PTSD. The whole issue of how servicemen and servicewomen are treated by goverments after they have served their purpose is one which makes my blood boil. The PTSD associated with military service is unique and very complex and sadly even now little understood. Here in the U.K we have a charity called ‘Help for Heroes’ which is excellent but sums up the situation in the sense that it wouldn’t be needed if the government had any decency and honour.
At the end is the famous 1890 poem TOMMY by Kipling. It seems service personnel have always been treated unfairly.
A BITTER PILL
Don’t walk past my paving stone Bed,
Stop and I’ll tell you a Story,
of heartache, fear and Glory.
Love now lost and Men that I led.
To Boys Army life is such fun,
I was just the same
so entered the Game
put on Boots and picked up a Gun.
Uniform was the reason I married you,
often teased my Wife,
who completed my Life.
But our Days together were already few.
I thought Children would mend the break,
so it seemed to be,
that kids were the Key,
we were only together for their sake.
I was sent to fight for a Country’s democracy.
A Land of Dust and Hate,
to hold a dying Mate,
by a Government built on hypocrisy.
At Home I was haunted by where I’d been,
I woke to the Sight
of her gone that Night
never knowing I had Wounds unseen.
I carry forever all the horror that I saw,
branded not stable,
and therefore not able.
Broken by that murderous Tour.
It’s a bitter Pill and so may seem,
so strange to others
but not my Brothers
that of going to War I still Dream
I WENT into a public ‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, ” We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, go away ” ;
But it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, wait outside “;
But it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide.
Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap.
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul? ”
But it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes ” when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes, ” when the drums begin to roll.
We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be’ind,”
But it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind.
You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! ”
But it’s ” Saviour of ‘is country ” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An ‘Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!