WAR GENERATIONS - PART 2

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
War Generations is a story dedicate to the memory of Walter Pope who lived through 2 World Wars.

Submitted: August 11, 2008

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Submitted: August 11, 2008

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CHAPTER SIX
By now other merchant ships had seen what had happened and they sent signals back and forth to each other.The St David now had a small leak and had lost a crew member and now the Captain wanted to try to make it to a neutral port.Wall and Garry were putting some pumps together while Seamus was busy making a coffin for Chao.The next evening he was buried at sea with Yuan and Dublai sending their fellow countryman off.Wall and Garry were now working twelve hour shifts trying to keep the water out.The Captain and Maurice were looking at the charts and setting a new course for a neutral country.For the next two weeks most of the crew were working twelve hour shifts to stay afloat but making little headway.The Captain praised the men saying that he had never seen as good in all his time at sea.The time soon came for the crew to abandon ship as it was sinking gradually with nothing more any of them could do.The Captain said that at least they had some time and as it was daylight they were lucky as not so many others had this chance.
Jake loaded up the biggest lifeboat with as much food as he could with Liam putting in blankets, fishing line, some flares and as many containers of water as he could.The Captain told the men to get all their papers in order and went up to the wheel house for the last time, giving Maurice his last order on the St David to lower the lifeboats.Kevin made a run for the stern and grabbed the ship’s flag, the Red Duster.All the men gave him a great cheer as he ran back to the lifeboat.They took turns in rowing with some headway being made.The hardest thing to put up with was the rain with very little shelter in an open boat and Gavin caught a bad cold.The other ships would now be home and word would be out as to the whereabouts of the St David. Wall thought to himself how his mother would have every candle in London bought, lighting them every day with a small prayer.Liam and Nawab fished with the lines over the side not having much luck while Jake looked after Gavin as his condition had worsened and he now had a very bad flu.With no sign of land or any other ships it was hard to say what the chances were of making it.Gavin finally got pneumonia passing away one night in Jake’s arms, Jake himself in poor health as he had been giving his share of food and water to Gavin.He took the death of his young friend very hard sometimes blaming himself for it.Liam and Garry stitched up some blankets as a coffin and it was decided that Gavin would not be buried at sea for another day.It was a time of great sadness and loss for the other men who had grown so fond of this brave young man and Jake held on to his personal belongings.
The next day as the remains were gently passed over the side of the boat the Captain said a few words: “a young boy from Birmingham, who gave us all great delight in knowing him, once a boy, now a man at sea.Rest in peace Gavin and may God go with you, Amen”.What happened next took all the men by surprise.A plane flying overhead had spotted them and flew lower with the pilot saluting before flying away.“We’ve been spotted now, men”, said the Captain, “it could be anyone who will pick us up”.Not much was said after that.The weather took a turn for the worse with the sail having to be brought down in order to keep the boat’s mast safe.The men worked hard to keep the sea spray out, all taking turns in the bailing out.Most of their hands were now full of blisters and fresh water was now on rations, down to one cup each per day.With all the salt air and water that was very little for any man in an open boat.
In the early hours of the following morning Bobby spotted a coaster, the men saying that they could not be far from land now but which land they did not know.“Not sure what we are in for men but make sure your papers are on you from now on”, said the Captain.Sure enough it was a coaster, a German one, which soon pulled alongside their boat, taking them all aboard.Liam fell back on the way up, badly hrting his back.Wall was the last one off the boat and giving it a kick it drifted away having served its purpose.The Captain of the German coaster had broken English, telling them that they also did not wear uniforms.They received some food and drink, the Germain Captain telling them that they were north of Spain.He told them that they were headed for France and there the men would be taken inland as prisoners of war.He looked regretful as he told the men this and said that they had no choice as if they did not do this they would be severely punished.The Captain of the St David said that he understood and that he would have done the same himself, many men like him all sharing the same sorrows.
