Lest – Remembrance Day Poem for Grandad in the Green Howards

Maurice Wilfred Earlam with his Mum Elizabeth and Dad Harry

As it is Remembrance Day my Grandad Maurice Wilfred Earlam is on my mind a lot. He was a soldier in the Green Howards 6th Battalion Tyne and Tees Division and fought in World War Two.

There was a funny story he used to tell me from a time towards the end of the war in 1944 when him and army buddies were marching through the Netherlands as part of Operation Market Garden. He said they found some biscuits and started eating them and it cheered them right up. Cheered them right up that is until that is they realised they were eating dog biscuits.

There is also another story from that time that he told me that is not so light-hearted, a few words from that story that gave me the spark for this poem:


Soldier can’t sleep at night
Lest the nightmares come
While marching marching
His friend in front fell
Then the friend behind.

Why was it them not me?
He cried waking in a sweat
Armies of memories
Invade peace of mind
Lest he falls and forgets.

This poem was written for Grandad and all the other women and men who serve our countries and are sent off to war.

You can hear this poem broadcast as part of Lesley Atherton’s Words and Music Remembrance Day Show on Sunday 8th November 3-5pm and Wednesday 11th November 12-2pm on Enjoy Radio.

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