Peter Southern and PTSD

by | Jan 30, 2009 | Poetry | 0 comments

For many a lad when leaving School
A question that Career Teachers would often pose
How are you going to spend your life
And surprising how many the Army chose
As their way to fulfil their yearning
To rid themselves of inhibitions and such
Whilst a useful Trade they were learning
A Soldier is not just a fighting man
Carrying a Rifle and living on his wits
But a highly trained Professional Man
Allocated to a Trade that he fits
He’ll wear his Uniform proudly now
For promotion he is ultra keen
As he signs the form for 22 years
In the Service of the Flag, the Country and the Queen
He’s ready to serve wherever he’s sent
His personal life he may have to put to one side
Although many Soldiers are married men
To their wives there are matters they can’t confide
One such Soldier I’ve had the pleasure to meet
And I’ve learnt a little of his Army life
Of the trials , torments and battles of War
And the affect it has had on Sue, his Wife
He’s had his share of troubles and more
What I know of Peter is as a peace-loving man
But a tough Sergeant Major and ever keen
And while serving for a while in Oman
Much Death and destruction he’d seen
‘tho the Theatre of War that he can’t forget
That lives evermore in Peter’s mind
Is the liberation of the Falkland Islands
Where he left many of his colleagues behind
The tragic events that befell the RFA Sir Galahad
The horror of a burning ship at sea, with death and destruction all around
‘til help arrived by Royal Naval Helicopter
To help stricken colleagues in trouble they’d found
They were side by side in this flying machine
As they flew to safety on another ship not far away
These were some victims of this savage war
And they’d witnessed carnage there that day
Simon Weston now renowned for the injuries sustained
Was but one with whom Peter was saved
‘tho in this action he received 49% burns
Like true British Soldiers they all behaved
He served tours of duty in Northern Ireland
And many stories I am sure he could tell
Of the shootings, bombings and violence
That made Ulster a Military Man’s hell
He’d served the Country and Regiment well
For many years until 1993
After all the years of Mental Stress
Medically Retired was he
Sue asks “where is the laughter, the” oomph” and the joy
From the lovely man Peter I wed
As she tries her best to comfort him
As tho’a lttle boy lost crying by his bed
At a Barbeque he suffered a panic attack
With the smell of the meat on the grill
Brought memories back from the Falklands again
Of the scene of the ship on fire, in his mind still
But for some like Peter Southern
No physical scars did they bear
But the psychological damage they sustained
Was horrendous beyond compare
For some the end of their Service Career
But fortunately others were able to carry on
Though sadly most of them totally unaware
That the nightmare would never be gone
They’d relive the events of that day many times
Re-awakening their Service Life’s worst fears
At home alongside their loved ones
And they were now reduced to tears
For sadly in a Soldiers training
At no time are they ever taught
How to handle a situation like this
When they are left in life distraught
To the world outside Peter had remained unchanged
But his Wife Sue and Daughter both knew
The demons he fought , the nightmares, the Traumas
That this proud ex Soldier was going through
But as one they fought this together
To re-kindle the life they once knew
And on the Internet found out about “Combat Stress”
Then enquired what next they should do
He was referred to Audley Court ,in Shropshire, for a twice yearly stay
Amongst Military colleagues affected the same
So each is aware of the torments they all suffer
And it’s there perhaps their lives they’ll reclaim
The results when he returns are quite positive
They all wonder what the future has in store
Hoping that Peter will finally recover his lost life
And they can live as a Happy Family once more


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