Silver Sands resident Meri Forrest has contacted the Mandurah Mail in the lead-up to Remembrance Day, with the event an important date in the calendar.
The 82-year-old resident’s father was deployed in the 44th battalion AIF during World War I and was badly wounded at Passchendaele at a place called Zonnebeke in Belgium. The brave soldier had much of his right buttock flesh gone and 17 wounds in his ankle and foot.
He was also very lucky to survive as a bomb fell in their trench and killed his lieutenant and a couple of other soldiers.
He was wounded in his back as the soldiers all crouched against the wall of the trench as they heard the bomb coming.
Meri was born when he was 40 and is now 82. As a tribute to a brave father, Meri has sent in the following poem ahead of Remembrance Day.
Miners, Drovers, Farmers the call to war they heard
To help to save old Britain and the World.
We West Aussies, with our brothers nationwide.
Went long distances to recruitment centres
Some rode their horses, others trudged with swag
Our native brothers, to defend their ancient land
AIF, they camped at Gooseberry Hill, then to Freo
Marched and more to Albany to embark
“Dad I can shoot rabbits!” cried lads barely in their teens.
Mothers said, “Who’ll work the land if you are gone?”
“but Ma, I know you’ll manage, because you always do,
And keep the fire burning, til I come home to you.”
“We know it is our duty, Dad would go but he’s too old.”
So off they sailed in great numbers, first to Gallipoli and death.
And our light horsemen in sands of Middle East
Then later lads far from home to die in muddy trenches.
In France and Belgium and carnage of Passchendaele
Some that we thought lucky, returned to home at last
Unscathed we thought. Except for eyes, limbs and souls
To weeping heart broke sweethearts, now forever maiden aunts.
And the grieving family members, children, mums and dads
Like red Flanders poppies, hearts bleeding forever for the slain
It was the war to end all wars, we heard them cry
So no more sons must go to die! In naive belief they cried.
Yet today, as Australia remembers, one hundred years long past
Still fathers sons and grandsons, to war must go
To try to stop man’s madness
God save us everyone.