‘Your Country Needs You’ by Pete Brammer

“YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU” the notice read,
with Kitchener pointing a finger,
So Willie Johnson joined the queue,
An extremely fit, Arsenal winger.

The last time he’d held a gun in his hand,
Was playing Cowboys and Indians ’till dark,
Along alleyways, backyards and gardens,
As well as the local town park

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‘We must remember them’ by Pete Brammer

For V J Day

Pete’s father was a Grenadier Guard in WW2. He was commended for gallantry and carried the coffin of King George V

Like delicate wings of butterflies,
Red petals gently fall,
Past stony faces gathered there,
Inside the Albert Hall.

They shall not grow old as we grow old,
Those fallen brave young men,
Complacency must not creep in,
We must remember them.

Royal Navy and the Merchant Men,
Out on the cruel, cruel sea,
Were taken out by U.boat crews,
As they fought to keep us free.

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“Röslein auf der Heide” – by David R Graham

For a mere second the soldier closed his eyes and succumbed to sleep’s black embrace. It was long enough for him to shuffle off the rain-slicked duckboards; off that narrow avenue between places of fragile safety.

He landed on his back on the thick, bomb churned mud.

Staring wide-eyed at the grey, rain-filled sky, he screamed a muffled cry of commingled anger and terror at his fatal mistake.

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‘I Remember’ by Pete Brammer

I remember what they said,
At the outbreak of the war,
‘It will be all over come Christmas’
Yet I can recall with such horror,
How our lads were slaughtered,
Thousands and thousands, en mass.

I remember signing on, with workmates,
All eager to do our bit.
“Your country needs you.” old Kitchener said.
I remember we proudly marched through town,
People cheered, waving Union flags,
For they could not envisage, most would end up dead.

I remember the years in sludgy trenches,
As we struggled, to keep our sanity,
Suffering trench foot, fleas and mites,
Waiting for the shout, “Over the top.”
With the accompanying shrilled whistles,
Instantly obeying, we set off to fight.

I remember too, mustard gas clouds,
Drifting across ‘No Man’s Land’
Donning the life saving gas masks,
As shells whistled over our heads,
All wondering where they would land,
To be followed, by deafening blasts.

I remember the mud, changing colour,
As it clung to out boots and putties,
A nerve tingling scarlet red,
Skin and bone flying everywhere,
With life blood from innocent lads,
Some wounded, but most of them dead.

I remember thinking, about my wife,
Upset, to be missing my child,
You see, I had walked away from the conflict,
Now I stand before the firing squad,
Their rifles, pointing at my heart,

Please God, forgive me…

Then by Fred Foster

Fred’s response to the trigger ‘then’:

THEN is a word that can be used in a number of contexts. As a warning (Now then) or it could refer to a recent happening (Just then) or it could be anticipation (And then) or it could be long ago THEN/ Way back when. As a boy during the war years this is what it was like THEN

Grandad is it true I’m told That you know lots of things because you’re old

Are there giants that shake the ground

And are there fairies that fly around

And why does the moon stay up in the sky

And if it falls will we all die

Why does the sea rush up to the land

And why is the sea shore made of sand

And why is the sea so wide and deep

And are there monsters when we sleep

And when you were a boy like me

Did you ever fall and graze your knee

And living for so many years

Do you still cry those salty tears.


Now old is wise they tell me so

But so many things I’ll never know

The sun comes out to warm the day

The moon at night to light the way

The sand down by the sea it seems

Is for building castles and weaving dreams

And the fairies come at night they say

To drive the giants and monsters away

And when I was a boy like you

I fell and cried just like you do

But now I’m old I never cry

I think I’ve got something in my eye.

Coming Home to War by David R Graham

David’s response to the trigger ‘then’:

Coming Home to War

By David R Graham. 26.09.16


‘What d—! Who d’feck–!’


‘Killian? Is that you, Killian?’


‘Jesus Killian! What d’feck are ye doin’ comin’ up on me in d’dark like that? Ye frightened d’feckin’ shite out’a me. Whew. Ye made it back then? Come in’t d’light an’ let me have a look at ye.’

‘No, Callum. I live in the shadows now.’

‘Jesus Christ, Killian. What d’hell have they done t’ye man? Ye have eyes that would frightin’ d’divil himself. Was it bad?’

‘Worse than bad, Callum.’

‘When did ye get back?’

‘I didn’t.’

‘What? What are ye say—?’

‘You haven’t seen me, Callum. I’m not here.’


‘You haven’t seen me.’

‘Right. I’m with ye, Killian. What about Sean, an’ d’Hardy boys? Are they with ye? ’

‘No. They didn’t make it.’

