our children or they’ll end their short lives here

The soldier moved towards the bomb his stomach like a stone
Why was this his battle God why was he alone
He lay down on the package and he murmured one farewell
To those at home in England to those he loved so well.

He saw the sights of summer felt the wind upon his brow
The young girls in the city parks how precious were they now
The soaring of the swallow the beauty of the swan
The music of the turning world so soon would it be gone

A muffled soft explosion and the room began to quake
The soldier blown across the floor his blood a crimson lake
There was no time to cry or shout there was no time to moan
And they turned their children’s faces from the blood and from the bones

The crowd outside soon gathered and the ambulances came
To carry off the body of a pawn lost in the game
And the crowd they clapped and cheered and they sang their rebel song
One soldier less to interfere where he did not belong.

And will the children growing up learn at their mothers’ knees
The story of the soldier who bought their liberty
Who used his youthful body as a means towards an end
Who gave his life to those who called him murderer not friend.

**********

Hopefully the peace process that has recently been brokered
in N.Ireland will continue to gain everlasting peace there, and
that this is something which will spread around the globe.

There are many acts of heroism carried out by armed forces
worldwide from all countries involved in conflict and peace
keeping which go without notice, and it is a sad fact that far
too many do not return.

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One Response to “Remembrance – The Soldier”

  1. […] To All My Loved Ones                     The Soldier   […]

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