Posted by: madkentdragon | August 25, 2014

Who Is Bankrolling Islamic State?

I asked this question on Twitter the other day and got one answer; coincidentally, that evening, whilst watching “The Papers” on BBC News channel, another country came up!

These are the answers I’ve received:

  • Qatar
  • Syria
  • Banks and financial institutes in the captured city of Mosul
  • Ransoms from kidnappings

Qatar, what do we really know about this country – apart from the fact that it somehow won the bid to stage the word cup in 2022. It is an extremely wealthy country with Sharia based laws. It makes me wonder what will happen during the World Cup – will people be safe?

Would it be worth its while to fund this terrorist organisation? I suppose that by employing militants, it would appear to be above suspicion (not me guv!) and it could gain land and more oil wells, making it a bigger rival to Saudi Arabia.

Syria – the discussion I watched claimed that Assad had let them occupy an area containing an oil field and that the oil is sold back to Syria raising funds for its activities. In return Syria gets left alone, the fact that ISIS as it was originally named was spawned among the blood and chaos of this war torn state does add some credence to this. But will IS really leave Assad’s Syria alone?

Mosul was a wealthy town in Iraq and there’s no doubt that much money has been raised from that.

Finally, kidnapping, despite most countries state that they will not pay ransoms most do – with the exception of the US and UK; ransoms are in the millions of pounds/euros/dollars and would certainly go some way to fund them.

Why am I asking this question, compare the IEDs etc. of the Taliban in Afghanistan to the fully fitted organisation that IS has evolved into – so WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM?

If the source could be removed, then surely the scales would be more balanced?

Posted by: madkentdragon | July 20, 2014

Why? My Questions on the World Today

I’m starting this “rant” with a disclaimer – I am not pro-war or unnecessary violence, I worked for an ex-service organisation for over 20 years and have seen the results of conflicts on the individuals.

Having said this I’m now going to ask “Why?”

In Ukraine at this terrible crash scene, why haven’t the UN, NATO or Europe gone in and secured the scene?

Why have these rebels been left to trample over the scene and cause untold harm to the site and disrespect to the bodies that were living talking beings only a few hours earlier?

These people are rebels – an occupying force, and should be made to move away from the site – not left to rule it!

Why didn’t Russia send an air disaster investigating team in – apparently they have the best teams in the world?

The world was able to get teams into war torn Syria to find the chemical warfare sites and factories, so why not secure an international disaster scene?

Are they all too scared of Putin who seems to be morphing into Stalin? Why hasn’t Merkel done more – she seems to be “ruling” the EU? Is she still under the thrall of Russia – she was born in East Germany when it was part of the USSR?

Why haven’t the world shouted more? Why are they all so scared of Putin and his thugs?

Why was there not a “No Fly Zone” set up over the area of conflict?

Why can’t the UN/NATO/Europe set up a buffer zone between the two sides?

Finally on this one – why is Putin allowed to tell the Russians so many lies on this via the TV or radio?


Then we have the Israel/Palestine conflict again!

Israel has a right to protect herself from the constant bombardment by Hamas rockets and missiles, but why have they been so heavy handed?

Why did Hamas refuse the ceasefire offered by Egypt – Israel had agreed to it?

We don’t hear of many casualties in Israel because they have protection by their “Iron Dome”, but the rockets from Hamas are unceasing – why?

Hamas base their rocket launchers and weapons amongst their citizens – why?

Do they have so little regard for their own people, because any country under attack will try to blast the site of a rocket launcher – but civilians end up being killed because they live next door to the site – why?

Is it time for the UN to intervene?

I could go on about Nigeria not sorting out Boko Haram and the missing school girls – but I’ve said enough for now.


Posted by: madkentdragon | June 15, 2014

No Mr Blair, We Are Not Sending Troops To Iraq

I have kept out of the “wars”/”uprisings” etc. in Syria because there are too many factions to judge who is right or wrong, but the destruction and the number of refugees is horrific and that’s without mentioning the civilian deaths.

But these new uprising in Iraq is another matter and I know I’m only a pensioner with her own views, but I can’t keep my mouth shut this time.

