Come Join The Army Son

This is not fiction.

The character in this story is not invented. He is real.

A young working class boy from Manchester.

[audio:Come Join The Army Son – Alun Parry.mp3]

Lyrics:

Well I was just 16 when I left the school
No qualifications but nobody’s fool
Me mates all got caught up in crime, drugs and court
This isn’t the life that I’m wanting I thought

They said
Come join the Army son, come learn a trade
There’s nobody wants you out here I’m afraid
Come join the Army son, gi’ yerself a chance
And sign on the old dotted line

When I told me Mam and me Dad me idea
I could see that their faces were riddled with fear
But they thought of the options I’d otherwise find
And the broken down streets I’d be leaving behind

Come join the Army son, come learn a trade
There’s nobody wants you out here I’m afraid
Come join the Army son, gi’ yerself a chance
And sign on the old dotted line

So I signed the papers at just seventeen
When Wigan’s the furthest place I’d ever been
Too young for the dangers of ciggies and beer
They sent me to Helmund in spite of my fear

Come join the Army son, come learn a trade
There’s nobody wants you out here I’m afraid
Come join the Army son, gi’ yerself a chance
And sign on the old dotted line

I turned 18 far away from me home
In a far foreign land I was all on me own
No loved ones to toast me becoming a man
No pint off me Dad and no hug from me Mam

Come join the Army son, come learn a trade
There’s nobody wants you out here I’m afraid
Come join the Army son, gi’ yerself a chance
And sign on the old dotted line

Just two days on with the corporals behind
They sent the young privates to clear all the mines
So wide eyed and frightened I went with me mate
And the blast ripped right through us as I stepped on that plate

Come join the Army son, come learn a trade
There’s nobody wants you out here I’m afraid
Come join the Army son, gi’ yerself a chance
And sign on the old dotted line

Now I hope to God noone else ever learns
The smell of the stench as your own young flesh burns
But more than the agony, all I could see
Was me very best pal lying dead next to me

Come join the Army son, come learn a trade
There’s nobody wants you out here I’m afraid
Come join the Army son, gi’ yerself a chance
And sign on the old dotted line

Now I’m back in Manchester where I begun
And me Mam’s give her job up to care for her son
On the same rough estate I was trapped in before
With both of my legs and a lung lost to war

Come join the Army son, come learn a trade
There’s nobody wants you out here I’m afraid
Come join the Army son, gi’ yerself a chance
And sign on the old dotted line

I’m stuck in this wheelchair just me and my mind
And they gave me the cheapest false legs they could find
And I see the recruiters when I’m pushed into town
Hunting for young lads whose prospects are down

Saying
Come join the Army lads, come learn a trade
There’s nobody wants you out here I’m afraid
Come join the Army son, gi’ yerself a chance
And sign on the old dotted line

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