Ann-Marie Spittle

THE LAST TOMMY

Harry Patch
The last British survivor to have fought in the World War I trenches, Harry Patch, died on 25 July 2009 at the age of 111. He was conscripted into the Army aged 18 and fought in the Battle of Passchendaele at Ypres in 1917 in which more than 70,000 British soldiers died.
Look at me
A simple tommy
Now an old decrepit man
Sent to the front when just a lad
I have seen the world
In the trenches of France
Battled the devil on his own ground
But my loss was great
And so was my mission
Pass on the word
Tell the story of the fallen
So that the future
Does not become the past
Did I fail?
Why did they die?
Here and now
Today and yesterday
Youth’s fair blush
Trodden under the track
Of the war machine
A hand rests on my shoulder
A whisper hits my ear
‘You did your best
And that by me is enough’
A soft kiss brushes my forehead
And I know peace

Author’s Note: In remembrance of Harry Patch the last British Tommy from WWI