So Mr Blair, you say that the illegal (not approved by the UN) invasion into the country and the removal of Saddam Hussein has not caused this – I didn’t like the man and know that he was a corrupt dictator and bully – however you didn’t leave the country any safer when you all decided we’d done enough out there and we had secured the oil.

If we had done enough to justify all the deaths, injuries and ruined lives, why then did the army you trained up to defend Iraq turn and run at the first sign of this ISIS rebellion?

Were all the deaths for nothing, were all the injuries forgotten – you may have done so, but we haven’t – my own sons has PTSD because of the Iraq invasion!

You interfered into a country whose citizens have a completely different mindset to ours – think medieval England, think of the Protestant versus Roman Catholic burnings and uprisings or Spain versus Elizabethan England – that’s the mindset that is entrenched in the Middle East.

Yes, they can use You Tube, but a medieval person would be able to use a modern tool if someone showed him how. That doesn’t make them modern, just helps them recruit disaffected young men who are at a loose end and play violent video games.

If you want someone to go and fight them, go yourself – and take all the politicians who agreed with your weapons of mass destruction scam from last time – don’t waste the young people of this country on a country that neither wants us there or appreciates what we tried to do last time.

You tried to divert attention by saying we had to look out for those coming back from these countries who may try to be terrorists, fair enough we need to protect ourselves, but don’t use that as an excuse to send our troops there – or are they the “hidden weapons of mass destruction”?

No matter what reason you give, the only people in the west who would profit are arms dealers and manufacturers –  or you getting more work as the PEACE AMBASSADOR to the Middle East!

Keep our troops out!

Posted by: madkentdragon | May 23, 2014

I Made A Guess And Voted In The EU Election!

Well, I voted – didn’t have a council election in the borough so it was only the Euro elections – but I am still completely confused!

I searched the net to find out what actually happens in the EU parliament and to find out how many laws passed there actually affect the UK. After all was there ever a “straight banana” law – well no there wasn’t and I found even that confusing.

Some had websites telling me what they had done, some had websites that were obviously started with good intentions but fizzled out after a while and some – obviously the ones who had not been elected but were just full of their promises – which I took with a pinch of salt.

Now who do I vote for? Would it be UKIP – who want independence from the EU – so why are they there? Or one of the other lack-lustre parties? I won’t tell you who I voted for, let’s just say I voted for the party that I thought could do the least damage!

Sad although this is, I really had no other choice because I had very little literature on the candidates – how do I know if Joe Bloggs from Party A will not be one of those who would take advantage of the “sign in and disappear” ploy – or if Freda Smith from Party B will not fall asleep in the middle of the assembly – after all we’ve all seen those pictures!

Why didn’t the individual candidates introduce themselves – of course being from the South East, I knew one – a certain Mr Farage – but who were the others?

How can I vote for party representatives that I don’t know and have previously never heard of – now you know why I voted for the ones I thought could do the least harm!

I’m wondering if that’s why the vote was so low – if the candidates don’t make themselves known, even if it was in a joint party leaflet, it gives you the impression that they don’t care and only want to be elected for the salary!

I’m hoping that I voted the right way – but I don’t know – and yes I do want a referendum on whether we stay in or not!

I could go on about an organisation that can’t balance its own books and costs us a lot of money – but my final thought is this:

If you don’t get the correct information, how can you make an informed decision on the candidates?

Posted by: madkentdragon | May 7, 2014

Nigeria, Oil and Social Media

So finally some action is being taken for the captured Nigerian school girls, it’s only taken three weeks! Why?

Firstly lets look at the captors, the group called Boko Haram are against anything western and are ruled by medieval radical individuals who are frightened of social advance as demonstrated by the west.

It’s not only Christians and school girls that are under threat but also modern thinking muslims – which means that most British muslims could also be targeted. Women are regarded as chattels and definitely should not be educated, they are there for their men, nothing more and nothing less.

They recruit child soldiers and disaffected young men who are unemployed and therefore poor and hungry, once recruited they are systematically radicalised in return for food and a “meaning” in life. Using children as young as twelve is child abuse and ruins the rest of their lives.

