Monday, 21 June 2010

No Title

Thanks for all the kind words. I'd like to shut the blog with this...

Come home safe Lads... CSR

The Last Post

An irony in the title that isn't lost on me.

I won't be blogging or Tweeting as CSR anymore... I'll continue writing - I've got a book inside my head I think some folk might like to read.

I need to spend more than my money fighting to see my Son, I need to spend my time. Every last spare minute of it. I've enjoyed writing this blog, although it has at times been painful.

I have no wish to rant online and offend people - or give them a view of me that is tainted by my anger, so I'm calling it a day.

For those that have stopped by 'Thank You' even if so few of you left any comments! Just for the record... My name ain't CSR. It's Ray.. and I carried a rifle once. Take care all. CSR

 Cold Steel Rain

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Back Home

The killing stopped 10 years ago. I am stood in a shabby office, a kid in a suit speaks with me. 'You've filled the forms out wrong mate' He is maybe 19 - I see yellow and brown suits, flashes in the night sky. 'We can't pay you anything'

I walk away from the Dole office with no money. I haven't eaten for four days. Mum gives me 30 quid for food. So I take it to a bar and order a Pint and a Chaser. Biting down hard as my empty stomach objects to the Whisky I pour into it. The bile stings my throat - So I light a cigarette.

I haven't shaved since I last ate. My face is sunken and hollow. Fingers yellow. I order another round for myself and stare at a girl feeding the jukebox. She is laughing and dancing. I see White teeth flash out from burnt lips and the steel floor of a helicopter.

'What you fucking looking at?' The words slammed out with venom. A young man is standing in front of me. I focus on him now. Adrenaline surges. Voices scream 'Gas Gas Gas' My heart pounds. I go back to my drink and light another cigarette with the butt of my last one.

'Don't fucking ignore me cunt' The young man is breathing shallow. Eyes wide. 'Go home' I say. The words barely a whisper from my aching throat. He jabs a hand into my chest. I see a glass in his other. The fear erupts. Deep inside my head there is a fracture. Screaming. Blood. I am stood between two worlds.

'Fucks sake mate' A frightened man has his hands raised, the bleeding man on the floor is coughing and sobbing. I order a drink. The barmaid stares in silence so I pour it myself.

The Police stand either side of me. I am arrested. The cell walls close in as the war pours out. Doctors arrive. I am naked and screaming. Inside my mind I try to stem the memories, like a child protecting his sand castle against the tide. Mum sits at the end of my Hospital bed. She is crying. Dad holds her hand as I stare at the wall. I close my eyes and the dead wave at me.

Me and the Boy

Anyone who's read this blog will know I've been to war. I carried a rifle for my Country - I took part in a brutality I struggle to articulate. I watched mates get hurt. A friend of mine paid for the conflict with his life.

The war left me with PTSD. I don't sleep well, have bad dreams dwell on bad things. I signed on the line - I took the shilling, so I don't want sympathy, compensation or chocolate biscuits. What I do want is Parental Responsibility over my Son.

I'm an unmarried Father - Because my boy was born before December 2003 I have the same rights as you do regarding my Son. None. I spilt blood and tears fighting to give others equality and rights. To find I don't enjoy these benefits with regard to my lad angers me. It angers me a lot.

I can get PR - but it will cost. I will have to line a Lawyers pockets and bare my soul to a Judge (who may not like what he sees)

I'm not asking for the world. I just want a say in my Sons life. I stood in the line when my Country asked. Now I'm asking my Country to help me and it won't cost a penny - not even a Shilling...


The guns have stopped firing - the dead lie still and desert dogs gorge themselves. We climb into destroyed enemy tanks - looting souvenirs of war. Enemy Fox-holes are cleaned out and photographs capture our happy living faces.

The land is burning, black smoke hangs in the air as fires rage unchecked. Tracer fire and flares compete with each other as Britains children celebrate victory by firing into the sky.

We leave the desert behind us and return to the world. I sit and stare at a Cheeseburger. Dead flesh that once lived. Next to me a Man complains his dead flesh is cold. I explode into rage. I hear muttering as I leave. 'Fucking weirdo' 'Prick' The words mean nothing to me.

I can't sleep in the soft bed next to my girl. I lie awake and pull away as she tries to touch me. Mum won't leave me alone, she keeps hugging me and kissing my forehead. Dad stands next to me as I smoke endless cigarettes.

