A soldier's heroes in peace and war

During the course of our informal history investigations we were given an old torn yellow booklet. It had no cover and the printing is blurred.

Despite this  I was impelled to record this item before the booklet falls apart. I have taken  the liberty of filling in the faint and smudged sentences as close as possible  to the authors intent.

This was written in time of war and displays a  kaleidoscope of peace and war in  one.


The bookletHeroes  All

A Hero. What does the word conjure up to any of us ordinary men and women  in peace and war?

Now! memories of pre-war days can creep through the veil  of time and enter today's relentless war realities. In the kaleidoscope  of our mind we see the green grass of Lords in a summer afternoon.

With a crowd  of perspiring fans in short sleeves on the emerald fringes. We pay homage to the  skill of the figure in white in the centre striking a red orb with his golden  bat. In front of twenty thousand spell bound hero worshippers Hammond is raking  in another century at Twickenham.

The kaleidoscope turns and breaks  into another pattern.

This time the stand becomes long shadows in a wintry  sun. Figures in white and black patterns, dart quickly across the green oblong  field, clustering together. Suddenly a marionette figure breaks away and scores  a winning try , then, thousands of admirers acclaim a rugby Hero.

The  picture changes to a brilliantly lit square and a flash of lamps set in an unlit  frame. Inside the arena a dark haired god stands against a blond giant,  skilfully beating off the fierce lunges of the bigger man. In the darkness  lesser beings grip their chairs tighter and grind their cigars lon g since  ceasing to ember.

In every heart a prayer for Jack Paterson to find the  strength to stand up to the battering of a rival German. Failing gallantly in  true sports spirit does not lessen the heroic stature of Jack in eyes of his  admirers.

A foggy afternoon comes tumbling into the picture. Twenty two white and  blue figures in the dull gloom play on a green field, swerving and weaving.  A breathless assembly lives and breaths the slippery skills of a tremendous  football idol Stanley Mathews, as he scores the winner.

The scenes now fade along with memories of our heroes into times  mist.

Come now to the realties of war. We see in the  headlines of the newspapers announcing the award of another VC for supreme  courage in the face of death and ever present danger. Visions of our hero  charging a Japanese machinegun armed only with a couple of grenades. He lobs  them in to the gun nest in th e face of murderous fire in the same way he used to  spin his leg break, in th e small town matches aeons ago.

Then wall  posters were displayed with inspiring pictures of war, where grim faced men  leapt over trenches bayonet fixed. They had the light of supreme determined in  their eyes and a resolve to finish the job. We see people standing in heaps of  rubble smiling despite the effects of flying bombs.

A lone Frenchman waving a  Tricolour from the balcony of a château, miraculously still standing, holed by  shell fire.

A British Sapper lying patiently on a stretcher waiting  his turn for an amputation, while joking his fellow boxer about being still the  better man, though now unable to keep up his guard and lead with his right.

Yes Heroes all, worthy of our acclaim.

I can make out something like L/c A. Roberts.
Our hopeful acknowledgments.

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