I’m not very impressed by the Nigerian President who seems to have tried to sweep the whole problem under the carpet, but 200 school girls have left that carpet looking very lumpy; but he’s got an election to win and a front of economic success to perpetuate to the outside world.

Plus there’s the question of several million dollar’s worth of missing oil money that he’s got to duck! I hope some one confronts him over that as well as forcing his hand over these girls.

Mrs Jonathan wasn’t much help, she was sent in to mollify the missing children’s mothers and ended up getting their spokeswoman arrested and accusing them of inventing the whole thing.

To me this shows that the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has no moral fibre and certainly doesn’t care about the citizens of his country.

The girls crime was to want to learn – a basic human right – and as I’ve said time and time again, Education Sets You Free!

If a man is educated in this medieval based country, he may get a better job; but if a woman gets educated, she will also teach her children. Most women have at least four children who survive the first four years of life and a mother will start to open their minds to what is out there in the big wide world, so two hundred girls deprived of that education and thrust back a few hundred years means eight hundred children that won’t be educated – does that make sense?

Also most of the citizens own mobile phones with often better wi-fi than is available in rural areas here. So they then read lots of news, and to them, amazing new facts finally finding social media!

Now consider this, some of these girl’s mothers can also read and write and use social media, so while the rest of the world shook their heads in sorrow and forgot about it, they took to Facebook and Twitter and campaigned until the rest of the world sat up and decided to take action. Education alerted the world to this horrendous crime – and the world listened and joined in.

Apparently British advisors and special services have been trying to get permission to help find these girls for at least two weeks, but the president demurred until the US, a major importer of Nigerian oil, also offered to help. Now, three weeks after the deed, it’s not the missing girls who have motivated this president – but the fact that they may not be able to sell 40% of their oil to the US – that has motivated the rescue bid!

Finally I know that another eight girls have been stolen, but this begs the question of how many others were abducted before the educated women of Nigeria shone the light of social media on this?

Posted by: madkentdragon | April 24, 2014

European Elections – So who is my MEP?

I can tell the European elections are coming up because Nigel Farage is all over the television, complete with pint (is he sponsored by a brewery?).

So I started thinking about my local MEP and I realised that I didn’t even know who he or she was; I know who my local MP is, and I will admit that she does represent her constituency very well and has been known to ask us our opinion on various matters and even voted against the government on several issues – she is a Conservative and I would vote for her next time.

Before you all shout at me, I voted for her predecessor as well and he was Labour, but until he became a junior minister, he too represented us properly. I vote for the person who does what it says on the tin, not for the all too similar parties.

But I digress, who is my MEP and what has he actually done for the people he represents? I googled it and came up with this web-site and found the one who I think represents me – but his name didn’t ring a bell, nor did his photo – why?

I have never seen a newsletter, a newspaper article or anything about or from this person – so how do I know if he does represents me or my neighbours. Does he actually attend these bright modern buildings to use his vote?

How can I vote if I don’t know if he is the right man for the job – perhaps he thinks that we should remain ignorant of his activities – he may think ignorance is bliss. I’ve got news for you, it’s not – it’s frustrating and we pay enough into the European Union towards his salary for me to want to know is he value for money or a complete waste and I’m leaning towards the latter.

Oh and just as a matter of interest, here’s what they are meant to do…

Your MEPs are your elected representatives in the European Union. Their job is to represent your interests and those of your city or region in Europe. They do this by listening to people with local and national concerns, to interest groups and businesses. Where necessary, they question and lobby the Commission and the Council of Ministers.

Posted by: madkentdragon | April 8, 2014

A Pensioner’s View on Maria Miller

So another MP has been caught fiddling – or forgetting to adjust – their expenses, no surprise there and I just shrugged my shoulders and thought “Not surprised, all snouts in the trough together”

But then I read that she had tried to avoid the inquiry – a bit like a charlatan lawyer tries to get his obviously guilty client a not guilty verdict by twisting the law.

Now that’s definitely a bit fishy as far as I’m concerned – or am I being naïve?

Then came the allegation that the MP’s aides tried to stop a newspaper publishing the allegations by invoking Leveson – now to me that is blackmail, isn’t it?

So  she tried to avoid the Inquiry and  prevent the publication of the allegations, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why is this happening?

