There are lots of charities out there. Hundreds if not thousands. Everyone likes to support a good cause, but it is impossible to help them all. We have always tried to do what we can for a local children’s hospice. Indeed it has become a tradition that we don’t undertake paid events on Christmas eve, instead we attend their Christmas party giving away free candy floss and popcorn. Obviously that didn’t happen this year due to the infernal pandemic.
On the approach to V.E. day, we happened upon a news article about the Royal British Legion Industries. Now like most people we buy poppies on the run up to remembrance day, and in truth that is about the only time most will think of veterans charities. Reading the article it became apparent just how much they actually do for veterans.
Their latest post was a very poignant one. It turns out that a WWII veteran, a certain Tommy Trotter is celebrating his 100th birthday on 10th February. They have designed a downloadable birthday card for people to print out, and are asking people if they would send him a card for his birthday, as due to the lockdown he can’t have a celebration.
It’s inconceivable what they went through. At 19 I was worrying about upgrading my car, getting to my next social event, and who I fancied dating. This guy was storming the beaches of Normandy under heavy fire from nutcase Germans determined to kill him.
If you want to send Tommy a card, the link to download them is available here. Of course you can send a card of your own design, it doesn’t have to be this one.
Our team has just sent a card, and stuck him some money in to treat himself to his favourite tipple of John Smiths bitter.
The address for the cards is;
The Last Post
Raising Money For The Veterans
They also sell a nice range of commemorative products with the funds raised going to veterans charities.
One of the products on their website is a small 25cm high range of acrylic figures. These are shaped in the classic outline of a World War I Infantryman. The so called ‘Tommy Atkins’. The equivalent of our American cousins doughboy.
Christmas Football Tommy
These are designed so that stood in a window they are barely visible, sort of there, but not there. For the £33 they cost, these are a great way to show your appreciation for what our armed forces have gone through. They also sell larger steel versions to be placed in a garden or park.
A Christmas edition was produced to commemorate the famous Christmas day truce and football match between the British and Germans.
Remembrance Day Pins
We also decided to treat all of our staff to lapel pins for remembrance day, though for obvious reasons the usual ceremonies didn’t go ahead and they haven’t had chance to wear them yet.
If you can spare any help for the Royal British Legion Industries it is definitely a charity worth supporting. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for their service.
Tommy, Rudyard Kipling
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.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.
Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
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.
We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.
You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!
Royal British Legion Industries https://rbli.shop/
The Kipling Society http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_tommy.htm