My dad fought in World War II
Joined up at nineteen, fresh out of school.
From the ranks of the ROTC
And into the Royal Artillery.
His dad before him had been a gunner
So selecting that military branch was no stunner.
He fought in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and such
But never talked about it very much.
He had a big scar on his shin.
His 'war wound' he'd call it, with a grin.
It was not the result of enemy action.
He fell off a motorcycle in the desert and ended up in traction.
He mentioned once, his greatest day
And only once, I have to say
His AckAck battery shot down seventeen Messerschmitts.
But he went quiet then, thinking about young men blown to bits.
When he came home he settled down and got a wife.
But I think, on the whole, the war was the time of his life.
My mum and my uncles and aunties also served
But they didn't reminisce much about what they had observed.
Dad once showed me a picture of his brigade.
A panorama of men in khaki shorts and dusty knees displayed.
He pointed to a grainy face. "That man, there," I heard him softly say
"Was killed in action, on the very last day."