I don’t care whether the amount fiddled is thousands or ten bob, the point here is that a Member of Parliament is tried to avoid – well what was she trying to avoid – ah! The TRUTH!

Now MPs are there, elected by us to ensure that laws are made to protect the people, in other words we elect them to serve our nation – us!

Now she’s hiding behind the Prime Minister who seems to have lost the plot! She is allowed to keep her house and the profit she made but anyone who mis-claims benefits could lose theirs if found guilty – that’s if they own one.

So come on Dave, either you’re guilty and lose your house or not – you can’t have it both ways – benefit claimants don’t have the luxury of a second home like Maria Miller – so sort it out.

Posted by: madkentdragon | March 27, 2014

Old – Me? Not on your life!

I have been reading and hearing quite a lot about feminism and ageism recently and it’s beginning to annoy me!

So here goes:

I am 66 years old, retired, overweight and short; I also have one or two medical problems that limit my mobility – but do I feel old – NO! Why should I?

I am me and you are you, I’m sure that although I’m probably classified as an old fart who should sit in the corner and knit for her grandchildren, I don’t and won’t. I see each day as an opportunity to find something out or learn something – sorry if I sound sanctimonious, but don’t write me off as, even with my wrinkles which I consider experience lines, I feel young at heart.

I dress to feel comfortable, certainly won’t wear vertiginous heels – but that doesn’t mean I can’t wear court shoes – haven’t got the figure for fashionable short skirts, but you won’t catch me in tweed (sorry if you like tweed).

I’ll admit to you now that with my weight, if I was 8 foot tall, I could wear fashionable stuff, so I stick to my style and enjoy it. I must say here that those who want to wear clothes who show lots of cleavage and flash the panties or g-string with short skirts and tell me it’s your right, I’ll agree with you – but consider if a man left his flies undone and flashed his pants or nether regions, you would complain, wouldn’t you?

What’s good for the gander is good for the goose – that’s equality, so consider what you look like when you do go out. I can’t dress like that, but I will dress smartly and hold my own in conversation with all age groups, because inside I’m certainly not 66, nearer half that age.

I come from an age in which I had no rights, I couldn’t vote until I was 21 and even then could not sign the forms for my own operation, my then husband had to sign the forms! Now kids can go for an abortion without their parents knowing and yet mine was a life saving operation but I had no rights to sign myself!

So, I have seen Women’s Lib, didn’t burn my bra – they would have been too uncomfortable without a bra! But I have always believed that women and men should be equal, be paid the same and be treated the same. But even now, men in their fifties get treated a lot different to women of the same age. Why? Even the BBC do it!

Women in their fifties have usually finished with the child rearing and want to get on with life and enjoy it – are men frightened of us not being the “little woman”, well I’ve got news for you most of us have never been that.

Most of us have had to work whilst the kids were at school and now we want to get on and make sure we have money to spend and to save for our pensions. We are bright and willing to learn the modern office or other work place and are usually reliable.

So why do you think we are invisible, OK – we aren’t “bright young things” on the outside and probably won’t boost a male bosses ego as much – but we are just as young inside and won’t get pushed in the corner of life – because we have built up a lot of knowledge, empathy and common sense, and we know we can get on with life.

So don’t look at the wrinkles, look underneath at the vibrant woman shining through.

Finally, I got my last promotion when I was 54 and I wouldn’t be knitting for my grandchildren – if I could knit – it would be for my great-grandchildren!

So come on you ladies in your fifties and above, best foot forward and shine.

Posted by: madkentdragon | March 8, 2014

Why Not International Equality Day?

So it’s International Women’s Day, but what does that actually mean? In the so-called enlightened world it’s a case of “Not those feminists again” and in the unenlightened world, who will take notice?

For all the conferences, publicity and pretty pictures of women enjoying life, there are women all over the world living in fear, ignorance and under the thumb of a male dominated society.

After all that, what will change?

For every picture of a drunk female in a mini skirt falling out of a club, there is a woman somewhere who can’t even go outside her front door without permission.

I’m not knocking those who choose to go out and get drunk – it’s their choice and they have the freedom to choose, but it’s not happening everywhere – even in this country.

