William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

AN ODE TO CYRIL “NEUF” BARNES

Bill Willbond: An Ode to Cyril (Neuf) Barnes
Cyril “Neuf” Barnes as an 18 year-old Rifleman in the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
At the QOR Reunion in the town of Calgary
I met my buddy Cyril from the 1 QOR of C[•]
It was there I learned that Cyril
had joined the Navy at his peril!

Cyril and me drank German beer
when we were young and had no fear
that caused us often, to be on CB[•]
Machine Gun Bill Fisher, Cyril and me

In the Navy was a thing called “Jam your Leave”[•]
but on ship all hands were on permanent CB
whenever they were out at sea
and that’s what Cyril told to me

So Cyril didn’t give a heck
when e’re they had him swab the deck
On board, no pack drill was carried on
so he sailed till they sang his retirement song

If there is a heaven, and I’m sure that there just might be,
It will be a place of no CB for the lads of 1 QOR of C
Where Cyril Barnes, Bill Fisher, Mucker Steele and me
will be excused from doing pack drill for all eternity!

No more we’ll paint the rocks, up to the Battalion TDM[•]
We’ll all be up there in company with other Riflemen
So Cyril, just like Rod King, you are a lifelong friend
I guess ya gotta kill me now; this poem is at an end!


Author’s Note: These are some of the guys I served on CB with and who are old soldiers that I am proud to call my friends.

  • Neuf Barnes – Rifleman Cyril Barnes served in the RCN until retirement; now lives in Victoria BC
  • Mucker Steele – Rifleman Art Steele now retired and living in Calgary was also at the reunion
  • Machine Gun Bill Fisher – Rifleman Bill Fisher WW2 and Korean War Vet now resides in Broadmead Old Soldier’s Home Hospital at Royal Oak in Victoria BC
  • Rod King – lost an eye to a machine gun hot empty casing in Germany; retired and now resides in Alberta. Rod was also at the reunion.

My old buddy “Neuf” Barnes said he would kill me if I wrote a poem about him. With that incentive in mind I pencilled the following poem on a piece of cardboard and gave it to him. He read it, smiled, folded it and placed it in his pocket so I won’t have to call this my obituary or death notice after all.

William Willbond
Canadian Soldier Poet
June 8, 2005

Dear Buck (Colin F. Jones – IWVPA Award Master)

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: June 14, 2005
Awarded: June 14, 2005
What an honour! My heart soars! There are a lot of poets much better than me who should receive these awards! To be nominated is the ultimate for any soldier poet!

There were 518 old Queen’s Own Soldier(s) at the reunion in Calgary and I saw many old comrades, including Neuf Barnes who was my old pack drill and CB cobber.

It’s a long drive from Victoria to Calgary but was well worth the trip. We loaded items gathered by ICROSS CANADA’S Colonel Don Ethell (Alberta Director) and his crew, and we hauled back three barrack boxes filled with prosthetic feet and legs which our partner, the Compassionate Ministry were happy to receive – they will go to the third world for the victims of mines left in the ground by modern armies. We also brought back a barrack box loaded with African comfort Izzy dolls for the HIV AIDS orphans in Malawi. So it was a beneficial trip for ICROSS CANADA, indeed.

Thanks again Buck; take care, mate!
Billy
June 14, 2005