William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

SOME SOLDIERING MEMORIES

A lotta tings were did and seen
wen I was serving my young queen
now she’s ol’ and I am too
my days of soldiering are through

Seen wonders of the world out there
trekked far fields, breathed mountain air
jumped from planes up in the sky
saw good friends get sick and die

From Griesbach to Petawawa
and Calgary to Beirut
and over there in Deutschland
I wore my soldier’s suit

Now that I’m on the pension
I get my Army cheque
I pay my way and as they say
Ich bin nicht so schlecht![1]

Ich bin nicht so schlecht: I’m not that bad

Author’s Note: Canada’s most impressive tribute overseas to those Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War is the majestic and inspiring Canadian National Vimy Memorial which overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge, about eight kilometres northeast of Arras. The Memorial does more than mark the site of the engagement that Canadians were to remember with more pride than any other operation of the First World War. It stands as a tribute to all who served their country in battle in that four-year struggle and particularly to those who gave their lives. At the base of the Memorial, these words appear in French and in English:

TO THE VALOUR OF THEIR COUNTRYMEN IN THE GREAT WAR
AND IN MEMORY OF THEIR SIXTY THOUSAND DEAD
THIS MONUMENT IS RAISED BY THE PEOPLE OF CANADA

Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial, France
Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial, France

Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial, France
Vimy Ridge Canadian War Memorial in the 60s. Photograph ©Copyright circa 1960s by Billy Willbond