‘Jesus, Killian. All five a them?’


‘Thank God Maddy’s not here t’hear that. The news would a killed her deader than Carpenter did.’

‘He made his play, then?’

‘O aye, he did that. Not long after you lads went off. An’ a bloody play it was too.’

‘Tell me.’

‘He killed everyone, Killian. Burned, bombed, an’ shot his way t’d’top a d’shite heap.’

‘You’re alive.’

‘Ye can call me that, Killian. Others might call me walkin’ dead. I escaped death by d’skin a me teeth. I’m worth fifty pounds to whoever takes me in. You found me, Killian. That worries me. How long have I got? He’s sittin’ up there now lordin’ it over d’whole city. No one can touch him, Killian. He has everyone eatin’ out a his slop bowl.’

‘No one is going to find you, Callum. Or me.’

‘What are ye goin’ t’do, Killian? What can d’two a do against Carpenter’s army?’

‘Tell me about his empire, Callum. Every detail.’

‘Empire’s right, Killian. He sits on top of the entire pile. From City Hall down to d’sewers an’ every club, bar, restaurant, casino, cinema, bettin’ shop, an’ barbers in between. You name it, Killian, an’ if Carpenter doesn’t already own it, he soon will. An’ he’s a army a coldblooded villains who are only too happy t’do whatever dirty work is necessary t’keep his slaves coughin’ up their cash. So you tell me, Killian. What can d’two a us do against him?’

‘Others are on their way, Callum.’

‘Who? Where are they comin’ from?’

‘From the battlefields of Europe. I’ve gathered my own army of coldblooded villains, Callum. Carpenter’s army will be no match for them.’

‘Jesus, Killian. Are ye goin’ t’take him on?’

‘No, Callum. I’m not going to take him on. I’m going to destroy him.’

‘Jesus, Killian. What d’ye want me t’do?’

‘I need to know everything about every one of his soldiers, Callum. They fear no one. They’ll all have a daily routine. I want to know those routines. I want to know the details of every building Carpenter owns, every vehicle he owns and uses. I want to know all of his daily movements; where he eats, where he sleeps, where he works, where he plays, where he does business, and where he keeps his money.’

‘I can’t do it, Killian. I’ve a price on me head. I wouldn’t last five minutes.’

‘You’re going to live, Callum. Disguise yourself. Go behind your enemy’s lines, and move freely among them. You’ll not be alone. I will be covering you. Others will not be far away.’

‘When d’ye plan t’make y’ur move, Killian?’

‘You’ll know, Callum.’

‘When, Killian?  When will I know?’

‘When each of Carpenter’s soldiers lies with a spike through his throat, Callum: You will know then.’

Another Man’s War by Faymarie Morris

Through reddened, rheumy eyes the old man gazed
At a hostile face he didn’t know.
Why should he feel as defeated as this
When he overcame much worse, years ago.
He never sought thanks or glory, or praise
And he didn’t crave medals to prove it,
But a little respect might help heal the wounds
Or at least go a long way towards it.
But what did he get instead for his loss,
All those arduous years of devotion?
A pittance to last the rest of his days
In a world without warmth or emotion.
Oh how he longed for his life on the land.
All the heartbreak. The pleasure.The sorrow.
He would happily trade all his todays
Without even a thought of tomorrow,
For that sweet smelling soil, after the rain.
For those sunsets of red, gold and yellow.
For his mother’s laughter, even her tears,
And the way that his father would bellow.
But these were such long distant memories
Of some far away, more innocent time.
Before he decided to give his all
To another man’s war, in another clime.
He had fought for a world fit to live in
And despaired at the misery around,
As those other brave souls fell before him
And their crimson blood sank into the ground.
They were told that the world would be freer.
That their sacrifice would not be unsung.
That repression and terror were ended,
That the bells of peace would always be rung.
But the fact was, that angry young stranger,
Who had beaten his old face black and blue,
Lived alone in his own private war zone,
[And all he’d got was a dollar or two.]
Hadn’t cared who had fought for his freedom
Or the sacrifices that had been made.
And what was the point of remembrance,
When remembering only brings pain?

Faymarie Morris

A Brush with the Enemy by Michael Healy

A Brush with the Enemy by Michael Healy

Father was a Military Man

Who hailed from North of the Border

Smart in his kilt, hat and Uniform

He would play his bagpipes as his team performed

A Pipe Major in the Black Watch, and proud.

Sadly the flames of World War II were loud

And he and his bagpipes had to part.


As war was declared he was promoted and transferred,

In charge of a battery of anti-aircraft guns, men, and kit,

Posted to London, in the middle of the Blitz,

A busy time for all, with he and his men often under attack.

