Tommy Atkins died…

“I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play…”  

“…Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul? “
But it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes ” when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes, ” when the drums begin to roll….”

Rudyard Kipling “Tommy” [1890]

A different drum... John Callaway 2011

A different drum… John Callaway 2011

Michael died last week in his late 50’s, after many years of struggling with alcohol dependency. Half a lifetime of drinking, hostels, rough sleeping and prison left him a shadow of his former self. The trouble is no one really cared to know too much about who he was…after all he was just a drinker…a stereotype.

But before then…he was an infantry man. A 21st Century Tommy Atkins….

I’m not sure sometimes how much things have changed…

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3 responses to “Tommy Atkins died…

  • carole.

    I care, Callaway. Tell me about him on Friday. Looking forward to seeing you then.

  • Swappers

    Wonderful response Johnny. Well writ and beautifully illustrated (as usual) the hostel where I have worked for the past few years has lost a significant number of clients these past 12 months and I often wonder about their individual stories. This from you have me cause to reflect.
    Bestsests as ever
    Andy

  • johnnyc1959

    Hi Swappers

    Thanks

    I remember a post you did a while ago about ‘human clay‘ which struck a few chords then…and still does… Best J

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