Rank Humour


He was getting old and paunchy, his hair was falling fast, He sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past. Of a war that he had fought in, and the deeds that he had done, In exploits with his buddies, those heroes every one.

Though sometimes to his neighbours, his tales became a joke, All his pals had listened, for they know of where he spoke. But we'll hear his tales no longer, for old Bill has passed away, And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He'll not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife, For he lived quite an ordinary and uneventful life. He held a job and raised a family, going quietly on his way, The Work's won't know his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in State, While thousands note their passing, and proclaim that they were great. Papers tell their life stories from the time that they were young, But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution, to the welfare of our Land, A chap who breaks his promises and con's his fellow man? Or does the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife, Go off to serve his Country and offers up his life.

A politician's stipend and style in which he lives, Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives, While the ordinary soldier, who offers up his all, Is paid off with a medal and no doubt a pension small.

It's so easy to forget them, for it was a long time ago, That the 'Old Bill' of our Country went to battle but we know, It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys, Who won for us the freedom our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand, Would you want a politician, with his ever shifting sand? Or would you prefer a soldier who has sworn to defend, His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end.

He was just a common soldier his ranks are growing thin, But his presence should remind us, we may need his like again. For when Countries are in conflict, then we find the soldiers part, Is to clean up all the troubles the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honour while he's here to hear the praise, Then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days. Perhaps a simple headline in the paper that would say, "Our Country is in mourning for a Soldier died today".

A. Lawrence Vaincourt
(this poem was written for his Canadian newspaper column in 1987)

Rank Humour can be purchased as a book with all proceeds shared by
The Royal Leicestershire Regimental Museum Appeal Fund and the Royal British Legion.