The leviathan of the sky does land
In England’s green and pleasant land.
Its cargo more precious than gold
The body of a hero, bold.
Once the giant’s engines stopped
The cargo ramp is gently dropped
Carried by six on shoulders true
The hero is saluted by the crew.
The coffin draped in Union Jack
Is slowly carried out the back.
Out of the dark and into light
Slowly down the ramp and to the right.
The six approach the hearse all black
And place the hero gently in the back.
The six then turn and march away
Their duty has been done this day.
Politicians usually have much to say
No sign of them near here this day.
They hide away and out of danger,
Much easier if the hero is a stranger.
The hearse with its precious load
Moves slowly out onto the road.
The floral tributes line the route
While comrades snap a smart salute.
At the edge of a Wiltshire town
The cortege slows its pace right down.
The streets are packed, many deep:
Some throw flowers, most just weep.
The crowd have come to say farewell,
The church bell rings a low death knell.
Regimental standards are lowered down
As the hero passed through the town.
The cortege stops and silence reigns
The townsfolk feel the family’s pain.
The nations’ flag lowered to half mast
Our brave hero is home at last.
©Copyright 2009 by Staff Sergeant Andrew McFarlane
British soldier’s scathing poem attacks politicians over the war in Afghanistan – as death toll reaches 204
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 4:28 PM on 17th August 2009
- Pointed poem slams ministers for avoiding repatriations
- Bloodiest month as record 94 soldiers were wounded in July
- Two of latest victims are named by Ministry of Defence
- Bob Ainsworth insists conflict is still ‘winnable’
- But army chief Dannatt says his predictions are unrealistic
A British soldier fighting in Afghanistan has written a pointed poem accusing ministers of ‘hiding’ when the bodies of fallen troops are returned to the UK.
The scathing verses, written from the front line, attacks politicians for avoiding the ever frequent ceremonies held when the coffins arrive back on British soil.
Entitled “Repatriation”, the poem is circulating among UK troops in Helmand Province and across the world after it was posted on Facebook.
It emerged today after a weekend which saw the British death toll from the conflict rise to 204 and following data showing July was the bloodiest month for injuries.
Meanwhile, army chief General Sir Richard Dannatt dismissed Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth’s prediction our troops could be off the front line within a year as unrealistic.
‘The realistic assessment is that we need to keep the kind of level of forces that we have until such time as the Afghan national security forces can themselves take over the work from us,’ the Chief of General Staff said.
‘Realistically, one year would be a challenge. Two to four years, maybe three to five years is more like the sort of time that it might well take. But our interests are all about generating the Afghan national security forces as quickly as we can. It’s their country.’
The poem tells of an unnamed ‘hero’ whose body is flown home and driven through Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire where crowds gather to pay their respects.
Its author Staff Sergeant Andy McFarlane, 47, who is serving with the Territorial Army, writes that there is ‘no sign’ of politicians because they prefer to stay away.
The father-of-two from Bicester, Oxfordshire, wrote another poem called “Sunset Vigil” after the deaths of eight soldiers in the space of 24 hours last week.