Off To War

I cudn’t ‘ave signed me sen up for army any quicker than I did, soon as me eighteenth birthday came ‘round off I went to do me bit for King and country. Me Dad wa’ dead set ‘gainst it. Said “you’re a damned fool for wantin’ go and get thee sen blown up in some godless place. If you ‘ad owt sense ‘bout ye tha’d be gerrin down mine with me and ye brothers.”

It wa’ 1940, the war ‘ad been going for a year, I wanted to do me service before it wa’ all over, back then we thought it’d be done be Christmas, ‘ow wrong we were.

“Why would ye want to go off enyway? Go talk to fella at mine, get yeself a job and tha won’t ‘ave t’ worry about them enlisting lot.” Father gave me this speech every day, “I’m tellin’ ye now son, if tha goes runnin’ off to army tha’ll be no place ‘ere for ye when you get back. If ye gets back that is.”

I wa’ stationed in Scotland, in a place called Fort William I wa’ to become part o’ the Cameron Highlanders. I’d never travelled so far in me life. I paid no attention to the hills and scenery goin’ by me. I’d just left ‘ome for first time and my Father ‘ad made it clear I wa’ never welcome back. I’d never felt so alone in me life. I was numb and empty, those feelings consumed me so much that I felt no fear ‘bout goin’ to fight.

A dun’t like much t’ talk ‘bout those days durin’ war. I saw things that shouldn’t never be seen be nobody. ‘Orrible things, inhuman things. Me Granddaughter, Sarah, is always askin’ questions, “Wha’ were it like? Where did you go? Wha’ did you see?” I look into her brown eyes an’ I see all those little kiddies lyin’ on ground, dead, beautiful little faces smeared in blood. ‘Ow can you tell a little girl about those things?

Nobody will understand what we went through, nobody but the lads tha’ stood by me side whilst we made our way through wreckage of Hiroshima. When all your days are filled wi’ death an’ destruction you need a strong bunch o’ lads behind you. We helped each other through those days. A couldn’t write to me Mam or me Dad ‘bout the things that wa’ ‘appening, at times like that a person needs a family to look after ‘im an’ keep ‘im sane. So although I didn’t ‘ave me blood family, I had a bunch o’ lads that treated each other as brothers. We were thick as thieves and saw each other through tough times. Many of us came close to breaking, it’s only natural, we’d keep an eye out for each other though. If it looked like one o’ us was ‘aving an ‘ard time we’d rally ‘round and help ‘em along.

It’s funny really. After me family disowned me and I had meself fighting on t’other side o’ world,  I managed to find another family, a family that accepted me with open arms.


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