Shattered

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June 5/6 is a day I never forget.  Not because I am a world war 2 buff, obviously D-Day was an important day in history, but I remember it for another more personal reason.  The Falklands Conflict, as you may gather, as a special place in my heart.  For years my idol, Ron Smith, spoke with such emotion about his time in the army, and most specifically, the Falklands.  He told me his tales of Buff Cove and how he helped during the San Carlos tragedy.  However for him, June 5/6 sticks out most in his mind. 

My Dad, during his time in the army, was a man who loved to learn (I guess that’s where I get it from).  He couldn’t just be a ReBro in the Signals, so he learnt another language.  Then he studied photography, then he got his Wings with the A.A.C. (Army Air Corp for you civilians) and did some time flying.  Then he studied bomb disposal, the army back then LOVED a multi-tasking man, these days you do one trade or another, rarely getting more experience than what you need to do for the job you do; Budget sense.  He was a master of all of his trades and he fascinated me with some of his tales from his exploits, also some of the pictures he took where outstanding.

On June 5/6 my father had a perforated eardrum, a painful thing to suffer from, but in war you carry on.  On June 5 a rebro on Mount Pleasant went down, wasn’t communicated properly and it was required that a team fly up to the top and find out what was going wrong.  My father, knowing the AAC crew of the Gazelle, decided that he would fly up, with Joe Baker and find out what was wrong.  That’s when a long time father figure, personal friend and mentor to my Dad, Mike Forge stepped in and told him to sit out, as his eardrum won’t do him any favours.  Mike, ever the leader from the front, decided he’d go up to the top instead and do my Dads job for him, so he didn’t have to go through any unnecessary pain.  Brothers in arms.  Sadly the helicopter was shot down in a Blue-on-Blue incident and all four crew died.

Now Mike taught my father how to parachute, making my Dad (one of his famous “Pointless Dad Trivia” moments that he loved to declare at parties) the youngest parachutest, at the time, in England making his first jump with Mike.  Mike, and I am sure anyone who had the honour of knowing the man will agree, was a leader who lead from the front.  Part of the famous 216 Para-Sigs, he was a cut above the rest.  Mike left behind no family, wife or children and he was an only child.

So for me I remember this day for Mike, and my Dad, who constantly blamed himself for the loss of Mike.  But, as I have stated before, without that man I wouldn’t have had a father to make me the man I am today.  So, raise a glass to the fallen heroes, who lie on Mount Pleasant:  Major Michael Lancaster Forge, S/Sgt John Baker, S/Sgt Christopher Griffin and L/Corporal Simon Cockton.  We shall never forget.


Shattered

Those four boys,
Lying still,
Shattered wings,
Amongst morning dew,
There wings of flight,
Far had flown,
But a boy,
Stood alone,
His wings intact,
His soul in tatters,
It should have been him,
Was all that mattered.

25 years later,
He stood where they lay,
On June 6th that day,
His head was down,
His soul laid bare,
He couldn’t see them,
Standing there,
Smiles on all four,
A pilgrimage he’d made,
To visit their grave,
United at last,
Five blokes together,
Just like the past.

Now he’s not here,
It’s down to me,
Mount Pleasant they lay,
My fathers here with me,
They walk together,
Five heroes I see,
Three wearing Jimmy’s,
Two from the AAC,
Smiles all round,
Beers for Victory,
Someone remembers,
I guess that’s me,
Five heroes gone,
No pleasure is found,
As I pray for the heroes,
Buried in the ground.

© Leonard Smith

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