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:
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”