"Yesterday morning the British Ambassador in the United States handed the American Government a note stating that, unless we heard from North Korea by midnight
that they were
prepared at once to give up their nuclear weapons and plans, a state of war would
exist between us.
I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that
consequently this country is at war with North Korea, as allies of the American forces.
I don't need to tell you what a bitter blow it is to me that all of our long struggles to achieve
peace have failed. Yet I do not believe that there is anything more or anything
different that I could have done that would have been more successful.
Up to the very last it would have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful
and honourable settlement between North Korea and the USA, but Hong Gi-dong would not listen.
He had evidently made up his mind to use his nuclear program whatever happened, and
although He now says he put forward reasonable proposals which were rejected by
the USA, that is not a true statement. The proposals were never shown to the
United States, nor to us. His action shows convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using force to gain his will. He can only be stopped by
We and the United States of America are today, in fulfilment of our obligations, going to the aid of
South Korea. We have a clear conscience. We have done all that any country could do to
establish peace. The situation in which no word given by North Korea's ruler could be
trusted and no people or country could feel safe has become intolerable.
And now that we have resolved to finish it, I know that you will all do what is necessary
with calmness and courage.
At such a moment as this the assurances of support that we have received from the
United Nations are a source of profound encouragement to us.
The Government have made plans under which it will be possible to carry on the
work of the nation in the days of stress and strain that may be ahead. But these
plans need your help. You may be taking your part in the fighting services or as
a volunteer in one of the branches of Civil Defence. If so you will report for
duty in accordance with the instructions you have received. You may be engaged in
work essential to the prosecution of war for the maintenance of the life of the
people - in factories, in transport, in public utility concerns, or in the supply
of other necessaries of life. If so, it is of vital importance that you should
carry on with your jobs.
Now may God bless you all. It is the evil things that we
shall be fighting against - brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and
persecution - and against them I am certain that the good will prevail."
Austin turned off the television, hoping his fiancée didn't hear. He knew she would panic and he didn't want to do that to her, not now. Unfortunately, it was too
late. Nicole came skidding into the living room from the kitchen, he eyes filled with tears.
'Was that what I think it was?'
'What, that? No baby, don't worry about it. That was nothing.' He lied, his voice trembling.
'Austin, don't you lie to me! That was Bernard Jones on television all official and everything. In times like these, there is only one reason the prime minister
would be making such an official and solemn speech. We're at war aren't we? They're going to send you and the team out there and... and...' Her speech was drowned out by chest racking sobs that
Austin sighed and wrapped his arms around her. Yes, the Prime Minister had just announced a state of war, and that would surely mean that he and his squad would be
shipped out soon to go and help out. He wanted desperately to comfort her before the call came, but he had already begun to feel the excitement of impending battle.
He had trained for years for this moment; and despite knowing that the war would bring nothing but misery to the country for however long it dragged on for, he
couldn't help but look forward to seeing his first real conflict.
All at once, Nicola's sobs were drowned out by the shrill shriek of the phone. This was it, the call that would change his life. He disentangled himself from
Nicole, watching as she sank into the sofa still crying. He turned away from her as he lifted the receiver.
'Corporal Newman, You are to report for duty along with your squad at oh-eight-hundred hours. Do you read?'
'Yes sir, loud and clear.'
'Very good, further details on arrival.' The line went dead.
The voice from the phone was familiar to Austin, it belonged to a General in the army. The same General that he had always taken his orders from. They had never
met, this General preferring to communicate by telephone and emails. Austin didn't even know his name, instead referring to him as either General or O.
He hadn't ever stopped to wonder why, he supposed it was something to do with security, and those with top clearance would know who he really was, he had never
steered him wrong yet. He replaced the receiver in its cradle and turned to look at Nicole. She had stopped crying and was looking at him expectantly.
'That was the General sweety, I am reporting for duty at 8 tomorrow morning.'
'Austin... I know you have to get ready, you don't have much time. I'm sorry for being so selfish, you just make sure you come home alright?' Her clear blue eyes
pleaded with him.
'I'll do my best, I erm, I have to go talk to the squaddies. We'll talk tonight OK?' He squeezed her shoulder as he turned and left the living
Austin had a lot to do, he headed up stairs so he could make his calls in private. First he called around all the members of his squad, making sure the General had
called them all and they knew where they were going. After a brief catch up with his friends, he began calling his family.
His mother was the hardest, she had lost his father to cancer the year before, and she was unwilling to accept that her son was going to be in danger and she
couldn't help. For nearly an hour he comforted her, and reminded her that he didn't have a choice. Eventually he convinced her that he would be fine, and that it was Nicole that would need help.
His mother agreed to look out for her and ensure she would never be dealing with things alone. He knew the promise was a good one.