There are not just ethnic minorities living under the heavy hand of their male relatives, there are also British women who are ruled by fear of fathers or husbands who would rise their fist to them if they dared to suggest a girls’ night out.

Yet this is meant to be a free, educated country, but it is also a country where parents still stop girls furthering their education because it’s a waste of money because they will get married in a few years.

Let’s face it, when political parties have to set targets to get enough women prospective candidates to stand in elections and edicts fly about to get women on to the boards of directors, we are not completely free.

When women apply for a job that has traditionally been in the male domain, they have to be twice as good as the next male candidate to get the post and then work twice as hard, because if she makes a mistake it will because she is a woman. Trust me on this, I was the only female in a male dominated job in the whole of the south of England – and that was only fifteen years ago. However, as the salary wasn’t that good, more women took the posts as men moved on to better paid jobs; the salary was adequate for me to keep myself on.

It’s time that women were on an equal footing to men, despite all the legislation we aren’t there yet – will we ever be? And if we can’t get equality, what chance have those in the male dominated countries got?


So stop celebrating “International Women’s Day” and start celebrating “International Equality Day”

Posted by: madkentdragon | March 5, 2014

Remembering Grandad’s War

I don’t normally write this type of story, but was asked to write one for “Paws & Claws” which is obviously a site for pet owners. It had to be about the 100 years anniversary of WWI and include a dog. The Facebook page for this site is

Here’s the story:

I sat on the white concrete bench; funny that they always seemed to be nice and clean, not like the park benches back home. The cardboard box and carrier bag sat by my feet as I looked round over the landscape, everything was so well tended and even the buildings and wall looked spotless.

My mind drifted back to the first time I’d sat there, was it really nearly fifty years ago?

I had been nine years old, and Dad, Mum, my brother Bob and I had brought Granddad here – it was a big adventure to me as it was the first time I had been abroad and the ferry trip and taking the car on the wrong side of the road through the countryside was amazing.

Even the houses had looked brand new and different to the ones back home, the place we had stopped for a coffee and sandwiches was exciting and confusing to a young lad, with all the foreign languages floating around.

And now we were here, Dad, Mum and Bob wandered off to look round the graves, but I sat here on this very same bench with Granddad as he looked over all the war graves.

“Didn’t look like this last time I saw it” he said, I don’t think he realised I was still sitting there as he rested his chin on his gnarled old hands gripping the walking stick that he’d used for as long as I could remember.

“What did it look like then?” I ventured – and then he told me, and what he said has stayed with me all my life. He only lived for a few more years, but to me he was a hero – not a grumpy old man with a limp. My granddad, my hero – and he still was, even though I was now 59, a hero with a heart.

“I was seventeen when The Great War broke out – just too young to volunteer, but on my eighteenth birthday I went straight to the recruiting office and signed up. My Mum was really upset, Dad worked in a war factory, he’d had an accident a couple of years ago and one of his arms didn’t work properly and he only had one eye, so she hoped that we would all follow him and go in to war work and not volunteer. My two eldest brothers had signed up, and one had been killed, so she was really upset that I had taken the King’s Shilling.

Well, the first six weeks in the army were spent on what they called basic training, what that meant was being taught how to march and salute, run and stab a sack of sand and how to shoot a gun. Wasn’t too bad that, but no one told us what war was really like and the uniforms were hot, itchy and fit where they touched. I swapped my boots with Joe, his were too small and mine were too big – nearly fell off me feet as I tried to march. Well, Joe and me palled up after that, sharing cigarettes and stories – nice to have a best mate, poor old Joe….”

I remember looking up at Granddad as his voice trailed off and he was wiping a tear from his eye, I didn’t say anything and wondered what had upset him so much.

He cleared his throat as I watched the rest of the family looking round the graves, they looked quite small – it was a really big cemetery, it didn’t mean so much to me then, but now I knew that each one was a life lost, so many lives.

“Then they decided we were as ready as we would ever be and we marched to the station and boarded trains that took us all the way down the country to Kent, big open countryside it was then, full of fruit trees and fields of vegetables – coming from the town, I’d never seen anything like it – me Dad had an allotment for growing veg and the like, but this was acres upon acres of the stuff and then we got of the train in Folkestone and marched on to the ships to take us over there. Big ships they was, bigger than the fishing boats near to where I came from and there were hundreds of us on board.

