Blood Brothers In Arms

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Blood Brothers In Arms


My uncle Jack nearly died

in the battle of the Somme.

Crawling from his trench

he was the victim of the bomb

that threw him in the air

and killed his brother, Tom.


Deafened by the blast

and blinded by the mud

he lay upon the battlefield

drowning in his blood,

praying God would save him

as only his God could.


But the gods were looking elsewhere

and didn’t hear his cry,

so it was left to a soldier

to go out there and try

to save Jack where he lay wounded

waiting patiently to die.


Jack saw the muddied face

and heard the muffled tone

and he gripped the gloved hand

and with a wrenching moan

he was dragged from the shell hole

and would not, that day, die alone.


Six weeks in the hospital

and Jack was on his feet,

despite the shrapnel scars

he was so eager to meet

the soldier who had saved him

and thank him for the feat.


In walked private Khan

with cloth wrapped around his head

and the smile that Jack remembered

when he thought he was surely dead -

and though their skins were different colours

their wounds were both bright red.


Soldiers died upon the Somme

of every race and creed.

for Death does not distinguish

and War does not take heed

of the bigoted fallacy

that only white men bleed.


So when you see the racists

and hear the oft repeated lie

that only the English suffered

and only the English die -

remember that the poppy’s scarlet

and then remember why.

bloodgreat warmuslim combatantsparablepoppythe somme


A Sting In The Tale ►



Fri 23rd Nov 2018 15:00

I am finding it hard to comment.

Tears running though my soul ripping me apart.

Your words cut deep my friend


jennifer Malden

Tue 23rd Oct 2018 17:04

great writing! very moving. In the war cementery here about one third of the soldiers are Ghurkas, about 700. As they were fighting in the Appennines and they were the only mountain troops we had.


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Ian Whiteley

Tue 23rd Oct 2018 16:44

Thanks for the comments and likes you lot - I really appreciate it

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Fri 19th Oct 2018 19:15

This is one of the most moving pieces I've had the pleasure of reading for quite a while, Ian.

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 19th Oct 2018 17:21

Good strong stuff as the November memories loom large.
Togetherness in adversity
Against a common foe,
Taking as you find, old chum,
Is the only way to go.
Every race and every creed
Will find its way to bear
The qualities that the victors need...
And the hardships they must share.
But common cause has many shoots
And peacetime leads to more,
When blood and belief turn to their roots -
And each man to his shore.

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John Coopey

Fri 19th Oct 2018 17:16

One of your very best, Ian.
It is a matter of some pride to me as a past verger at Selby Abbey that the Remembrance stall of poppies offers emblems of all kinds - Christian crosses, Muslim crescents, Stars of David, Hindu aums, Sikh khandas and non-faith poppies.

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Wolfgar Miere

Fri 19th Oct 2018 17:08

I share the sentiment of this Ian, very much.

There are some wonderful photographs of the Royal Pavillion in Brighton, specifically of the period of time when it was transformed into a hospital for those injured returning from the Western Front, take a look. You are probably familiar with this already.

And now I will relate some personal experience (forgive me)😎yawn........

22 years I spent in green, I went to too many horrible beautiful places and I can tell you this for free (it is obvious, again forgive me) when the world is raining crap down on you no-one cares what colour, creed or particular other persuasion their brothers are. Most soldiers with prolonged exposure to hostility carry that with them through life forever, not all, but most

I sometimes think if we could bombard fortunate civilians like this for just ten minutes in a trench with people they hate it might just wake them up to the futility of war, of course that would be a ridiculous thing to do but believe me it would make some people wake the f--- up.

I have afghan friends that risked their lives alongside me, likewise Kosovans, Congalese, Arabs of all persuasions, Sierra Leonian, Irish, every hell hole I've been in I had people as my brothers who some civilians might see and immediately perceive as their enemies.

War teaches you so much but those who experience it can never truly impart it to those who haven't, and that as frustrating as it is may be a good thing, maybe or maybe not.

As for politicians, we cannot talk so exclusively about their lack of care for their men, some soldiers become politicians.

I was for two years on the protection team of the last operationally serving Field Marshall in the British Army, I travelled the bloody world with him (literally the bloody world) and he did give a shit so much so that I saw his every heightened emotion up close.

Rank does not exclusively destroy humanity, I can testify to that, because even the officers in the trenches get shit on.

I really should shut the f--- up, but I won't!

I feel the absolute necessity to speak up as so few others who have served seem to (believe me it is difficult, because civilians generally don't really want to hear us, they just want stories not reality, flags and f----- bands is all they want) but there has to be representation. People can think what they like about that but I won't shrink from it, and stuff the bloody stiff upper lip attitude, easy for civilians to quote that nonsense. Just to say to everyone, I have been accused of stolen valour on here, been accused of all kinds of nonsense. That is how I have on occasion been treated when I tried to speak of my experience, some nights it nearly broke me, (no joke) that's support for you. Even had clowns asking for my military records FFS! and so it goes on and on. You stick your head above the parapet and that's what happens folks, why would civvy street be any different than anything else after all that shit.

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Brian Maryon

Fri 19th Oct 2018 16:25

Good one Ian. You are right...race does not appear to matter in certain situations. But I bet if these two then found themselves back in Britain or India after WW1 it would have been difficult for their friendship to endure. More possible now of course in these enlightened times (!)

Big Sal

Fri 19th Oct 2018 15:14

Beautiful like blooming hollyhocks in war-torn Syria.

I've seen lots of war poetry, and this one so bluntly tackled emotion after emotion well in such blatant terms, and with a rhythm I could feel. You did very well with this Ian, I'd love to hear this in song form.

Maybe it's the visceral reality of war, or the unsung songs still floating in the fight's shadow that ring true to my ears, but one thing is for sure - it is some of the best to read.


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