John Potten


The “old Paras” from the regiment, met up once a year,
To talk and reminisce of days gone past, and drown themselves in beer,
So they’d take a coach trip, to a lively “services inn”
And huddle in the corner to escape the noise and din,
Forty five years onwards the group was down to four,
Old age and Hitler’s war machine had accounted for many more,
Standing by the bar arrogant and drunk, a younger man of 23,
(His seventh pint he’d sunk)
He’d been there all evening, his money flashed about,
Overhearing our heroes he turned and started to shout

“Why should I be grateful? By yourselves you won the war?
I’ve done two tours of Ireland, Bosnia and more!

(He put his hands on their table and pushing out his face)

“Call yourselves war heroes? You’re all a bloody disgrace!
I don’t owe my freedom to just the likes of you!
I’ve been in many a campaign and I’ve lost some good friends too!”

One of the group, ol’ Harry, slowly slid back his chair,
And standing up the best he could he met the young mans glare.

“I know just what you’re saying, we’ve all lost friends that’s right,
We came to talk of our memories, so why are you spoiling for a fight?”

“So you fancy your chances bit of a fighter then ol’ man?
I could have beat you when you were my age,
So I’d call it a day while you can”

(This didn’t rattle ol’ Harry, so he nonchalantly waved him away)

“If you got a problem old man say what you gotta say!”

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry
Awarded: October 22, 2004
(As Harry stood to say his view,
A fist struck home from out the blue
Back long ago, field hospital bed,
A life long past danced in his head
Friends and voices of yesteryear
Then the anger then the tears
Through trembling lips ol’ Harry spoke)

“We’ve all lost out and that’s no joke!
But no one fought wars 1 and 2
To tolerate that from scum like you!”

(And then it overcame him,
an uncontrollable rage,
He sent his fists over the top,
‘Gainst a man over half his age)

Harry turned and then he said,
“I know you’ve seen and made the dead
Some men drink and some men think,
But you my friend are at the brink
So just remember why we’re here,
We’ve all lost friends close and dear”.

So maybe just drink talking?
A soldier’s life a mess?
If at 90 they’re still walking,
They’ve rid their battle stress.