Poems – for reflection when you visit
by our resident poet Tony Church (55A Arb), “TeeCee” to his friends
1. The Memorial on Dedication Day
It stands in the shade of a green woodland glade, tranquil, restful, a place of reflection;
While a stream running near, nature’s melody, clear, is a setting for quiet recollection.
And here, at its heart, the stonemason’s art commemorates boyhood ambition,
To enlist, train and learn, and then, having earned their place, follow their chosen vocation.
This circle of stone tells of ‘Boy’s Schools’, now flown into history’s yellowing pages,
Of young boys’ transitions to skilful technicians, through eras of momentous changes.
Yet a building alone, whether timber or stone, was just an inanimate part
Of a fine learning place; the real soul was embraced by the youngsters who gave it that heart.
The names inscribed here total many long years of staunch service, in conflict and peace,
And with pride represents the thousands who went and forsook lives of comfort and ease.
But their deeds and careers over many long years bear a testimony of great truth,
That when they were trained, the military gained the finest examples of youth.
And those old boys, now gone, will forever live on in this cloistered and quiet sanctuary,
Though some that remain will return yet again, and remember times when all was very
Exciting and new on life’s threshold, imbued with eager, supreme expectation,
Lifelong friendships were made, never fated to fade, rooted firm in that youthful foundation.
So, pause as you pass this place, sit, read each name that’s chased into the stonework laid here.
Each one could tell stories of ordeals and glories that stem from a soldier’s career,
But in the beginning, ere the losing and winning that all in a martial life know,
That solid direction was laid by instruction in how to live life and to grow
Into maturity, learn of truth, loyalty, and, above all, of honour, fair play.
Lessons which then turned those boys into men, and a debt we can never repay.
Tony Church (TeeCee)
2. On reflection for the 2014 AANM Service
Although some places that they knew are now no longer there,
This corner of our native soil will still be here to bear
Witness to the youth of this fair land of ours, when they
Pledged loyally to serve Nation and Monarch, come what may.
Instructed in their tradesman’s skills with expertise well learned
While growing up in comradeship, they formed a bond that burned
Long in their hearts when they departed on their chosen way,
But always to remember those early, youthful days.
For sixty years and more these boys came to their country’s aid
In peace and war around the world, the difference that they made
Helped to ensure our military earned world-wide admiration,
By working tirelessly with grit and determination.
For those whose cost of this commitment was to prove so high,
This quiet place is their true home, no matter where they lie,
Remembering what they began with youthful expectation,
But ending much too soon in pursuit of this land’s salvation.
So sit upon these seats before you, read all that you see,
For this is an important part of our own history,
Maybe not the stories of the heroes, brave and bold,
But in it’s own momentous way, a tale that should be told.
And now, as we stand here, united in our common cause
Our thoughts perhaps of days long gone, the time has come to pause,
Remembering how we all came to be the very part
Of this, our proud fraternity, dear to all our hearts.
Ensuring that our story will remain, though years may fade
The memory of our being, and the difference that we made
Through many years of faithful service in the Army’s ranks,
Earning well deserved acclaim, and a grateful Nation’s thanks.
Tony Church (TeeCee)
3. On reflection for the 2015 AANM Service
It stands in the shade of this green woodland glade,tranquil,restful a place of reflection;
While the stream running near,natures melody,clear,is a setting for quiet recollection.
And here,at its heart,the stonemason’s art commemorates all that they were,
Young boys who came to be trained,and who gained lifetime friends in the time they were there.
This circle of stone tells of “Boys Schools”,now gone and exist only in recollection,
Of the places where boys made their life changing choice to follow a different direction.
But those buildings alone,whether timber or stone,were just an inanimate part,
Of a fine learning place;the real soul was embraced by the youngsters who gave it its heart.
If you sit on these benches,you may feel a sense when surrounded by some of these names,
Of those who passed through and embarked on a new life of duty,to well earned acclaim,
What they represent,the long hard years spent loyally serving the Flag and the Crown,
At those schools where we learned,and in due time turned from young boys to adults,fully grown.
And those of them now gone will forever live on in this cloistered and quiet sanctuary,
They may lie elsewhere,but their spirit will share with their brothers,this place which will carry
Their story to all who in future may call and read some of the names which are here,
So they will be remembered long after our number have eventually all disappeared.
And this symbol of youth will forever stand,proof of the eager and fine youthful tide
That went on to command,serve in far distant lands with honour and duty and pride.
Proving their worth in four corners of earth that each quadrant so well seeks to show
In the four parts designed with the four schools in mind as they were,
All those long years ago.
Tony Church (TeeCee)
Tony Church has written a stunning book full of verse relating to Army Apprentice life in general and it is available to buy from LuLu Publishers. Please click the photo below to be taken directly to the book. It’s a great read and only £7.99 plus P&P….