During the war, whilst on a camouflage course in Dorset, our vehicles stopped in a small country lane near Lulworth Cove. A lane to our right was completely closed and blocked with masses of barbed wire. An old man with a bicycle, was peering through the wire at his house in the far distance. He told me that the army had taken over a large area towards the coast for tank training, including a whole village. It was currently being used by an American Tank Division.
Many years later I converted what he told me sadly, during that chat, into a poem.
He can only see the earthworks,
that keep him from his home .
Beyond, behind, the danger lurks,
beside his garden gnome.
The army took his village,
to train for the ‘Bocage.’
Like Vikings they did pillage,
as against his home they charge.
Mines were laid just everywhere,
even in the loo.
They enter warily if they dare,
those Grant and Sherman’s crew.
Dragons teeth are on the grass,
like soldiers on parade.
Midst debris of war and shattered glass,
his hopes of recovery fade.
But when this war is over,
and his home he can reclaim.
He surely will be in clover,
when they rebuild just the same.
If what they learnt around his home,
saved some young soldiers life,
he’ll be content just like his gnome,
and of course his elderly wife.