Both Captains shook hands, the English one thanking the German one for his honesty.When the coaster reached the French port in two days time the men were put into the back of a lorry at the quay side.They were prodded in the back with rifles as they boarded the lorry, this affecting Liam the most.They were all hand cuffed together under armed guard, spending the next few hours in the lorry with only one stop.They arrived at the prison during the night, lights shining on them, guard dogs barking and even jumping up on them much to the laughter of their handlers.The guards shone their lamps on wooden hut doors taking them to Hut 44, one guard saying that this was to be their new home with roll call the next day at midday, shouting don’t be late as he left, much to the amusement of the other guards who started to laugh.
Only for Bobby who was first they would have been late as all overslept, what a start that would have been.After the roll call the head General came over to the new prisoners, as he always done.He told them that he was in charge of the prison and the crew of the St David just looked at each other, paying no attention.This general, Helmut, was a true Nazi in the beginning of the war, a very successful businessman in the property business owning his first hotel at the age of thirty, he only looked out for himself.He did not really care about what went on in the prison, anyone could spot that in no time.Most of the prisoners were English or from the U.K. with Royal Navy, army, air force and even some other Merchant sea men there.The huts went up as far as fifty with Polish and French men being held prisoner at the end of the prison.The crew of the St David found their own way around the prison and mixed with the other prisoners, one good thing about new prisoners meant news of home and of the war.Cliff and Jeff found themselves talking to another Merchant seaman who’s name was Gareth and from Wales.Gareth was not from a sea background himself, all his family lived inland.Gareth liked to talk and could have talked for Wales even in his own native language.
Venturing to the other side of the prison, Kevin, Wall and Bobby could see, from a distance, just how worse off other prisoners were.“Look at that”, said Wall, “if I did not see it for myself I would never have believed it how badly treated these men are, they look more like slaves than prisoners of war”.
“Look at the dirt on their boots and clothes”, replied Kevin.These men were work slaves.They stayed there most of the day trying to talk to the Polish and the other prisoners but this was not easy as they had very little English.Kevin drew on the ground to try and communicate and much to the amusement of the other men he would do a little acting as well.Liam was not so lucky, hardly leaving the hut as his back weas so bad and there was nothing the prison doctor could do about it.Seamus was trying his best to help but it was Kublai and Yuan who had a few tricks up their sleeve which helped Liam the most.His left shoulder had dropped and he joked to the others that he had bought his coat in the dark.Next day after roll call the post was given out.An emotional time for all in prison but a little harder on the men at Hut 44 as no one back home knew what was happening or where they were.All but one which was Maurice who had put his faith in the German Captain before they left the ship.Maurice, a native of Northen Ireland, had given the Captain his address along with another piece of paper marked personal.Without asking and with a nod of his head the German Captain truly understood what to do.Some time later he had done just that.Maurice had never told anyone so as not to build up their hopes or put anyone in danger.
The next roll call was to be the one they would never forget, now time to meet their worst nightmare.It was Augustus who more or less ran the prison and his body guard, nicknamed the “rifle man” as it was hardly out of his hands.The other prisoners were ordered back into their huts while Augustus went about his work.He started with the Captain, asking them all their names one by one and where they were from.Garry called out his name and said he was from Australia.“You won’t be needing your boomerang anymore”, grinned Augustus.“We will see about that”, retorted Garry.Augustus moved onto Wall who was holding Liam up a little with his arm.He was hit with a sharp blow from Augustus.“Let go, let go, you pig”, he shouted to Wall.Liam almost fell.“Look here”, he continued, turning to the “rifle man”, “look, a cripple!”They both started laughing.“Remind me to bring some bananas tomorrow”, Augustus said when he passed Cliff.“An some nuts as well”, he continued, passing Nawab, Kublai and Yuan.“You dogs, you are at the right end of the prison”, said Augustus to the Captain.Wallking slowly passed Garry he stopped and turned quickly, punching Garry in the stomach, a blow that would have drawn water from a stone.