Finally she let him go, and feeling the usual exhaustion that comes with talking to his mother, he began packing his overnight bag. After he had packed his Combat
Uniform, and a selection of clean undergarments, he began searching for personal effects.
He knew he couldn't take anything too big with him, he had to be able to carry everything on his person at all times. He found his favourite picture of Nicole, and
folded it into the pocket on the chest of his uniform. A little something to get him through the cold nights. He yanked the chain around his neck, pulling it out, to ensure his I.D. tags were still
there. Not able to think of anything else to carry with him, he zipped his bag and tossed it down the stairs.
'Austin! What have I said about just tossing things around?' Nicole's angry voice drifted up to him. 'Look at this, you've knocked over the hall table.' He could
hear her sighing in frustration and righting the table his bag had knocked over.
He began to go to her to help, but found himself frozen on the staircase, just watching her. All at once he realised he didn't know how long he would be away for.
At this point he didn't even know where he would be going. As he watched her move through the hall, straightening the bits and pieces his bag had tried to destroy, he felt a sudden surge of love
She looked up and saw him staring and, walked to the foot of the stairs. She read the look on his face and held out her hand.
'Come on babe, what's the matter?'
'Huh? Oh, right, nothing. I was just watching you. That's all.' He quickly rearranged his face.
'Yeah? Sure. Come on, lets go out to eat tonight, who knows when we'll get the chance again?' Her voice was soft, understanding and he followed her, never taking
his eyes from her.
They spent the evening at Austin's favourite restaurant, but their dreams of a quiet dinner were ruined. Seems the whole town had decided to have 'one last meal
out' in wake of the war declaration. It didn't matter to them though, for them the place might as well have been deserted.
After dinner they headed to the bowling lanes with the intent of having some fun together before he left. Nicole wanted him to forget about the pressure and the
dangers for tonight, so they could both enjoy each other's company without a big goodbye hanging over them. Although he tried to hide it, behind his arrogance and excitement he was afraid. He was
afraid that he might never come back to this woman, and if he did she might not want him any more.
They drank, danced and bowled, not caring that people were looking at the couple. After a couple of hours, they both knew they'd have to go home. Austin had to be
up and ready to leave early the next day, so he needed to sleep early. He took Nicole home and, pausing only once at the foot of the stairs to kick his shoes off, led her
'You know Nicole, I love you. I promise I will come home, and as soon as I do I will make you Mrs. Newman.' Tears threatened to spill from his eyes,and he blinked
'I know babe, let's not talk about that now. There is plenty of time for promises and tears tomorrow. I love you.' She pulled him close, wrapping her arms around
He sat down on the edge of the bed, pulling her down with him, eager to spend his last night at home in her arms.
The following day, Austin was pulled out of a deep and comfortable slumber by his mobile phone screaming from the bedside table. He groaned and lifted it to his
'Good morning Corporal! This is your early morning wake up call. Up and at 'em Soldier!'
'McCall? Is that you? I hate you.' A deep chuckle came back to him.
'Aye Sir, I know you do, all the same get off that beautiful woman of yours and pull your pants up. We're coming to get you in an hour.'
Austin had missed his team, it had been a while since he had seen them all. McCall thought he was funny, but at five in the morning, he wasn't feeling it. He
pulled himself out of Nicole's arms and made his way to the bathroom. He stepped into the shower and proceeded to hit the front of the control box until cold tendrils of water descended upon him.
The shock woke him properly, and he adjusted the settings, warming the water.
He was in the shower for a mere ten minutes, but when he arrived downstairs, Nicole was waiting with bacon and toast, coffee and orange juice. She was smiling, but
he could see the calm was surface only.
'Did you sneak down while I was in the shower? Or am I still dreaming?'
'I heard your phone, came down about the time you were fighting the shower. Enjoy, can't have you leaving on a poor breakfast.' A tear escaped and slid down her
As Austin finished his breakfast, the front door opened and in strode McCall.
'Good morning lovers! Time to go Sir. Your carriage awaits.' He signalled the door as he spoke.
'Still haven't learned to knock I see McCall.' Nicola poked him and gave him a brief hug. 'You make sure my soldier comes back in one piece, you
'I'll be one second McCall. I'll meet you out there.' Austin told him, nodding at the door.
McCall squeezed Nicole and released her into Austin's arms, smiled and left them to say their goodbyes.
'This isn't goodbye, so don't you dare say it.' Nicole whispered.
'I'll be home soon. Look after...'
'Stop it. No goodbyes. I love you, be safe. Now go.' She cut him off and squeezed him tight.
'I love you.' He waited while she planted a kiss on his cheek and turned, closing the door to his home for the last time in who knows how
Authors Note: The declaration of war speech was adapted from The Transcript of Neville
Chamberlain's Declaration of war from world war two. Any suggestions on a title will be taken into consideration. Thanks for reading!
© Copyright 2016 R A B Bradbury. All rights reserved.