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In a station in the city a British soldier stood
Talking to the people there if the people would
Some just stared in hatred, and others turned in pain
And the lonely British soldier wished he was back home again

Come join the British Army! said the posters in his town
See the world and have your fun come serve before the Crown
The jobs were hard to come by and he could not face the dole
So he took his country's shilling and enlisted on the roll

For there was no fear of fighting, the Empire long was lost
Just ten years in the army getting paid for being bossed
Then leave a man experienced a man who's made the grade
A medal and a pension some mem'ries and a trade

Then came the call to Ireland as the call had come before
Another bloody chapter in an endless civil war
The priests they stood on both sides the priests they stood behind
Another fight in Jesus name the blind against the blind

The soldier stood between them between the whistling stones
And then the broken bottles that led to broken bones
The petrol bombs that burnt his hands the nails that pierced his skin
And wished that he had stayed at home surrounded by his kin

The station filled with people the soldier soon was bored
But better in the station than where the people warred
The room filled up with mothers with daughters and with sons
Who stared with itchy fingers at the soldier and his gun

A yell of fear a screech of brakes the shattering of glass
The window of the station broke to let the package pass
A scream came from the mothers as they ran towards the door
Dragging children crying from the bomb upon the floor

The soldier stood and could not move his gun he could not use
He knew the bomb had seconds and not minutes on the fuse
He could not run to pick it up and throw it in the street
There were far too many people there too many running feet

Take cover! yelled the soldier, Take cover for your lives
And the Irishmen threw down their young and stood before their wives
They turned towards the soldier their eyes alive with fear
For God's sake save our children or they'll end their short lives here

The soldier moved towards the bomb his stomach like a stone
Why was this his battle God why was he alone
He lay down on the package and he murmured one farewell
To those at home in England to those he loved so well

He saw the sights of summer felt the wind upon his brow
The young girls in the city parks how precious were they now
The soaring of the swallow the beauty of the swan
The music of the turning world so soon would it be gone

A muffled soft explosion and the room began to quake
The soldier blown across the floor his blood a crimson lake
They never heard him cry or shout they never heard him moan
And they turned their children's faces from the blood and from the bones

The crowd outside soon gathered and the ambulances came
To carry off the body of a pawn lost in the game
And the crowd they clapped and cheered and they sang their rebel songs
One soldier less to interfere where he did not belong

But will the children growing up learn at their mothers' knees
The story of the soldier who bought their liberty
Who used his youthful body as a means towards an end
Who gave his life to those who called him murderer not friend



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/h/harvey_andrews/the_british_soldier.html

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  • s
    +3
    Sharon ThompsonMay 25, 2013 at 10:57 am
    This song has stuck in my mind for years and I remember every word of it. Sleep tight young hero. <3
  • t
    +3
    Toeknee2sticksSep 4, 2012 at 6:02 am
    How anyone can confuse the meaning of the song i don't know. It certainly does not glorify the troubles at that time. Serving in belfast when i first heard heard it and found it so sad. Glorify!! The fact that someone had died doing their duty. Maybe if it had been about any one but a british squaddie then it may of been more acceptable. When i joined up i learnt first aid before i used a weapon. People with a grievance don't want to hear a positive of their grievance they just start singing to drown out what they don't want to hear. This is not my opinion of the irish people alone. This is my opinion of anyone who was involved in the whole sorry mess, from the politician down to joe blogs. It's such a shame that the hierarchy of the bbc felt the way they did on such poignant song. Maybe if they hadn't then half the army at that time wouldn't of gone to the trouble of getting the song on tape

    Toeknee2sticks
  • U
    +2
    UnregisteredJul 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm
    I used to have the single of this when it was banned. I joined up in 72 and have played this song on my guitar at least once a week since, I went through this period and its not a rebel song in my opinion it is a tribute to the men and women carrying out their duties worldwide. I did seven tours I Ireland in the seventies and eighties and managed to survive. Some didn't, this song epitomized the waste that the whole Ireland mess was.
  • c
    +2
    Cris SoftNsquidgy RotherhamSep 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm
    i first heard this at my friends house we wer bout 11/12 her das was in the British Army at that time.
    never ever forgt this song or the words.
    im now 45 and my friend is no longer alive
    miss u sonia.. R.I.P
  • t
    +1
    Toeknee2sticksSep 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm
    Memories maybe to long! For any event that means the needless death of men women and children should never be forgotten. As a child i learnt the hard way that matches burn. Because of that i'm now careful about fire. As we grow older many lessons learnt stay with us for our own safety. I have sat and talked with my children on what i have learnt about wwii. I've talked to them about belson or auschwitz. I hope that we never forget and through knowledge never allow such things to happen again. Memories maybe to long i hope not

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