Rising to his feet straight away, Garry tried to catch his breath.“Four days in solitary for you tough man”, said Augustus.The Captain stood forward, “Why? What for and whose say?” he demanded.Augustus just laughed, returning to him with his answer, “I don’t have to explain myself to you.Do you want to join him?Then get back in line, you pig”.He then ordered them back into their huts and that was the last they saw of him for the rest of that day.Gareth spoke to the Captain the next day, putting him in the picture about the prison.He said that Helmut had taken over a small vineyard about a mile from the prison spending most of his time there, only showing his face at the prison when he had to, also that work parties were sent out to the vineyard to work as Helmut thought that he owned the place and was very fond of a frink or two.Gareth said that he had been in the prison for two years already and that Augustus had been there long before that, having received the name “the beast” as he picked on the weak at first but now anyone gets it.He had hurt many men there and there was no shortage out of fifty huts to choose from.Garry was released from confinement after four days and all the men in Hut44 had saved a little each of what they could for him such as fruit, coffee and even a bar of red cross.This was to go on for some time between Garry and “the beast”, with Garry in and out of solitary confinement.“How do you stick it, Garry?” asked Wall.“It’s like this Wall”, replied Garry, “he can break my bones, bruise my body, make me bleed but will never break my spirit”.
“But how?” Wall asked again.
“It’s the part Aboriginal blood in me, Wall, that keeps my spirit going.If you let him win you’ll end up in an unmarked grave like the others he put there but that’s not for me Wall, remember that mate”.
Adapting to prison life was the key to survival in prison.They all had different jobs to do both for themselves and the Germans under armed guard, cleaning toilets, chopping firewood, and doing laundry.Kevin got a job up in the vineyard and found out that Helmut was a lover of horses, having his own one.Bluffing, Kevin let on that he also loved horses and said that he had worked as a stable boy back home in Scotland, which Helmut was taken in by.Jake was not making it any easier on himself or the rest of the men.Still not talking or mixing with anyone, it was hard to live this way with so many men crowded together.Ben gave it one more try one night, sitting beside Jake in a corner.“Do you know how I got into the Merchant Navy”,said Ben.With no reply he continued “a labourer out of work in Belfast for so long, I tied my shovel onto the bicycle, said goodbye to the Missus that I was going to try my luck across the sea, working my passage as a fireman on the cattle boat going to Liverpool, was spotted by the Skipper who asked if I would stay on as fireman.I returned back to Belfast in three days telling the Missus who had a good laugh, that’s how I got into the Merchant, Jake”.
“God damn you Ben”, shouted Jake, “I don’t want to hear your God damn stories”.
“Just trying to help you, Jake”, replied Ben, a little hurt by his reponse.
Jake stood up, flipping a cup from a small table.“If I wanted help I would have asked for it”.It was starting to get out of control, almost turning into a fistfight.The Captain and Maurice soon put a stop to it, asking what was going on.“Do you want that thing in the black uniform to finish you off Jake?” asked Bobby angrily.“Pull it in before it’s too late”, he continued, Walking away.It was said the next morning that a man was heard crying that night.
CHAPTER SEVEN
Noticing another work party going out, mostly Polish and some others from different countries, Seamus asked Patsy did he see anything that they reminded him of and to take a good look.Patsy replied that they reminded him of being much younger working in Scotland, living in huts just like these ones, going to pick the potatoes.Seamus said that they reminded him of U.S. convoys going away in big numbers and coming back in smaller ones, dying where they worked, of old age or starvation, many buried in unmarked graves.Patsy gave another look agreeing with Seamus and saying how can people do this to each other while Walking back to the hut by himself.
Returning after a gallop, Helmut saw how clean and tidy the stables were and praised Kevin for doing such a good job.He started talking to Kevin about how he was going to throw a party for himself and other ‘important people’, it was his fiftieth birthday and he was going to have fifty guests, one for each year of his life.
“May I make a suggestion, Sir?” asked Kevin politely.
“You may do so”, answered Helmut.
“Our cook, an American, he’s often talked about how he has worked for people like yourself sir, land owners and oil men and how they liked big parties and he knows so much about wine”.Helmut looked thoughtful for a moment before replying.“Oil men, I have heard of such men.Get me this man, if he’s good enough for the likes of rich Americans he’s good enough for me.I want him straight away, see to it”.
“Yes Sir, I will do just that”, Kevin answered, smiling.
