Christmas In An Army Hospital

army christmas

T’was the Christmas of 1945,
I was flat on my back, but still alive.
The doctors and nurses and orderlies too
Did everything they could possibly do
To give us a Christmas especially fine,
For we’d been far from home for a very long time.

Decorations were strung around the ward.
The dinner table was a well-laden board.
A present for all, and a package of smokes.
The air was soon filled with laughter and jokes.
Though we all had our problems
with sickness and wounds,
We all sang together the old Christmas tunes.

But back in one corner a quiet lad lay
He’d been brought on a stretcher the previous day.
After a while somebody said
“Who is this guy, he looks half dead?”
An orderly spoke up, “He’s a German Guy
who was hit in the head, just above the right eye.
He was in prison camp ‘till the wound gave him trouble,
When they brought him in he was bent almost double

A hard looking soldier with sling on his arm
Walked up to his bed and we thought he meant harm
He stuck out his hand and he said; “Never fear,
Merry Christmas Jerry, we’re glad that you’re here.”
One by one, all the chaps that were able to walk
Went over to the German and tried to talk
What they thought was his language,
though their accents were queer.
The young German smiled, and it looked like a tear
That ran down his cheek, as the boys shook his hand.
And a lad with a flute, who once played in a band
Played “0 Tannenbaum”, that old tune so grand.
The young German sang, and his voice was clear.
Patients and staff hushed their talk and drew near.

Then “Silent Night” the sound seemed to grow
As it rang through the ward and out o’er the snow.
We all gave him something we thought we could spare
His bunk was soon covered, and as he lay there
He smiled a broad smile, and I knew then
A feeling of peace and good-will to all men
Was there in that ward, on one Christmas Day
Back in old England so far away.

~ Gordon Hansford

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