Thanks to Ian Loftus for his offer to help with the editorial editing of our Martin O'Meara story.
The Stretcher Bearers
by Captain Frank C. Tillson, 16th US Infantry
While they're passing round these Medals (Croix de Guerre)
And D.S.C.'s an' such,
There's a guy I'd like to recommend -
He isn't mentioned much.
His job is nothing fancy, and he doesn't get much fame,
He is just a stretcher bearer but,
Believe me, mate, he's game.
Who am I? Why, just a doughboy.
Perhaps you know my rep.
An' I used to kid the my Brigade
For getting out of step.
But since we've had this war of ours,
I've seen what they can do,
And perhaps this little story may explain my change of view.
I was lying there one morning, with my nose jammed in the dirt,
While the bullets all around me made the tiny dust clouds spurt.
Just a wishing I was thinner, and longing to be home,
Or any place away from there, from Mexico to Rome.
My mate was lying wounded, up a hundred yards ahead,
And I knew we couldn't reach him, so I gave him up for dead.
Then two stretcher bearers started, and I figured they was gone,
But they never hesitated - just went on, and on, and on.
They just sort of hunched their shoulders, like it was a shower of rain,
And they went out to my mate - and they brought him back again.
It's not so hard to face the Boche, and let him shoot at you,
When you've got an automatic, and can do some shooting too.
But those two boys went marching out, without a single chance,
Except to push up daisies in some sunny field in France.
They saw their job and did it, without any fuss or talk,
Just as calmly and serenely as you'd start out for a walk.
Believe me, that takes courage, and I'll hand it to them then,
You may call them non-combatants, but they are soldiers and they're men.
(Apologies to author for making some slight changes to this poem)
Special thanks to Mick Murray MLA for Collie/Preston for his support and encouragement. Mick is a believer that the Martin O'Meara story needs to be told. Sincere thanks from Peter, Noel and Fred.