Breaking the news to Jake was going to be tricky.Kevin got him to one side and told him straight out.“I’m more of a beer man myself Kevin, the food and all the rest I can do no problem but I know very little about wine, only that it comes in bottles”, said Jake with a smile.“I’ll find out what the French and Polish know about it”, said Kevin.A little rusty, Jake soon got back into what he knew best, food and how to cook it.With help from Nawab, Kublai and Yuan, the party went well and for just one night, war and prison were nearly forgotten.It was good for the men all round of Hut 44.Jake returned to his usual self and was now working up in the vineyard, sometimes staying overnight after small parties.Jake brought plenty back to Hut 44, food and drink and both he and Kevin were working well together.Once again Jake found himself baking and Ben was the first to find this out as some home-made bread and scones were brought back to him.Sharing them together Jake could hardly look Ben in the eye as they both had been through so much together.Ben thanked Jake for the bread saying that it was a kind thought.Patsy and the others were soon over and it turned out to be the best night every in Hut 44.Breaking out of this prison was nearly impossible with guard dogs at each side of the wire and the ever looming presence of Augustus and Gerhard made it even worse but this did not stop men from trying.Thinking of escaping on only their second day in prison, the time had now come after planning for so long and the right men to pick.Kevin, Andrzej and David managed it, now on the other side of the wire running, in the early hours of the morning, running as fast and hard as they could, a head start was to be the best chance.Just before daylight all three stopped, what was going to happen next was all part of the plan, there was to be no ill feelings or long goodbyes, it was all about freedom, for themselves and for all the prisoners; freedom.Drawing sticks out of Andrzej’s hand to see who had the shortest, it was David, he was to be the unlucky one.Time not on their side, Kevin and Andrzej changed into another pair of shoes which had been left in a bucket of mixed diesel and vodka to put the dogs off their scent.Quickly they turned and made their getaway, David now by himself went another way still in with a chance but knowing that he most likely would be followed.
All three planned this as they knew Augustus would never give in chasing them also if the single man was caught it would buy the other two men more time.It was in later years of life that Kevin received a letter from Poland, from Andrzej’s daughter telling him that her father had passed away.Back in prisonafter roll call all hell broke out.Augustus got a party together within minutes, the three men were now hunted men with their worst nightmare after them.All the prisoners were locked back into their huts, talking among themselves.Patsy asked Liam what did he think of their chances.Liam replied that they would need luck and lots of it, to get to a train station as quick as they could and to remain calm, to keep their wits about them.All three had a chance and maybe by now they would have at least a ten hour start.The Captain asked did anyone know about the planned escape but he got no answer.Someone did know, as it was Jake who had provided them with the diesel, vodka and all the other necessaries but he had kept his lips zipped, again all part of the plan.
A day had passed, back to routine as best they could, still now news going into the third day now with Helmut back in charge of the prison.Fourth day it was still looking good as by now others who had tried to escape had been caught.Other search parties had been sent out in the meantime and it was on the sixth day in the afternoon that Augustus’s men arrived back with David in the back of their lorry.Nothing else happened that afternoon, it was in the early hours of the next morning that the men on the prison were woken by the cries of pain from David who was being tortured by Augustus which went on for hours with breaks in between so that all could hear.After roll call Augustus showed his face, no one was to leave where they were standing.
David was then dragged out, put up against the fence, all the men were still standing, not to move or they would be shot by the guards on the lookout towers.Augustus gave a speech and after that Gerhard shot David and there the body stayed until late that night for all to see.Augustus returned with another fresh party of men still searching for Kevin and Andrzej.He tried for another three days not wanting to admit that the other two men were gone.He was beaten by them and in a way also by David as at the cost of his own life by falling into a trap, he gave the other two men all the time they needed.It was Garry who spotted a change in the prison.“Do you see that Wall, look, not many work parties going out as much as they used to also Helmut is here most of the time, what do you make of it mate?” he said to Wall.“Yes Garry, also I noticed that there aren’t as many planes flying overhead as well, wonder what that means”, replied Wall.After all these weeks still furious from what had happened, Augustus was going around the prison like a bear with a thorn in his paw.He was about to take that out on two more men of Hut 44 and the Captain of the St David was about to loose another crew member.
