Kettering man’s heartfelt Remembrance poem

Poppy stock
Poppy stock

A Kettering man was moved to write a poem after this year’s Remembrance Day parades.

David Drake, 70, watched the parade at the Cenotaph in London and thought about his grandfather, Charles Edgar Thomas, who fought in the First World War in the Royal Engineers.

Mr Drake says he was so moved that he tried his hand at poetry.

He said: “Every year it gets a bit more moving to me and I just wanted to write something down.

“I’ve never written any poetry before.

“My grandfather served in Afghanistan and India but he never liked talking about it.

“He died 40 years ago but I still think about him a lot.”

Mr Drake’s poem is here:

My Grandfather

He would not talk, I never knew

the things he saw or had to do.

Like many more, he sat and thought

of all the men with whom he’d fought.

The difference was a lucky charm,

that seemed to keep him free from harm.

He didn’t hide, he didn’t run.

He found it hard to hold his gun.

He ducked, he couched, he crawled, he cried

while all about him, his friends died.

There was no reason, there was no rhyme

why the bullets missed him every time.

He crawled left, he darted right.

He was afraid he’d die of fright.

And then they stopped, the nightmare sounds,

the screams and cries that knew no bounds.

Around him lay his friends and foes.

Soft moans and whimpers and other woes

were all that was left of this small battle,

apart from the dead and the wounded, and the rattle

of death in the throats of a few

who knew that there was naught to do

but use the moments they had left

to recall their loved ones, now bereft.

He helped the dying, bandaged the hurt.

The words he spoke were brief and curt.

His thoughts calmed down, his hands stopped shaking.

He looked around, his heart was breaking.

So many friends no longer there,

the world was changed beyond compare.

When years from now, with the kids sat near,

begging and pleading and asking to hear

the tales of his time in the wars gone by,

He always replied - “They were the heroes, not I”