Veterans Day with Two Mamas and Their Sons

Airmen from RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall remembered there fallen comrades during a ceremony at Madingley this Memorial Day May 26 at Cambridge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Perry Aston) (Released)

Airmen from RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall remembered there fallen comrades during a ceremony at Madingley this Memorial Day May 26 at Cambridge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Perry Aston) (Released)

 

This is is a section of an email from Tracey who works  at the American Cemetery at Cambridge where my brother is buried. admin-ajax (1)

“We would be delighted to have a copy of the ‘Paratroopers Faith’ kept here at the Cambridge American Cemetery. When we do tours of the airborne divisions that were based here in the UK it would be lovely to show them what he kept with him at all times.

On another note my son is in the British Parachute Regiment and has completed 3 tours of Afghanistan and one tour of Iraq. He is only 28 and has been in the Parachute Regiment since he was a boy at 16. He completed his tour of Iraq when he was 18 and the others followed. He won a Military Cross for gallantry (2nd highest bravery award under the Victoria Cross) on his second tour of Afghanistan when he was 23 by saving the lives of two of the younger paratroopers while on patrol. As a mother I can sincerely empathize with George’s mother.”

Here is “A Mother’s Diary” written by Tracey while her son, Martin  was on one of his tours.  It is used with her permission.

 

A Mother’s Diary

February… the countdown to the tour has begun

Off to Colchester we go

To see a presentation of my son’s next tour

Expertly given by 2 Para Company’s CO*

 

As I stood and looked at these brave young men

I fought to hold back my tears

Seeing my son with his band of brothers

Only intensified my fears

 

Knowing that they would be facing

Six months in Afghanistan

I stood and watched and prayed they’d be safe

As only a mother can

 

March… 2 Para are stood down on leave

They now party from dusk until dawn

Building their trust and friendships for life

As another band of brothers is born

 

So the day came to say our goodbyes

My son in his deserts stands proud

A family photo to keep near my heart

Is taken away from the crowd

 

As he takes his final walk into the barracks

He turns and waves goodbye

Then on the endless journey home

The tears I held back fill my eyes

 

April… The day of departure

Worry and fears now flowing

Checking the time zones between here and there

Wondering what time they are going

 

At last, a phone call from Camp Bastion

“Happy 21st Birthday Son” I say

A pause and then “Oh yeah mum thanks”

“I’d forgotten I turned 21 today”

 

He’s waiting for his 18 minute flight

To the notorious FOB* Inkerman

Occupied by the British Army

The most dangerous FOB in Afghanistan

 

 

 

 

May… I got another call today

“I’m starving mum” he says

The horror bags we have for scoff

Don’t fill me up these days

 

So now I’m on a mission

To send him all I can

Friends and colleagues contribute

I’ve got to feed my man

 

Another call “Send bottled water”

“We’re running out real quick”

“This bore hole water is disgusting

It’s making me feel sick”

 

The fighting starts to intensify

As the poppy harvesting’s now done

I start to worry even more

For the safety of my son

 

June… He’s home on leave

Some well earned RnR

He’s off to the local show room

To buy his new dream car

 

At work I get a phone call

From my son and he’s upset

3 lads from his company have been killed

They were some of the lads I’d met

 

So for the rest of his leave he’s back on base

He feels he must be there

All I can do is listen and support

And show him that I care

 

Whilst back at home base he heard some news

Two more of his brothers had died

The guilt he felt because he wasn’t there

My son he just broke down and cried

 

His plane was delayed on his journey back

To his base at Camp Bastion

He rang to say he’d got there safe

And was waiting to return to FOB Inkerman

 

July… Another call “I’m starving mum”

“Please send some parcels out

Can you put it in some tins?

For there are rats and mice about”

 

The fighting has intensified now

The chance of contact increased

Those brave young men fight on relentless

Never knowing when the battle will cease

 

First thing in the morning and last thing at night

He is always on my mind

I dread for the day when I drive in my road

A strange car I am going to find

 

As the fighting calms I get a call

Another Para and his dog have been killed

For now, home life to my son is irrelevant

Survival’s kicked in and discipline instilled

 

August… My son has taken to smoking cigars

And chewing tobacco from a tin

When the fighting has stopped they try to relax

With a cigar called café crème

 

For now it’s calm out there on the FOB

Although there’s been one or two fracas

There on the website a glowing report

‘2 Para Tough it out in Helmand Provence’

 

September… More phone calls come

Tales of life changing stories he makes

“Not much longer son and you will be home”

“I know, but one bullet mum is all that it takes!”

 

So four more weeks of worry

For now I have to bear

I’m not the only frightened parent

I know there are more of you out there

 

October… His tour’s almost over

But he’s still at FOB Inkerman base

The fight still goes on as the hand over starts

Commandos are now taking their place

 

He’s had another hit with his sniper rifle

Guilt now starts to set in

He wonders whose son, dad or brother he’s killed

Has he committed the ultimate sin?

 

He’s tired and aching, his knees are worn out

He now just wants to come home

I sit and I wait until that day comes

When he call’s me on the phone

 

It wont be long now until he’s home

Life’s just not been the same

But I know now that in a few months time

The vicious circle will begin again

 

Each one of these soldiers is a hero

Of that there is no doubt

But for a parent whose child has been out in hell

You just want to get them out

 

This is not just my diary

But every soldier’s parent’s as well

They’ve all worried and felt the same fear

As their children were deployed to that hell

 

We all burst with so much pride

When we say what our children do

And we all feel relief when they’re on their way

To be back home safe with you

Copyright  Michaela Turner (aka Kate) proud mother of a serving soldier                                     FOB(forward operating base) CO* Commanding officer

Tracey’s prayers were answered and her son came home.  My Mama’s prayers were answered differently.  She never visited Normandy and when she was at the cemetery, she couldn’t go in to see George’s grave. My daddy did and cried silently . I was 12 years old. It was all such a mystery to me.  I hope they would be pleased that I have honored  George and that his story and her little booklet. His picture and the Paratroopers Faith  will be seen and shared and it will go on and on.  And George Bowler Tullidge III is a named hero who will  continue to touch lives through his courage and the little book from his mama.

from Tracey on Facebook 11/11/15 from American  Cemetery Cambridge:

It’s Veterans Day today at the Cambridge American Cemetery. Service starts at 11.00 am and is open to the public. I have adopted two of the servicemen here and have put flowers down for them. Louis Streb and Otis Ham. I have also put flowers down for lovely George Tullidge. Here you go Anne Bell

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If you look very closely, you can see my brother’s name, George B. Tullidge engraved in the marble and  decorated with the lovely mums as a gift from Tracey.   Many thanks Tracey!

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
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6 Responses to Veterans Day with Two Mamas and Their Sons

  1. GP Cox says:

    Outstanding, Anne. I knew you would have a wonderful post!!

  2. Don Ostertag says:

    I certainly agree with CP, Anne. WONDERFUL POST!

  3. Ragini says:

    Loved reading this…

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