Big thank you from

The rifle shot that echoes in my mind


I was a young lad when they took me away,
Able and willing to join up that day,
A spring in my step and pride in my heart,
Sound in the knowledge I'd be doing my part.

Away from my home but at ease with new friends,
Funny how youthful exuberance ends
When faced with aggressors intent on your death,
Only content when you draw your last breath.

I was a young lad when I saw my first kill,
The moment surreal, everything still,
A faraway `crack' was the first that I heard,
The startled ascent of a noisy blackbird.

I turned to the pal upon whom I relied,
The life once inside me fell silent and died,
My senses assaulted, a scene crimson red,
His eyes so expressive told me coldly: 'l am dead'.

I'm now an old man — what I've seen haunts within,
I close my eyes tightly, I'm back stood with him,
My friend of whose ghost I will never be free,
I live with the thought that it could have been me.

My young life was altered by scars borne of war,
The image of slaughter has left my mind raw,
Fighting for country, they called us `the few',
I hope you remember we did this for you.

Chris Jones,
Chippenham, Wiltshire.

Daily Mail letters