Football in India…A Recollection of War

Football in India…A recollection of war

I was twenty two when the war ended
I was in hospital in Burma
Served in the 82nd West Africa Division
Lost a leg, silly thing losing a leg
My own fault, war took it, but silly bugger
It was my fault
We were in India at the time
Not much going on
Waiting for orders, ready to move on
A few of the lads decided to
well, you know…do what lads do
And we got a footy game going
Just a few of us
Major was on board, officers on one side
And Noncoms on the other
Rather civil game if I must say so
The heat was dreadful
Sweat was pouring off of us
And the mozzies were eating us alive
We’d cleared a field in the jungle
Imagine, clearing a pitch in the middle of India
Just to play football with the lads
Well, we did it
I went off after the first half
Walked out past the end line
tripped and heard a click
Nothing much, just a click
I thought, bugger…ready to move on
No enemy around, and I’m going to die
In a jungle in India, playing footy
I didn’t move, didn’t breathe either
But, ten seconds on, it blew
And I went with it
woke up in Burma, field hospital
Leg was gone, two fingers and my eye was covered
But, I was alive
All I wanted was a tea
And to know who won
silly bugger, no leg and I want to know who won
Never did find out
It seems I stopped the game
silly bugger
Well, here I am now sixty eight years on
Can’t play footy anymore
Live in a veterans unit in Warwick
Oh, sorry, where are my manners?
I’m Arthur Johnston, lance corporal
No medal like those American chaps
No leg, but, no medal
Victoria Cross and St. Georges
not for this lad
Just doing my duty
Playing football in an Indian jungle
Wish I knew who won though
Getting dressed to go down stairs
Ceremonies start in half hour
I’m the last one left from my lads
Tuttle passed last spring, leaving me
Oldest one it here it seems
Except for that woman in housekeeping
She was a warden with CD
Got everyone in the tubes
During the blitz
Tough old crow she is
Took a brick in the head they say
Made the paper for that one
I lost a leg playing footy
Got a free trip to Burma
Can’t get around too well anymore
They’ve got a special chair for me
Just for the ceremony
I have to lay a wreath
Funny thing, I looked at it
Plastic thing, poppies and ivy
Made in India
What are the chances?
I lay the wreath, salute the flag
and they put me away for another year
Well, better me than that old cow in housekeeping
At least that’s what I say
Next year it could be me gone
Never can tell, eh?
Picked that up from a Canadian chap
Ridley Wilson, from British Columbia
I think it was British Columbia
Oh, here they are
time to go down and do my duty
Just like I have for the last 68 years
And the two before
Imagine, 70 years in service to the crown
That’s longer than the Queen
Bless her cotton socks
Well, one thing I do know
It was worth it
Every last second of it
Up the empire I say
Even though we don’t have one
A Commonwealth now,
Come to think of it
India’s not ours anymore
and I think Burma’s gone
funny thought,
I lost a leg playing footy
In a country we don’t have
ending up in a place that doesn’t exist
Just my luck….
Eyes’s front, Salute
Oh am I going to feel that tomorrow
God save The Queen

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