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 A Tribute our lost in Northern Ireland

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Number of posts : 195
Location : The Universe
Registration date : 2008-02-03

PostSubject: A Tribute our lost in Northern Ireland   3rd October 2009, 10:59 am

The link to Palace Barracks Memorial is perhaps the best tribute to our fallen in Northern Ireland for the almost 40 years of troubles beginning in 1960"s and ending 1998.
Ironically the first and last Soldiers killed were members of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and both were shot by IRA Sniper.
The first Soldier killed was Gnr Robert Curtis in 1971 and the last Soldier L/ Bdr Stephen Restorick in 1998.

There was more than 500 British soldiers killed (murdered) and over 6000 wounded during the nearly 40 year conflict in Northern Ireland, which has recently been down played and is now just called the Troubles!!,

Also in 1971 whilst guarding a civilian police station in Belfast, Sergeant Mike Willitts of The 2nd Parachute Regiment was killed when he made the ultimate sacrifice by diving on a bomb thrown through the Police Station window by the IRA. Because of his unselfish act of Bravery saved untold numbers of civilian women children and fathers gathered in a police station

"Sgt Willis was awarded the George Medal Posthumously".

Harvey Andrews, was so struck by the incident he wrote and recorded the song Soldier as a tribute to Sgt Willitts and to make the point that soldiers, too, are humans

Broadcasts of Andrews' recording were banned for
some time by the BBC lest feelings be exacerbated in the nationalist
community of Northern Ireland. The Ministry of Defence advised (and
still advises) soldiers not to sing the song in pubs where it might
cause trouble.

Lyrics of the song;

Harvey Andrews

In a station in the city a British soldier stood
Talking to the people there if the people would
Some just stared in hatred, and others turned in pain
And the lonely British soldier wished he was back home again

Come join the British Army! said the posters in his town
See the world and have your fun come serve before the Crown
The jobs were hard to come by and he could not face the dole
So he took his country's shilling and enlisted on the roll

For there was no fear of fighting, the Empire long was lost
Just ten years in the army getting paid for being bossed
Then leave a man experienced a man who's made the grade
A medal and a pension some mem'ries and a trade

Then came the call for Ireland as the call had come before
Another bloody chapter in an endless civil war
The priests they stood on both sides the priests they stood behind
Another fight in Jesus's name the blind against the blind

The soldier stood between them between the whistling stones
And then the broken bottles that led to broken bonmes
The petrol bombs that burnt his hands the nails that pierced his skin
And wished that he had stayed at home surrounded by his kin

The station filled with people the soldier soon was bored
But better in the station than where the people warred
The room filled up with mothers with daughters and with sons
Who stared with itchy fingers at the soldier and his gun

A yell of fear a screech of brakes the shattering of glass
The window of the station broke to let the package pass
A scream came from the mothers as they ran towards the door
Dragging their children crying from the bomb upon the floor

The soldier stood and could not move his gun he could not use
He knew the bomb had seconds and not minutes on the fuse
He could not run and pick it up and throw it in the street
There were far too many people there too many running feet

Take cover! yelled the soldier, Take cover for your lives
And the Irishmen threw down their young and stood before their wives
They turned towards the soldier their eyes alive with fear
For God's sake save our children or they'll end their short lives here

The soldier moved towards the bomb his stomach like a stone
Why was this his battle God why was he alone
He lay down on the package and he murmured one farewell
To those at home in England to those he loved so well

He saw the sights of summer felt the wind upon his brow
The young girls in the city parks how precious were they now
The soaring of the swallow the beauty of the swan
The music of the turning world so soon would it be gone

A muffled soft explosion and the room began to quake
The soldier blown across the floor his blood a crimson lake
There was no time to cry or shout there was no time to moan
And they turned their children's faces from the blood and from the bones

The crowd outside soon gathered and the ambulances came
To carry off the body of a pawn lost in the game
And the crowd they clapped and cheered and they sang their rebel song
One soldier less to interfere where he did not belong

And will the children growing up learn at their mothers' knees
The story of the soldier who bought their liberty
Who used his youthful body as a means towards an end
Who gave his life to those who called him murderer not friend

The song performed by Harvey Andrews


U Tube video


A Time line to Northen Ireland:-


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