It didn’t take us long to go over the channel, it was the first time I’d seen those white cliffs, they looked magnificent in the sun and some old timers who were going back were saying that they hoped that they would see them again after facing hell. Well we all wondered what they meant, but they had been ordered not to talk to us, think the officers thought that we would get frightened by what they told us.

When we got off the boat, we were lined up in our regiments and ordered to march off, we knew we was in France and thought that was where we were going to stay, but two days later we arrived in Belgium. On the way, we had passed ambulances and really tired looking men marching, or trying to march back the way we came. We passed a lot of damaged buildings and foreign people, well really we were the foreigners, pushing their belongings in prams and carts, I suppose they was trying to get away from the fighting – well they couldn’t live in those falling down buildings could they?

Any way we arrived in this town and we was allowed to wander round the town after we’d done a parade and some jobs, the men called it Wipers, but now I know it’s really called Ypres. Joe and I was looking for somewhere to sit down away from all the wounded men who were either being patched up to go back to fight or were waiting to be shipped back to Blighty – poor souls, eyes gone, limbs missing….” again Granddad trailed off as he remembered. It must have been a shock to a young man who had only gone as far as the next town and never seen any one badly injured.

“Joe and me found a seat on a wall, near a church and I heard a howling noise, it sounded like a frightened puppy; I looked round but couldn’t see one any where. Joe had nodded off, he hadn’t been sleeping well, think it frightened him more than it frightened me – let him sleep while he could, we’d listened to what those wounded blokes had said, that you could go for days without sleep if it got a ‘bit busy’.

I finally realised that the dog noise was coming from a shed just round the corner, I knocked at the house but no one was there, it looked empty and so I went over to the shed and opened the door and this black and white bundle came running out! T stopped at my feet and looked up at me, I had a couple of those dry biscuits in my pocket and I broke a bit off one and gave it to this black and white splodgy dog with a black patch over one eye.

It followed me back to where Joe was and looked at me with those big dark eyes, so I gave him the rest of the biscuits and Patch as I thought of him gobbled them up and flopped on my foot. I nudged Joe awake and said goodbye to my fluffy friend and headed back to our billets, only to find that the silly dog followed!

We had to get ready to go on parade as there was some general coming to talk to us and I rushed to tidy up and re-polish my boots and completely forgot about Patch until we got back a few hours later. That general had droned on for ages, ‘fond of his own voice’ as young Jim declared – all our backs and legs ached as he’d kept us standing for ages.

And there, in the middle of my pallet was Patch, wagging his tail, pleased to see me; I tried to shoo him away, but nothing worked but he learned to keep out the way when the CSM or an officer came round. He was a loyal little friend to me and I could talk to him about my family and my fears and know that I wouldn’t get teased about it; very discreet was my new friend.

Trouble was, a few weeks later we had to go to the front and I couldn’t take Patch with me, but I asked one of the clerks – one of the jammy ones who never really got anywhere near the front but sit shuffling paper all day – to keep an eye on him for me until or if I returned. He agreed and so I handed him over and walked away, trying to ignore the whimpers that tore at my heart.

We marched off and we could smell and hear the battlefield long before we got there, those soldiers we’d met on the ferry were right, it smelled like hell. There was mud everywhere and the trenches were full of men who were resting, trying to keep their weapons dry or helping someone who had been injured. I was so frightened by it all that I had to stop myself from turning back – Joe was shivering with fear and this was a ‘quiet time’.

We were put in  position and a young officer who looked as scared as we felt explained that we must rest until the next assault was called and then we would climb out of the trench and try to get across no man’s land and take the trenches where the enemy was. The aim of the assault was to take back the village of Passchendaele from them. I looked over at it, it was less than half a mile away and in ruins, why would we want to capture that. But as the poet said ‘Ours not to question why, Ours but to do or die’” Granddad stopped again and now as an older man, I can imagine what he could still see and it was terrifying.