I sit in the corner of a pub, no one speaks to me. I smoke and drink, looking in from the outside. I miss the war so very much. I am unarmed and alone. I smoke and drink some more.

Dead soldiers stand in the room. They don't speak to me. They point accusing fingers. 'Leave me alone' I whisper the words. They move closer. Dead flesh that was once living. The guns have stopped firing...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Come into my Web

My friend grins at me as he pokes his rifle into my chest. 'Squeeze one out?' He asks. I nod in reply - it's become a tradition. Shitting alone is boring.

We walk to the wooden boxes with holes cut out. The glory of war is but a distant memory as I sit in the burning heat, trousers around my ankles and flies on my arse.

I ask Gus about the Falklands. He fought there on Mount Longdon as an 18 year old. He says little so I give up. A soldier walks toward the makeshift desert toilets. 'Follow my lead' Gus says.

In front of us are Pissing Tubes. Sticking out of the ground at 45 degree angles. The soldier unzips his trousers. 'I wouldn't do that if I was you mate' Gus says the words with feigned concern.'Why not?' The now confused teenager ask, pausing for the answer.

'Some lad in Seven Brigade mate - Spider bit his cock. He's in a bad way' Gus glares at me as I suppress my laughter. The soldier steps back and peers into the black funnel. 'Serious?' He asks. I nod sagely, biting my tongue 'Yeah man, fangs like Seven Six Two rounds I heard' 'Fuck that' he replies and pisses on the floor.

I laugh until tears stream down my face when the frightened soldier leaves. We finish up - wipe and chuckle. Then go back to the war. The next morning the Seven Brigade soldier has died. His cock fell off. His face turned green and boils grew on his eyes. Rumour Control has spoken and the war has the day off.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Blood on a Sunday

Just to keep things in perspective...

In 1971 Sergeant Michael Willetts of 3 PARA cleared a room in Springfield Road RUC Police Station of civilians because a bomb with a short burning fuse had been planted by the Provisional IRA. After the room had been cleared, Sgt Willetts then slammed the door to the room which contained the bomb, but realising the door was not strong enough to absorb the blast, he pressed his body against the door, shielding the people on the other side. The charge exploded, and he was killed instantly.

Harvey Andrews wrote a song about it...


The war has been raging forever. I need to sleep. My eyes are bloodshot discs that have seen more than they should. I struggle to stay awake as I sit in the Commanders Cupola - my head lolls about, jarring me into consciousness.

I light another cigarette. Yellow fingers - split and cracked. I hurt. I'm thirsty. I need to sleep. An enemy soldier is standing on a mound, his weapon aimed at me.

I am awake. I am alive. I swing my rifle into my shoulder and pull the trigger. No explosion. No recoil. Stoppage.

I am 16 years old on the ranges. An NCO is screaming at me as I fail to carry out my Immediate Action Stoppage Drills. Spit erupts from his mouth as he hurls abuse at me. 'Clear the fucking stoppage Cunt' he screams, I panic. His boot slams into me.

I can see the bullet in mid-air. Copper coated death. Shattering bone and mangling flesh as it strikes. My infant Son, screaming as he is pulled into the world. I see a fly trapped in a web in my Grandmothers back garden. Why didn't I save it?

The Iraqi looks at me. I have seen my enemy, he is alive like me. They are people like me. He lowers his weapon and raises his hands. Hs war is done and he is happy.

Ten years later a Policeman aims his weapon at me. 'Fucking do it' I scream. He lowers his weapon and I fall to my knees. I sob as my mind cracks apart. The war has been raging forever...

Monday, 14 June 2010

Romero's Extras

I suspect that when the Victorians built their lunatic asylums, they did so in the hope that those outside of them would look inward with fear and loathing. And that those inside of them would also look inward with fear and loathing.

I woke up in one once. I say woke up. It was more of a re-animation than a wake up. My tongue was lolling about like a worm on cocaine; I was drooling like a broken tap and my face had a twitch that could have been measured on the Richter Scale. You see, I’d been stabbed in the arse with Liquid Cosh – Twice – the bastards, and I was in a right fucking state.

When you crawl through the sludge of chlorpromazine-hydrochloride in an effort to come back to the land of the living and escape that of the chemically undead, you are not abandoned. You battle through the twitches, and the slurring and the convulsions not alone, but with an ally. You see, they give you a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

The cake went in my eyes, up my nose and blocked the canal of my left ear. The cup of tea made the stain of my piss soaked jeans slightly bigger and a whole lot warmer. I asked for a cigarette but the words must have become confused and came out as ‘Please leave me covered in cake, tea and piss for the rest of the night’.

The next day I was introduced to the confined area where suicide, assault and murder were all attempted at various stages throughout the day. It was called the smoking room. Being confined as secure mental patients we were not allowed matches or lighters. To ignite our cigarettes a small hole was provided in the smoking room wall with a green button below it.

You simply pushed your cigarette into the hole in the wall pressed the green button repeatedly, and eventually your cigarette would be lit. You were then a secure mental patient who was not allowed matches, lighters, pencils, knifes or sharp implements who was armed with a paper stick whose tip burns at a temperature of approximately 400 degrees Centigrade. Tea and cake were not allowed into the smoking room.


The day is normal. Helicopters come and go, dropping off letters and ammo. Vehicles are maintained and weapons cleaned. Sentry Duty is performed. It is my turn.

I stand in the hole looking toward the enemy. I have yet to see him. We pound his holes day after day. Shells streak though the sky and bombs fall from planes. I smoke a cigarette and hope the enemy are all dead.

My watch lies to me as the Sentry Stag drags on. An hour has passed in my head, my watch says it's 5 minutes. I smoke endless cigarettes as I look across the flat brown landscape. Blue smoke rises from all of the holes defending our position. The Officers say nothing about the rule breaking.

A Tom takes over from me. 'Have you heard mate?' He says 'Geordies been killed' The words cascade into my head. My friend is dead. I had breakfast with him. I question my relief. 'How?' I stammer like I did as a nervous child. 'We've had no contacts'

The soldier shakes his head. 'No mate not that Geordie. The one whose bird's up the duff. Back in Germany'

My friend Geordie is dead. He didn't deploy with us because his wife is having a baby. The Army let him stay at home. A car crash just ended his life.

I tell the Tom I'll do his Stag. 'Nice one mate' He grins at me and disappears, unable to believe his luck. I stare toward the enemy. Geordie is dead. My friend. I can see his face and his feeble moustache that betrayed his 21 years.

We are moving position. B52's give us light and we drive toward the enemy. Dead troops pave the way - I look at them and think of my dead friend. Then I climb into a hole. The Day is normal...

Three Square A Day And No Incoming

I failed to pay my Council Tax - A foolish error on my behalf. But an error none the less.

It's £1700... A tear drop in an World Wide Ocean of debt. I've been trying to explain to Suits this morning I intend to pay it. I will pay it - But not all at once. They threatened me with Prison, to reinforce how 'Serious' my situation is.

I've been through 'Serious' I lived there for 6 months. Men with guns walked the Earth. They fired their guns and their shells at me. Thousands of young lives were snuffed out by metal flying through the air at high velocity.

Men were shredded - Limbs blown off. Burned beyond recognition. Paralysed. Killed. Maimed. Mutilated. I know - I was there. I saw it. Christ help me I took part in it.

I don't fear Prison. I'm not a big lad, but you can take the boy out of the Army... Like they told us 'It ain't the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog'

The Council have accepted my offer at clearing my debt. This pleases me as I am tired of fighting. I'm going to go to work now - I've just finished Downloading 'Platoon' I'll watch it tonight. Remind myself of what 'Serious' really is...

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Air Red

The crowd really were going wild. I was banging out power chords on my Gibson Les Paul, and they wanted more. I turned round and grinned at my drummer, Boy George. His red painted lips grinned back. Mr Powell, my old physics teacher was plucking his bass guitar and hurling abuse at the crowd. I swore at him. He was a bearded slap-head twat and had no right being in my band.

I was rolling towards my legendary guitar solo. My entire reason for being. The girls in the crowd would cry, the lads would cheer and I would become a god. The crowd screamed out as one. ‘AIR RED!’

I stopped playing and looked at Boy George. He obviously had no idea what the crowd meant either. He had given up drumming and was now struggling to open a KitKat instead. Mr Powell had abandoned his bass guitar and was now hurling chalk dusters, as well as abuse, at the chanting crowd. Again, as one they all shouted. ‘AIR RED!’

I opened my eyes. In my sleep I had managed to wriggle deep down inside my sleeping bag and once I squirmed free of its suffocating weight I sucked in deep lungfuls of the cold night air. I then sat up, put my hands on my nob, yawned, and had a scratch of myself. ‘AIR RED!’

This time the words were clearer. They were louder. It wasn’t a chanting crowd singing them. It was a man shouting them. I sat perfectly still and strained to listen. The man shouted again. ‘AIR RED!’

My ringpiece twitched violently. Panic began coursing through my veins and I scurried out of my sleeping bag. I landed heavily on the desert floor as I fell off the stolen American cam-cot I had been slumbering on. Other voices had now taken up the ‘Air Red!’ chant and I scrabbled around in the darkness, desperately trying to get dressed.

I found my helmet and pushed it onto my head, fumbling for maybe two or three seconds with the chin-strap before giving it up as a lost cause and cursing its shit design. ‘Fucks sake’ I cried out into the darkness, after struggling furiously to get both of my legs into one side of my combat trousers.

I then pulled on my body armour and grabbed my boots. The panic had become too much, and my desire to survive outweighed my desire to be properly dressed. With boots in one hand and socks in the other I made a frantic dash through the night towards my trench.

I dived in headfirst. Laying there at the bottom of my hole gasping for air, having winded myself in my efforts to get into some cover. In the darkness all around me, other teenage soldiers were also standing-to. Cries of ‘shit, fucks sake and bollocks’ echoed along the Kuwaiti border.

I slowly got up and peered out across the lip of my trench toward where my Armoured Fighting Vehicle sat motionless in the dark. My rifle was under the stolen American cam-cot in front of the AFV. ‘Fucks sake’ I cried and another mad dash through the darkness took place.

Once back in the trench I knelt down and pulled on my socks and boots. I then grabbed my rifle and began fiddling with the chinstrap on my helmet. A face appeared at the top of my trench. I cried out and then pulled the trigger on my rifle. It wasn’t cocked. Shit. Silence. Time to die. I was nineteen years old. The face then spoke to me. ‘Sit tight and stay in your fucking hole. It’s Air Yellow.’

I opened my mouth to speak, but the face had disappeared, melting back into the shadows of the night. The twitch became a spasm. I cocked my rifle and waited.

I don’t know how long I stood in that trench for. Maybe one hour, maybe five. I remember standing quietly chewing on my dog tags, frustrated at the thought of my cigarettes being out of reach, a mere 20 metres away. I remember waiting for the enemy tracer rounds to come screaming in and their shells to explode. I remember wishing I’d put on my combat jacket as I shivered in the cold and I remember my ringpiece twitching.

I was feeling very sorry for myself. I cursed the desert. I cursed the Arabs and I cursed the recruiting Sergeant, whose lies about skiing and abseiling were really starting to piss me off. I was thinking about my cigarettes when I saw him. A figure was crouched down about fifteen metres from where I stood.

My right thumb flicked the safety-catch on my rifle from safe to fire. My left eye squeezed shut. I pointed my rifle barrel toward where the figure stood.

Foresight or target? I couldn’t remember. Was it the foresight or the fucking target I was supposed to focus on? I was seven years old again I heard my big sister chanting. ‘Ippa dippa dation. My operation. YOU-ARE-NOT-IT!’

I could see the ranges in Catterick Garrison where I had been trained to fire and reload my weapon to kill the enemy, but I couldn’t remember if it was foresight or target? The figure had closed to within five metres. Is it my first round that’s tracer or my last round, or are they all tracer? Are there any rounds in the magazine at all? Oh god, please mum. I don’t know if my guns got any fucking bullets in it. ‘Password fuckwit.’ The figure hissed at me.

It was Gus. It was Gus the Paratrooper. It was Gus the Paratrooper who’d already been to war. I wanted to cry. I wanted my mum. I wanted to stop shaking. I wanted to go home. Gus said nothing after I lowered my weapon. He simply climbed into the trench beside me and began carrying out his preparations for war in silence.

I said nothing for ten minutes. Eventually my desperation to know what was happening became too much. I looked at Angus and asked him a question.
‘What does Air Red mean mate?’
He shook his head in disgust and then quickly began chuckling.
‘It means we are about to get bombed and die horribly’ he said, his body now heaving with laughter.

I’d survived the start of the war. Thousands of other men had not. The night turned to day, and lectures about Air Red were held at intervals of five minutes. It meant quite simply ‘Enemy Aircraft Attack Imminent!’

It took me a long time to get away from the War-Machine, my mates and the cries of AIR RED! When I finally managed to find a quiet part of the Desert, I sat down and cried. My tears fell onto the floor and collected into little lumps of grit and despair. Babylon had a new visitor. He wore a yellow suit and dropped big fucking bombs.

Friday, 11 June 2010

New Year

New Years Day 1991. My upper body is sunburned and I ache. The Track of my AFV needs repairing. Sledge Hammers, Pins, Torque Wrenches. Swearing, pain and frustration.

The Track Pin won't budge and I am tired of it. I swing the hammer again and again. My shouts of anger the source of amusement for the soldiers all around trying to escape the heat.

Three loud cracks stop my cursing. I turn toward the sound and rest the hammer on my boot. A soldier staggers out of a Vehicle, clutching at himself. He manages Three or Four steps before he crumples to the floor and lies still. His friend appears after him. His face blank. Smoke creeps from the barrel of his weapon into the sky.

The standing soldier begins to scream and the picture becomes focussed. The man on the floor has been shot. His friend was tired. Not thinking. Three rounds. Point blank.

The soldier on the floor tries to sit up, blood gushes from his mouth. He chokes and falls still. 'MEDIC' The word is screamed again and again. Men wearing red-crosses arrive. Frantically trying to stem the blood. A helicopter thumps sand into my eyes. The limp body is thrown into it and it heaves into the air. Engines crying as the Pilot demands more. Then it is gone.

I smoke a cigarette. I've never seen a man shot before. The Track Pin comes free so I smile. The shooter is crying. Sat on his own clasping his knees, he cries all day. Then he goes home. Broken before the war has started.

It is my turn to stand in a hole. I grab my rifle and push at the safety catch. I want to go home - But I can't. We are Two men down and must pick up the slack. At home the snow falls and the Parties go on...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Chemistry Lessons

My fingers hurt. Hours of digging holes has peeled away their skin and blisters have split. My friend pours water over them as we discuss medals. The war began several hours ago. Bombs fell from the air and enemy troops died. I curse as the water trickles across the red welts.

Compressed air thumps into me. My body snaps back and I bite my lip. Blood spills onto my chin and my body armour. I sit perfectly still. Confusion and fear. Another concussion wave slams into me and then the sound wave catches up. I am deaf as I taste the blood.

We are being bombed. Explosions rip across the sand. My friend looks at me. Terror and panic. A voice screams out. 'Gas Gas Gas' My bowels fill with ice and my chest pounds.

Gas. Nerve Agent. Agony. Death. I am 16 years old again. A Sergeant shouts at us 'Be on time - Mask in nine' The CS Gas he has lit burns my eyes and my throat. I vomit and cry out in pain. 'NINE SECONDS you Fuckwits' He screams. Ten seconds without a Respirator means death.

Other voices have taken up the shout 'Gas Gas Gas' Chemical Alarms wail. There rising and falling tone piercing through the explosions. I reach for my Respirator on my side. It isn't there.

Panic and fear overwhelms me. I fall off the AFV, winding myself on the hard ground. I begin to crawl toward the back of the vehicle. I try to hold my breath but the terror is too great, I suck in frantic gulps of air.

Mustard Gas. Blister Agent. I start crying, I don't want to die. 'Gas Gas Gas' The voices now distorted as they shout through masks and filters. I crawl into the back of the AFV. Babbling and wailing. A respirator is thrust into my hands. I fumble as I pull it on. Yanking the straps until they bite deep into my skull.

A soldier looks at me. His insect features hide his identity. Bulging Perspex eyes. Black Rubber. Forced heavy breaths. I shout out that I cant breathe. My chest feels tight. I am dying. He grabs my jacket - Staring at me. Eyes wide. Fear. Shouting then laughter.

A soldier walks through our position. He has no mask on and he is laughing. 'It's outgoing lads' He says 'It's the fucking Dropshorts and their MLRS'

I pull of my mask and breathe in deeply. There is no Gas. There is only life. Tears spill over my eyelids and I find a quiet place to worry. I spend the rest of the day watching the Rockets that frightened me so much climb into the sky. I grin at the immense power they posess as my respirator hangs by my side...

Friday, 4 June 2010

Another Day

A dirt brown Bulldozer is pushing bodies into a pile. Walking behind it soldiers are picking up the pieces it has missed. Arms and legs. Heads and faces.

The sky is smeared black. Burning oil stings my eyes and throat as I cough up lungfuls of what it is we fight for. I walk past a wall of corpses. Arms and legs poke out of the heap. Shattered faces gaze at me. The wall moves and squirms as flies feast on the newly dead.

I am 13 years old. We are watching the Holocaust. Black and White bodies are stacked high. Walls of flesh and bone. I look at the new wall. High Def Colour has arrived at the slaughter.

A wounded soldier sits in silence. The stumps where his arms were are covered with socks and his feet are naked. A dead kid in a Foxhole reaches out to me as helicopters swarm above the destruction. His mouth ripped open. White teeth smiling. In my pocket a letter tells me my son has cut a new tooth. I touch it as I look at the dead boy.

We dig in. My spade biting lumps of sand out of the ground. I crawl into the hole and think of the dead boy and read my letter. All around me Artillery pounds at the unseen enemy. The constant shelling hurts my ears so I put cigarette butts in them.

Daylight comes and we drive through the fresh dead. I try to write to my Grandmother but can't. The words are childlike and make no sense. I kiss the paper, sign my name and send it back home. The radio tells me Nine of my comrades just died. I turn it down and my Walkman up. Don't worry be happy plays and I laugh. I laugh until I ache. Then we dig in...

Addicted To Grief

I've suffered grief in my life. I've been so wracked with pain and despair that I've locked myself into a room and cried until there was nothing left. I've then sat there rocking back and forth - as the emptiness fills me.

What I haven't done is laid flowers next to a road. Nor have I gathered in the streets clinging to strangers as we wail at the death of people we've never met before.

I was in London not long after Princess Di was killed. I was horrified at the Grief Whores and their lack of dignity. People openly wept in the street. Total strangers wallowed in misery as they waited in line to sign a book of condolence about some dead lass they'd never met.

The shootings in Cumbria were grim. Lot's of folk died. Trouble is, I didn't know them. Don't get me wrong I am angered at the fact helpless old ladies live in a world where intelligent people can blast them out of existence for no reason. But I'm not going to cry about it.

Once a year every November I stand in the cold and rain and bite my fucking lip. Not a tear falls from my eyes as I think about people I did know and who are no longer laughing at the bar. I talk about the dead with my friends and we laugh over shared memories. It's what I want people to do when I'm gone. It's what Brits do...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Guns and Monkeys

Some chap lost it yesterday - blasted Twelve folk into oblivion and wounded scores more. I'm fairly sure the Media will have a field day with this. There'll be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. People will ask 'How did this happen?'

It's a simple answer. That bloke was a Human you see. Much as some folk wish to portray us civilised and rational it's all bollocks. Don't believe me? Google Dylan Aaron. He was killed last week and his chums set up a Facebook page to remember him - It's been attacked by Spammers and Trolls who wish to upset them. Folk getting their 'lolz' at a Mans death.

We are intelligent monkeys with guns. The illusion of Civilisation is never more than One week away from collapse. Birdy was a cock, who shot folk at random. Don't for one minute think he's any different from you or I though. We're not a very nice species. Accept that and crack on.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


My Father and I are not speaking. He is fumbling with the tuner on the radio. The hiss and whine of Medium-Wave fills the car as an electrical voice talks about Football.

'I'm scared Dad' The words fall out of my dry mouth. I've just left home, on my way to where the armies gather for the coming fight. My girlfriend was hysterical. She screamed and cried. Thrusting my 12 week old Son into my arms. 'Don't go' she pleaded. My Grandmother steered her toward a cup of hot tea - whispering words of strength.

Mum said very little. Her eyes spilled tears over her cheeks. 'Come home safe love' She said. She then squeezed my hand and stroked my cheek. I was 5 years old again - my first day at School. I didn't want to leave Mum. I wanted to stay at home. I flash a grin at her. 'Be home before you know it Girl' The words hung in the air, then Mum walked outside to be alone.

Grandad clapped his huge arm around my shoulders. 'Be careful son' He said. 'Write when you can' I hero worshipped the old man. He had a chestful of medals from fighting in the War, I'd looked at them so many times. I didn't want a medal of my own anymore. I wanted to live. I wanted to grow old. I smiled at him. 'I'll be OK' I said. He nodded and said no more.

Dad looked over at me and then turned off the radio. 'You'll be alright kid' He said 'You have to be' I lit a smoke and we said nothing else for the rest of the journey.

Six months have passed. I am walking down another road. It is littered with the broken dead bodies of Children who promised their Mothers they would be home soon. The hiss and whine of my radio fills my ears. Electrical voices talk about war. I want to go home...