CHAPTER EIGHT
Liam and Cliff were stacking some firewood up against the hut, carrying some in their arms.Turning around the corner of the hut, Cliff, by accident, bumped into Augustus and tried to apologise but Augustus gave him no chance of any sort and started beating him.He then started to beat him with one of the logs, Liam trying to stop him but was hit with the butt of his rifle.By now Cliff waw lying on his back and made an attempt to stand up but was then shot twice in the chest.Liam went for Augustus but was too weak after the hard blow from the rifle.Augustus turned on Liam calling him a stupid, clumsy fool and beat him over and over causing him to bleed badly and fall to the ground.The shots had been heard by now and a crowd had gathered including Helmut.“Stop!” he shouted, “What is going on here?”Augustus blamed Liam and Cliff saying that he had been attacked.For once he stood up for the men; “don’t tell me such foolish things”, he said to Augustus.Augustus still tried to lie his way out of it and began to argue with Helmut, Helmut telling him that even the other guards had had enough of his ways by now.Helmut then ordered for Liam to be taken to the prison hospital, which Wall and Bobby saw to.He then told everyone to go and from then on he took full control.
Before when anyone was being buried it was done by the work parties such as the Polish and others but now under Helmut’s order it was done by members of the Hut that they were sharing.Seamus was called on once again to make a coffin for Cliff and the colours of the Jamaican flag were painted on top of the coffin just as he would have wanted.Jeff took the rest of Cliff’s belongings, photos and some old letters he always carried with him.Cliff was buried the next day.Liam was still in the prison hospital with little improvement.Wall and Bobby took it in turns to visit him, one of them always by his side, sleeping on a bedside chair.Jeff was very upset over Cliff’s death, now knowing what to do, finding himself Wallking aimlessly around the prison.One day he was at an all time low looking out at all the graves.It was Gareth who helped Jeff and they talked a lot.Gareth said that he had seen so much in his time there that he had grown tough and that he had no tears left.“I know just what you mean Gareth, just now I’m full of hate and all the rest that goes with it”, said Jeff.
Drifting in and out of sleep, Liam saw Wall beside him, asking how long had he been like this.Wall told him that he had been like this for a few days now, then Liam asked him to get Bobby.Wall did so and they both stood looking at Liam, not knowing what he was going to do next.Liam started to talk first; “I know you will think I’m daft but I know by time is near to go to the next world.I’ve been dreaming of my boyhood days and my parents and it was all very clear.He also told them that his brother was in his dreams.Wall said that he was always a dreamer, trying to cheer him up.“Not like this Wall”, answered Liam “this is too much like the real thing. Listen Wall and Bobby, do me a favour, don’t let all of this destroy you, you are both still very young and have a full life in front of you.Promise to let it all go once you leave here, that’s also in my dreams”.Bobby was trying hard not to cry, agreeing with Liam.Then Liam asked them to let Tony know when the time came but not to tell him about all the bad things that had happened as he would take it to heart.“Leave it to me Liam”, said Wall,“I will see to that”.Liam was now finding it difficult to talk.He took off his watch handing it to Wall, saying that it was all he had left.“I will make sure that Tony gets it if it’s the last thing that I do”, said Wall.Liam said that he was starting to dream again, this time of two young men on motorbikes looking for somewhere to pitch a tent.“They are going to stay nearby and I am glad about that”, he said, closing his and going into his last sleep, passing away in front of them.Wall and Bobby could no longer hold back the tears.The St David lost another crew member and Seamus set about making another coffin, the second one in a matter of days.Helmut had ordered Augustus and Gerhard not to be seen at the burial the next day as tension was very high and all the guards were no longer taking any orders from them, wanting nothing more to do with them.As Liam’s coffin was being lowered Garry was a real tower of strength and he started singing Waltzing Matilda right to the end.It was a very lonely night at Hut 44 that night.
