Jonathan Causebrook

Boy Soldier

I enlisted in the army
At the age of eighteen
At least that what I told them
And they never questioned me
I was keen to do my duty
Although it wasn’t yet my time
But the war was taking plenty
With men in short supply

For a soldiers uniform
I swapped my shirt and coat
And headed out to Europe
On foot, by train, by boat
There I met a chap
The same age as me
He’d lied to join the army
Just as he had turned sixteen

And we made great mates together
We often larked about
Two kids in an adult war
We helped each other out
Both had little schooling
Both we’d worked on farms
And here we were strange shores
Like bothers in arms

And when the order came
To the front we were bound
We made a promised to each other
That our families would be found
If either didn’t make it
Or got lost amongst the crowd
We’d tell them he was brave
And that they should be proud

And give ‘em back our things
Well, little that we had
And say he was fighting for your freedom
Try not to be too sad.
And as we waited in the trenches
For our call
Shots rang out above us
And bombs began to fall

And our boots sank in the mud
As the rain came pouring in
And a bitter foreign winter
Biting at our skin
And men kept going over
Maintaining the attack
Many’s final skirmish
Never to come back

My mate was put on watch
Up a ladder he was stood
When a German sniper got him
And got him pretty good
Took a bullet to the shoulder
And another in the head
As he fell down from the ladder
I knew my mate was dead

As they moved him out the way
I never saw his face
And I climbed upon that ladder
To take his place
And there I stood
With my gun armed ready
To shoot a German soldier
Perhaps as young as me

Shooting at each other
Over no mans land
Fighting in a war
We didn’t understand
But I had to take my orders
And face the enemy
Or face charges of desertion
The certain end of me

And that’s where I died
Where the bloody rivers flow
Just one unknown solider
That everybody knows
I laid down my short life
For King and country
But I was just a boy
Would you please remember me

Jonathan Causebrook - September 2016 (c)