He started talking again, “Anyway, I found somewhere dry to put my kit and saw that someone was brewing up, so I took some tea leaves over to add in to get a cup, never did get used to that tinned milk, sat down and dug out a couple of dry biscuits and you’d never guess what happened next. Suddenly there was this really muddy furry thing jumping all over me, he must have followed all the way – poor wee thing. He was that pleased to see me that he wouldn’t stop licking me; he looked fair worn out but happy as well. I gave him some water and shared the biscuits with him, poor little Patch must have been really tired – I was and his little legs was a lot shorter than mine.

We both fell asleep, but we wasn’t asleep for long when someone shouted ‘incoming’, well I didn’t know what that meant but I soon found out – there was this almighty bang and smoke and loads of mud and earth flew into the air and rained down on me. Patch jumped on my lap and I sheltered him as much as I could, but I could feel his little body shaking. I looked at him and said ‘now you know why I didn’t want you to come’, but he just cocked his head to one side and gazed at me with them big brown eyes and licked my nose.

He soon began to earn his keep, there was rats every where, chewed at the food, your socks and even you if you weren’t careful, but Private Patch, first class rat-catcher, got rid of ‘em all and soon he was being fed by us all in thanks for what he was doing. Became quite a pet he did, but whenever we had to go over the top he insisted on following, even chewed through a rope to follow me.

The regiment had been fighting on and off for about three months when it all happened, I think the enemy had got some bigger guns up, because on this day,Thursday it was, in April ‘cos all the poppies was growing where the shells hadn’t hit and the whistle went for us all to go over the top. We got a bit further this time and five of us at the front found a gap in the barbed wire to get through and a shell hit us, killed poor old Joe straight away, but the other two like me was only wounded and we lay there calling for a medic. I felt Patch cuddling up to me as if to give me comfort when two or three of the enemy came rushing up to us shouting and shooting, well I shot back; Paddy was trying to but he’d lost part of his arm and Fred was out cold, but I could still see him breathing. I managed to shoot two of them, but the third one came rushing up with his bayonet fixed – straight for me.

Well Patch wasn’t having any of that, and like the terrier he was, he went for him – got his teeth stuck right through the blighter’s hand, the bloke tried to shake him off but Patch clung on until he was hit by the bayonet”. A tear trickled down Granddad’s face and he took a deep breath and fell silent for a minute.

“Patch was wounded, and I shot the man where he stood, I was probably in the wrong, but he’d hurt my Patch. I pulled myself over to him and he pulled himself over to me, we’d both got wounded legs; I don’t remember much more till the medics came to pick us up, the other two blokes was still alive and Paddy was telling them how Patch and I had protected them, when the medics picked me up, I made sure Patch came too. He’d lost a lot of blood but I held him on my chest and could feel his heart still beating as they carried me to the medical tents, just over there they was”, he pointed past the big cross to a patch of ground by a fence.

“They couldn’t do much with me and they had to cut the bottom bit of my leg off, Paddy survived, but he only had the one arm and Fred wasn’t right in the head and had gone blind, as for my best pal Patch, I tried to look after him, but the vets there only dealt with the horses and he’d lost so much blood that nothing could be done to save him. But I was with him to the end, the nurses saw how upset it made me if they tried to take him away and he died with his head on my shoulder and they helped take him out and bury him, just by that fence over there, one of the nurses put a little cross up for me before she wheeled me back in to the tent.

“I got given a medal for bravery and shipped home soon after and spent the rest of the war in the factory, just as my Mum wanted me to, but with a false bottom bit to my leg.”

Granddad stopped, bent down and picked up the wreath and said “Come on, lets go and find Joe’s name on that wall, he was a Northumberland Fusilier, just like me” and we laid the wreath by the wall that had Joe’s name on and then I walked with Granddad over to the big cross where he stopped and took out a little wooden cross with a poppy on it and just one word “Patch” and laid it on one of the steps.

We went back to the hotel soon after that and now fifty years later, here I was at Tyne Cot with the wreath for Joe and the little cross for Patch, carrying out the promise that I’d made to Granddad when he was dying.

I will remember Granddad, and Joe, and there’s a special place in my heart to remember Patch – the dog who had saved Granddad’s life.


Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,290 other followers

%d bloggers like this: