• Military Life,  Poetry

    Some gave all

    We can never understand what those who have experienced war have been through. We can never take the grief of lost friends and colleagues from them. We cannot erase the things they’ve seen. We cannot restore sound sleep or carefree days, no matter how much we want to. Last year I wrote of letting go and moving on now that Mr Collier has joined me on the outside. But it’s not that easy. The experience of war never leaves them. They return, but they are never the same. This time of year is rough. Regardless of our political or ideological views we can be compassionate towards the human being standing…

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    Military Life,  Miscellany

    The power of ritual

    Battlefield tea and rollies  A couple of years ago Mr Collier was preparing for a particularly difficult assault on an enemy position. His team had positioned themselves out of range and with good cover, and they waited for right time to begin. This was always a fraught moment. Eager to get the job done, everything planned and contingencies in place. Everyone knew their role. But there was always an element of the unknown, of possible chaos that one cannot plan for. And so, the men lingered in a state of limbo and waited for the signal to move out.  At this point Mr Collier could be found off on his…

  • Military Life

    Last man standing

    Remembrance day in a pandemic Things are different this year in so many ways, 2020 has been quite the year. For everyone. We’ve all had to change the way we live in order to stay safe and to keep our loved ones safe and well. This is the first time in many years that I have not attended a Remembrance Day service in person, and whilst I am disappointed, I know that in the spirit of sacrifice and mateship engendered by our service people throughout history, we will do what is required of us and demonstrate our remembrance and solidarity from a distance. We are not alone, thousands around the…