Prison life remained the same with work going on from day to day and roll call still at midday.One day a game of cricket was to be held.It was suggested that all the forces would make up a team from the Merchant navy and the other French and Polish prisoners.The Captain told the news to his men back at the Hut but very little interest was shown at first.Jake stood up joking; “come on chaps, lets not be rotters, there’s good fellows”.Garry then said “good idea old boy, good show, count me in.How about you Wall, young man?”Wall looked around him first, then said, “jolly good show, tip top form old boy, count me in”.Theteams were picked and even some of the guards watched the game and clapped, it went on for some time with the day passing quickly.
Standing near the entrance one day, Patsy and Ben were talking among themselves when a dispatch rider came passing by and went straight to Helmut who was standing outside his hut.Helmut saluted, the gesture not returned, instead the rider took the bag from his shoulder.Handing him a large package the rider turned and headed back to the entrance of the prison.Passing Ben and Patsy on the way he said to them both “see you in Piccadilly Tommy”.Patsy laughed saying that his name was not Tommy.They saw Helmut reading a letter and decided to see what the others made of it.Passing on what they had seen some of the men made nothing of it and others had their own thoughts on the matter but it certainly was very different, all agreed on that.A couple of hours later Helmut was waiting for a lorry with two guards and told Augustus that he was in charge.He said that he had to go away for a while and it would be late that night before he would be back.He then told his guards to pick two men to go with them and as Wall and Garry were standing nearby they were picked.Off they went to the vineyard and there Wall and Garry were ordered to load up the lorry with what Helmut ordered.“It’s all the very best stuff that we’re loading up, there’s nowhere for this back at the prison, know what I mean Garry”.
“For sure I do, Wall.Helmut is over at the stable, look Wall, that looks a bit dodgy, he’s let the horse go”.
Back at the prison Augustus was on the war path once again only this time with the guards, most of them taking no notice of him and looking as if they were about to go elsewhere.Augustus and Gerhard were back at it and shouting at the prisoners.It was Nawab who got it first as he was pushed to the ground.Augustus went straight for the others, making a swing at Jake who was in front saying “get out of my way you stupid cowboy”.Jake ducked under his arms then struck him with a kitchen knife right in the stomach, pushing in the knife as far as he could.Augustus dropped to the ground, holding on to Jake.
Gerhard pointed his rifle at Jake and Nawab knocked it out of his hand but not before Gerhard got a shot at Jake to the shoulder.It was Bobby who now took on Gerhard who now met his match.The two men fought hard with no mercy on either side.This went on for some time, hard to tell who was winning at times, Gerhard being that bit taller and strong as a horse.He threw Bobby around but Bobby began to get the better of him, dropping him to the ground with a couple of sharp blows to the body and then to the head.Bobby turned around with Gerhard lying on the ground bleeding badly from his face.Bobby lifted his shirt to his face to clean the blood away.Suddenly three shots went off with Jeff holding the rifle having shot Gerhard who had been going for a knife from his boot.“Thanks Jeff”, smiled Bobby.“It was my pleasure Bobby”, replied Jeff.The guards were now running towards the men when suddenly a loud burst of machine gun fire went off, taking one of the guards down from the entrance look-out post followed by more fire from the heavy guns.The prison gates were blown to the sky with a tank coming through followed by jeeps.It was Kevin and Andrzej.
CHAPTER NINE
Up in the vineyard, Wall spotted the guards doing a runner.The dispatch rider had told the guards outside of the prison that the war was now over and that the English were on their way.The guards who believed him had not told the S.S. about it.Helmut believed it as he was planning to make a run for it.“Come on Wall”, said Garry “follow me”.Helmut who was taking a painting down from the Wall saw the two men coming for him.He went for his side arm and in a struggle between him and Garry the gun went off hitting Helmut in the leg.“You knew all along what was going to happen”, said Garry.“My family”, cried Helmut, “they are waiting for me, let me go”.
“No”, said Wall firmly.
“I was only doing my job, you understand”, pleaded Helmut.Garry tied him up before putting him into the back of the lorry.“There’s only one place for you”, said Garry, “you’ve seen many men go there and it’s a place you won’t like, it’s solitary for you”.