Transferred again, to the Liverpool docks, they were glad to be back.


After so many firings the guns were cleaned

With a brush being pushed down the barrel

During one such cleaning the Germans attacked,

The orders were given for the guns to fire back.


After the action was over, one brush was found to be missing.

In later life my father would muse, what must the Germans have thought?

When a brush flew past from below, as those British Soldiers fought.

Despite their attempts to sweep the sky,

the guns were attacked and it seemed he might die.


The rest of the story as life carried on, is really quite happy and bright.

Transferred to hospital, over many months, he began to regain his light.

With the care of the doctors, and the wiles of the nurses, he started to notice their smiles,

One in particular, her name was Nurse Margery, her smile caught onto Dads’ heart,


War over, in February ’47, they were happily married,

March ‘48, I finished their story, as that wee bairn she had carried.

Pleased to report, my occasional slumbers, were accompanied by the skirl of his pipes.

Dad would recall his stories, behind the smoke of his pipe, and as I listened I often wondered if that brush ever did come to light?


HIS DARKEST HOUR   By David R Graham




Davids Parliament logo

June 3rd 1940


 Your Majesty,


Twenty four days have passed since I gratefully accepted your Majesty’s invitation to be the Prime Minister of your Government. Throughout those days I have come to realise just how serious a situation your army and your people face from Herr Hitler’s military actions on the Continent and in eastern Europe. It galls me to say it your Majesty, but say it I must. They are actions that appear to be unstoppable.

The plain and unsavoury truth is that the combined forces of Great Britain and France have proven to be no match for the German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe. And, as I had privately long suspected, the Maginot Line has proven to have given General Gamelin and his Chiefs of Staff a false sense of security. The Wehrmacht have simply marched round its impressive, but ultimately ineffective fortifications and entered Belgium through the ‘impenetrable’ Ardennes: flouting that country’s neutrality with impunity.

After withstanding repeated hammer blows from the might of the Germany Panzer brigades, General Van Caelenberge and his brave Belgian troops were fought to a standstill and, in a desperate bid to prevent the total annihilation of his forces, he surrendered.

Likewise, in the Netherlands, General Winkelman, by his own admission, had insufficient forces and materiel at his disposal to mount any long term defence against the seemingly unstoppable might of the Wehrmacht and he too was forced to surrender.

This sorry situation has been played out yet again in Norway; particularly at Narvik, where allied forces, under the command of Major General Fleischer, were ultimately unable to recapture the Port and deny its use as an ice free harbour to the enemy.

Coupled with these major military setbacks is the advent of Italy’s entry into the war. At a time when the soldiers of French were already fought to a standstill, ‘the hand that held the dagger has stuck it into the back of its neighbour,’ to borrow the words of President Roosevelt. This treacherous act on the part of Il Duce, left General Winkelman with no other recourse but to surrender his forces to the Germans. The subsequent lamentable martial stamina of the Italian forces henceforth, speaks for itself.

In tandem with the aforementioned, is the stark, undeniably, reality that our own forces have proven to have been totally inadequately prepared to fight a modern war. Suffice it to say that our troops have been badly trained and ill equipped from the outset. In consequence of this appalling and unjustifiable mismanagement and mishandling, over many years, a very desperate rescue operation is underway to try to bring home as much of our shattered army as is humanly possible. I pray God that not many more of your Majesty’s brave soldiers will die needlessly on the blood-soaked shores of Dunkirk.

It is now12:01am and my heart lies heavy in my chest at the very thought of having to write the following words to your Majesty. They are word that I have agonised over for many days and week; words that can only hint at the many more weeks of intense debate with my fellow members of the War Cabinet and those of your Majesty’s Government: words, which I never imagined I could ever bring myself to think, let alone utter and never actually to write to your Majesty. But write them I must. I, Winston Churchill, your most obedient servant and Prime Minister of your Government, seek your Majesty’s leave to sue for peace with Nazi Germany.

 Your obedient servant and Prime Minister,

 churchill's signature

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, Hon, RA.


A Candid Reality On Searching Truth In Conflict by Steven Halinski

A Candid Reality

On Searching

Truth In Conflict

“In commemoration of World War 1”

by Steven Halinski

 So this is the fight left to fight?

The war is over but things aren’t right.

Easier to lose than to try,

Very much a disaster

Every day and night,

Nestled in my trenches tight.


Hail the bullets that hail –

A reason to thrive or fail

Listen closer and you will see

Inner thoughts never seen;

Notice now this new found truth

Soldiered from your toil and gruel,

Knife the lies that comfort you

Instigate your right for truth!