On their way back to the prison there were many planes flying overhead.“Look at that Garry”, said Wall “there must be a least a hundred of them”.
“Quick Wall, get some sort of white flag out or we will be their first target”, said Garry.Back at the prison there was much joy as Kevin told them all about how they had made it and about David.The next day when all the excitement had calmed down, Kevin and Andrzej went to David’s grave.Kevin then going to Liam’s and Cliff’s, staying on at the prison for the next few days, waiting for arrangements to go back home.Their time came, the last couple of hours being the worst, the waiting seemed to last forever.Ben was the last man out of the prison, turning to take his last look at the graves and Hut 44.Back in England the men said their last goodbyes to each other like so many others who had started out together but were now going their separate ways.Wall and Bobby were some of the lucky few and they both knew that.
Saying goodbye to Garry was hard.Wall asked Garry what he was going to do next, Garry replying that he was going to spend some proper time with his family then take a trip out to the bush for some time.Wall and Bobby were the last to go, now waiting for a train once more to take them back home.Knowing they were back in England, Wally, Mary and Linda were waiting for them, staying indoors all day.At last Wall and Bobby arrived, stopping off at Linda’s first, Wall getting no further as Wally and Mary made their way there.It was hard to believe that they were both home again after such a long time and there were many tears that night.Wall hardly left the house for the next couple of weeks.The war was still going on but not for much longer as the day that it was all to end wasn’t far away.For some time now Wall was working at different jobs as he was very unsettled and thinking of Liam most days.Wally got him a job working along with him at railway maintenance and tried to help his son out as much as he could.By now Wall had told his Dad and some others what had happened in the prison and about Liam.Wally could see this in his son, as he himself knew what war could do to men.
At work one day Wally asked Wall was he looking forward to the weekend, Wall replying that he was.“Have you seen Bobby in the last few weeks?” asked Wally.“No dad”, replied Wall, “he told me to wait till the ‘big night’ and asked me to go back to the changing rooms before the bell goes.“Tell him we’ll be there”, said Wally.Bobby had found his own true path with four wins under his belt already and now a professional boxer making a name for himself.At home now, Mary and Laura had just arrived back from a trip to Ireland, Wally asking them did they bring anything back for them.Mary replied that she did, pulling out a handful of envelopes from her handbag, also handing some to Wall, saying they were for Garry.They were from Michael Kelly, invitations to his wedding in six weeks time.Mary also said that there was one for Bobby and Fred, Wall saying that he would pass them on to them after the weekend.
Stopping his opponent in the third round, Bobby won all five of his professional fights.He was delighted with the invitation from Michael, happy to be going away for a week.
Wall had got his motorbike up and running once again and wanted to make a visit somewhere else before the wedding which was just around the corner.Wall was leaving home two weeks before everyone else.Just about to leave, having started up the motorbike, Wally ran after him shouting for him to stop.“What’s wrong Dad?” asked Wall.Wally asked his son was he ok and Wall replied that he was, that he was going to see someone who he had not seen in a very long time, Liam’s brother Tony.Wally replied that he already knew this as Bobby had told him already.“Are we alright, son?” asked Wally.“Of course Dad, why would you ask that?” smiled Wall.“Don’t mind me, son, it’s just after all that’s happened a man gets worried easily”.Wall looked at his Dad, “Come here Dad”, he said, sticking out his hand as Wally came closer.“Put it there Dad!” laughed Wall, his father delighted with this gesture.“See you in Ireland Dad”, said Wall, letting go of his hand and starting up the motorbike once again.“Mind how you go son”, shouted Wally as his son rode away, lifting his leg a little as a wave goodbye.
Wall was now by himself, heading for the boat in Liverpool once more, passing all the spots that he had passed before with Bobby, seeing all the old sights.Getting off the boat in Belfast the next morning, one of the crew of the ship said to Wall that it was a good day for travelling and asked him where was he going.Wall said that he was not going far and they both wished each other all the best.Along the road Wall thought to himself that what that man had said was true, it was a good day, a good day indeed.
THE END


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